If you’re curious about what determination looks like—bathing cats is a good way to find out. They do everything in their power to stay out of the water. As soon as they get wet, they go into panic mode. They writhe. They claw. They arch away from the water. They squirt from your grasp.
A baptized believer should be as eager to sin as a cat is to swim. The apostle Paul says that when it comes to the common (but lethal) sins of idolatry, sexual immorality, testing God, or grumbling, we should flee. “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. . . . Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:13,14).
How often do we instead find ourselves running to those sins? Any sin, in the end, makes us idolaters. It doesn’t matter whether we willfully ignore God’s design for marriage or grumble about our pastors’ sermons. Whenever we say, “My will be done” instead of “Thy will be done,” we seat ourselves on God’s throne. God will not bear such idolatry forever. His just judgment will come, as it did for the Israelites. But God does not want to scare us into proper worship. Rather, he draws us with his faithfulness. He gives us his Word as a shield. He presents his sinless Son who was tempted in every way and understands our struggle. He transforms us by his Spirit so that we become no more eager to sin than a cat is to swim.