I ain't no angel
I still got a few more dances with the devil
I'm cleanin’ up my act, little by little
I'm getting there
I can finally stand the man in the mirror
I see I ain't as good as I'm gonna get
But I'm better than I used to be
I’ve heard this chorus sung by Tim McGraw on the radio a few times. Each time I’ve heard it, I’ve thought, “Why does this guy allow himself a few more dances with the devil?” I think the answer is simple. He wants to be seen as a good man, but he doesn’t really want to become one. Becoming a better man is easier than becoming a good man. He can receive some grace because of his progress, and he can feel better about himself without having to give up all of his dances with the devil to become a good man.
We often approach our Christianity with this same attitude. We received God’s free gift of grace when we placed our faith in Christ as our Savior. We were forgiven the penalty of death for our sinfulness at that instant. However, so many Christians struggle with committing the same sins over and over, even after confessing those sins to God and asking Him to give us victory over those sins. Why is this?
In his book, The Master’s Indwelling, Andrew Murray writes about carnal Christians and explains it as this: “It is because you wanted Him to take away the ugly fruits while the poisonous root was to stay in you. You did not ask Him that the flesh should be nailed to His cross, and that you should henceforth give up self entirely to the power of His Spirit.” We want God to take away the ugly fruit of sin, but we don’t want him to take out the root that produces the sin. It’s much easier to continue to confess the sin and receive His forgiveness than it is to surrender the will to God and give up the sin.
Are you satisfied with being better than you used to be, or would you rather be all that God wants you to be? You cannot be filled with the Spirit if you harbor the roots of sin in your heart. You’ve trusted Him with your eternity. You can also trust Him with your heart. Temptations will still come, but if the roots are gone and you are filled with His Spirit, God will give you victory over sin.