LIO 12/31-Why Can’t We Win Against Sin?

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WEDNESDAY –Why Can’t We Win Against Sin?
Big Point: We try to live good lives, but for very selfish motives.

When sin lets us alone, we may let sin alone; but sin is always active when it seems to be the most quiet, and its waters are often deep when they are calm… If sin is always acting, we are in trouble if we are not always mortifying.

-Tim Keller


In the spring of the second year of Israel’s siege of Rabbah, King David, who had remained in Jerusalem, arose one evening from his bed and saw from the roof of his palace the beautiful Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, bathing. Inflamed with passion, the king sent for the immodest temptress and committed adultery with her.  

From this sinful union, a child was conceived. When David was informed of Bathsheba’s pregnancy, he was determined to conceal the sin. King David had Uriah summoned from the battlefront under the presumption that, while on furlough, he would visit his wife and thus when Bathsheba’s child was born, it would appear to be the offspring of Uriah.

Uriah, however, being the patriotic warrior that he was, refused to indulge in matrimonial pleasure so long as his comrades-in-arms were “encamped in the open field”, and thus slept in the courtyard away from his wife. Frustrated, David then sought to intoxicate the soldier to break down his resistance so that he might go to his wife and therefore cover up the illegitimate conception. But, again, Uriah “went not down to his house”. Finally, in a truly desperate measure, the king sent him back to the battlefront and, by his hand, he sent a message to Joab, his captain. Uriah was to be placed in “the forefront of the hottest battle. The troops were to withdraw from him that he might be slain. Thus did the courageous warrior expire, never knowing of his wife’s infidelity with the king.” (

David’s struggle might have been lust, but the underlying factors were pride (I can have anything I want), possessions (I see her, I want her) and fear (I have to make sure that I don’t get caught). His prideful, selfish motives ultimately led to Uriah’s death. As the prophet Nathan pointed out to David—God knew all of it. He sees the heart. No one can hide the reason and no one can hide the sin from Him.

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
Psalm 32:1-5 sums up David’s journey, how sin impacted his life and how freedom finally came.

Question: According to verses 1-2, how can you find joy?



When David tried to deal with sin on his own, what was the result? When David trusted God with his sin and asked for forgiveness, what difference did it make in his life?


Psalm 32:1-5 (New Living Translation)
1 Oh, what joy for those who disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. 5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.




LIVE… What will you do now?
Our motives are often the birthplace of our sin. Take a look at what motivates you. What was the last thing you did for someone else? What motivated you to perform that act? Was it for praise, the expectations of others, your reputation or a guilty conscience? Ask God to show you your motives as you reflect on the question.




Tim Keller told us three signs to show that our motives are sinful and selfish:

  1. Can’t admit flaws (because we think that we are “good people”).
  2. When failure happens, we’re riddled with guilt and shame.
  3. We look down our noses at people who don’t have the same identify factors. For example, if you’re a hardworking person, you’ll look down your nose on “lazy” people. If you’re identity is based on wealth, you’ll look down on those who don’t have as many resources.


Which one do you identify with the most? Why?





“People in Western societies are crushed with anxiety; in Eastern, with guilt.” What is the difference between anxiety and guilt? Why do you or why don’t you believe Tim’s statements? How does this affect your choices in life and the issue of sin?



PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
When praying today, confess your sins to God. Ask Him to help you recognize your true motives and to change them to honor God. Ask for God’s help in any area you are struggling to change.

 Digging Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click below to watch a video from Hans and Freda to help get you in shape for the New Year!

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.


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