I have some kind of dairy allergy. It has never been officially diagnosed, but what good would that do? A test would simply tell me something which my stomach tells me every time I eat dairy products.
My problem is that I love ice cream, cheese, and sour cream. Even though they make me very ill, the temptation is more powerful than my will power. Sometimes I am convinced that I am committing a slow and painful suicide by udder.
I am convinced, I will not give up dairy products until the pain and discomfort overwhelms my desire for the pleasure of dairy product.
When you came into the world, you were handed over to people who practice sin. I don’t care how saintly your parents or guardians were, they had not arrived at sinless existence yet. They still practiced pride, self-protection, self-gratification, lust for pleasure and possession, and were controlled, at least in part, by passions, maybe in more subtle ways. But they were still there.
As soon as you were able to grunt and crawl around, you began elbowing a place for yourself among those who practiced sin. You observed and adopted some of their coping systems and formed them according to your sinful tendencies, or bent. You learned, according to your tendencies, how to get your way, at least a little. You learned how to express your dissatisfaction and manipulate those around you to adjust to your demands.
The Psalmist said the he was shaped in iniquity (Psalm 51:5). His parents were no worse than ours, so that would apply to us. The Apostle Paul explained that this was because of Adam’s failure and applies to everyone who is born with a human father (Romans 5:12-14).
When you were saved, accepting God’s offer for forgiveness through Jesus Christ, you developed a new spiritual allergy. It is the allergy to sin (1 John 5:18). It no longer is digested right in your soul, but causes bad ripple effects in all of your life. Sin is accompanied by a discomfort that really messes you up.
The problem is you just can’t seem to overcome the training and habits that you acquired in your rearing.
Paul put it like this:
Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
“But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
“It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
“I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope.” Romans 7:15-24 (The Message).
Christian growth, in its most simple form, is developing new responses to life that are “God dependent” and not self-dependent. These new responses are chosen when the discomfort from our sin allergies is so uncomfortable, we forsake the sin for more healthy spiritual substance.