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Is living one's life doing only things that are honoring to God possible?

Throughout our lives, we make choices that will help us continue growing in our faith. As followers of Christ, our goal should be to honor God in all that we do. In 1 Peter 1:14–16, God commands believers to "be holy as I am holy." But is the idea of eventually reaching a point of life at which we no longer sin really possible? Yes and no. There are a couple sides of this question to consider.

The first side of the answer to this question is yes. We have the Holy Spirit living within us once we are saved, and the apostle Peter assures us that we are empowered to honor God through the power of the Spirit dwelling in us. He says: "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire" (2 Peter 1:3–4). The following verses outline steps to growing in our faith. To our faith, we are to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Peter 1:5–7). Peter tells us that if we have these qualities and continue increasing in them, "they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:8) and finally, "if you practice these qualities you will never fall" (2 Peter 1:10).

What we can infer about out own lives from this passage is that it is possible to overcome the problem of willful sinning provided we are continually growing in our faith and submitting to the will of God, as this passage references. Sins of the will, such as lying, cheating, stealing, and sexual immorality, are sins that we choose to do and we can overcome those types of sins when we are submitted to the Holy Spirit. However, as much growth as we may achieve in the area of victory over willful sins, we will still, inevitably sin during the course of our lives. Paul wrote about the continual struggle of wanting to do one thing, but ending up doing the opposite (Romans 7:18–23). Even if we could achieve full victory over intentional sinning, not all sins are intentional. We are in an ongoing battle between the Spirit and the flesh within us.

We can all, most certainly, think of a time when we regretted something that we thought, said, or did, realizing that we unintentionally sinned toward God and others. Internal thoughts of lust or jealousy are sinful. Using our words to gossip and slander others is sinful. Treating others with unkindness or impatience is sinful. Many of our battles with sin happen in our minds, which is why living a life of honoring God begins there. We are instructed to "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). Sometimes we are only able to recognize our own sins after they have already happened. When we have these moments and submit them to the Lord, He can use them to train and teach us in His ways, purifying us more in the process (1 John 1:8–9). He gives more grace to us as we humble ourselves before Him; His mercies for us are new every morning (James 4:6; Lamentations 3:22–23).

So, what can we do to continue honoring God? We can ask for wisdom and partner with God who searches our hearts to find what is truly there: "The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts" (Proverbs 20:27; see also Psalm 139:23–24). We can ask God to help us have acceptable meditations in our heart and words in our mouths (Psalm 19:14). Spiritual perfection is not achievable, and there is no shame in making a mistake. The Lord has fatherly compassion toward us: "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:13–14). We can serve the Lord freely with gladness, and when we make a mistake, we can know that He will receive us with grace. By turning back to the Lord when we sin, we continue honoring Him not just in our victories and strengths, but even in our weaknesses.


Related Truth:

What does it mean to submit to God?

How can I come to really know God?

What can I do to become more like Christ?

Progressive sanctification—What is it?

What does it mean to pursue righteousness?


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