The first step to overcoming accurate self-perceptions that are sinful is to be sure that you understand the doctrine of progressive sanctification. Progressive Sanctification is the process that involves our cooperation with the Holy Spirit that makes us more like Christ. We are told in Galatians 5:16 “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” The word “walk” is in the present tense and is a command indicating that this is a continued regular action that we are to follow. Our problem is that we do two things that hinders this process.
1. We do not “put off” and “put on.” In other words we are so busy trying to stop a behavior, that we forget that as creatures of habit we need to establish a new habit in order to overcome the old habit that we are struggling with. When we are pushed into a corner by temptation, if we are not replacing a sinful approach with one that is godly, we will revert to what we know to do, which is to sin. “putting on the new man” (Ephesians 4:24) gives a new and godly action that will lead to victory.
2. We look for sinless perfection, not continued growth, therefore we often give up in our battle with temptation and sin. We must remember that God wants us to strive for perfection, but understands that our Christian life is a journey that leads to a destination, not a destination in and of itself. We learn (Philippians 4:11) to live in victory we do not “arrive” at victory. To illustrate this principle, think of a child learning to walk. They have varying degrees of success, but we champion them on to keep trying. They continue to get better, and then finally the “master” the art of walking. But even after the do that, they are still subject to occasional lapses of coordination, which leads to their falling. The key is to get back up and walk some more.
That is what 1 John 1:9 is all about. When we “confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness” (emphasis mine). Take this time to reassess your life before Christ, and continue to grow and mature in your faith.