The funny thing about determination is how quickly it runs out.
“I’m going to lose 30 pounds!” And, five minutes later you smash a box of donuts.
“I’m never going to be in debt!” Check out that new car.
“I’m never going to commit that sin again.” Oof.
When our failures of determination lead to our falling into sin, they sting the most. We told God, “Never again.” Yet, here we are.
I could spout some line about “sinning less, not sinless,” but the truth is my determination alone is not even sufficient to do that, and Scripture recognizes this fact.
In Jude’s doxology, he writes:
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
To him who is able to keep us from stumbling. To God, who through his great love shown in Jesus Christ is able to turn us from death to life, darkness to light, sin to a better way. To the one who is more glorious than anything our eyes have thus seen or ears have heard.
The grace and glory of God are what will keep us from sin, not our own determination. But how does this work? Jude speaks to this as well:
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”
Building ourselves up in the faith by spending time in the Word and with God’s people. Praying in the Spirit who dwells within and knows us better than we could ever know ourselves. We keep ourselves in the love of God by continually turning toward that love, and in turn, that love is what keeps us from the sin that clings so closely and what will lead us into everlasting life with our Creator.
How good it is to know where my determination runs out, God’s strength never will. As Jackie Hill Perry once said, “God’s hands are stronger than my legs.”