Don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing any kind of sin. If one is given the opportunity to sin, one should obviously avoid it at any cost. Just because God forgives the sins of all who repent does not in any way mean that one shouldn’t try to be the best devotee of God one can be. However, the fact remains that, sometimes one can’t simply refuse to sin. Maybe you’re an alcoholic who can’t put down the bottle on your own. Maybe you’re a potty-mouth who has cursed so often it’s a habit. Maybe there’s some other vice that’s closely tied to your personality. Whatever it is, there are things that even born-again Christians can’t stop doing on their own.
When Christians talk of these vices with others, a common response is that we must humbly confess our sins to God, entreat his help, and consume his word as often as we can. I agree with this wholeheartedly, but that’s not the end of the story. If God resolved our temptations for us, we would have little in the way of free will and personal conviction. One will still be tempted, and one will still risk failure. If one has been told that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will solve all of their struggles, and they fail no matter how they read or pray, many may start to doubt their worth as Christians, or worse, lose faith in the Lord.
It’s written in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that “There hath no temptation taken hold of you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful; He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that which ye are able to bear, but with the temptation will also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” but sometimes that way isn’t immediately obvious. Sometimes we need additional advice to know how to escape, and encourage us to use that method. So, the next time a child of God asks you advice, I encourage you to say more than “pray more” and “don’t sin”. I advise you to imagine what they struggle with, imagine what their God-given resources are, and how you would go about solving the problem. No doubt, prayer and scripture should be a part of the solution, but don’t dismiss the difficulty. Help them to find the best way out that God has given them, and encourage them at all times to take it.