Yet we ask God to raise our debt ceiling to him again and again. Instead of coming to grips with sin and learning to overcome it, we whine about being “only human” and how we “just can’t help it.” “Just a little more forgiveness today, God,” we ask, and the day after, and the day after, with no sign of effort on our parts to improve.
The problem may be that we really don’t want to repent. Peter says that in the times past we lived like we wanted to, immoral and fulfilling every sinful desire. Now we are to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God, 1 Pet 4:3. Enough is enough, he says (“times past suffices”). Change! You can’t “make Jesus the Lord of your life” without repentance.
Or maybe the problem is laziness. It is hard to fight the Devil. God never promised otherwise. He calls it a war in more than one place. Take up the whole armor of God that…having done all, you may be able to stand, Eph 6:13. “Having done all,” he says. That means when the battle is over, not when I get tired or even wounded. You keep on, even when you wonder if you can take another step or land another blow. Just exactly how tired do you think the Lord felt after a night of torture? Resist the devil, James says, and he will flee from you. He won’t run away if all we do is stand there waggling our fingers in our ears chanting, “Nanny nanny boo boo.” He won’t run away if we give up after the first time he knocks us down. You have to fight, really fight, and keep on fighting until the end.
But just maybe our biggest problem is that we don’t trust God to do what he says he will. Pray that you enter not into temptation, Jesus told his apostles, Luke 22:46. The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, Peter reminds us, 2 Pet 2:9. With every temptation he will make also the way of escape that you may be able to endure it, Paul says, 1 Cor 10:13. Don’t we believe that? Maybe if I don’t pray those prayers I can say there was no escape and excuse myself once again. Maybe I can say that God made the escape route even more difficult than the temptation. Maybe I can say he hid it too well. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
So, which is our problem? Are we unwilling to repent? Are we a bunch of spoiled children who want it all handed to us on a silver platter? Or do we just not believe like we say we do? How high do we expect God to make that debt ceiling? Do I want it higher and higher so I can sin as long as I want to? Do I want to excuse my sin instead of working hard to grow up in Christ, to endure the trials, and to control myself!
Every time we sin, we are asking God to raise our debt ceiling. If anything, the debt ceiling we want is far more outrageous than anything Washington could ever come up with.
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. Rom 6:10-13.