When I was a kid, a decommissioned World War II tank was put on display in a park near my home. Multiple signs warned of the danger of climbing on the vehicle, but a couple of my friends immediately scrambled up. Some of us were a bit reluctant, but eventually we did the same. One boy refused, pointing to the posted signs. Another jumped down quickly as an adult approached. The temptation to have fun outweighed our desire to follow rules.
There’s a heart of childish rebellion lurking within all of us. We don’t like being told what to do or not to do. Yet we read in James that when we know what is right and don’t do it—it is sin (4:17). In Romans, the apostle Paul wrote: “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (7:19–20).
As believers in Jesus, we may puzzle over our struggle with sin. But too often we depend solely on our own strength to do what’s right. One day, when this life is over, we’ll be truly dead to sinful impulses. Until then, however, we can rely on the power of the One whose death and resurrection won the victory over sin.