A company came up with the slogan, “Get it right . . . the first time!” When it comes to perfection, we get it wrong — every time. Each day we fall short of God’s perfection. But when we fail God, we must learn the lesson of sin — pursuing our own way is never worthwhile. We must confess our sins and set our hearts to fear the Lord.

Between God’s deliverances and Israel’s frequent detours into sin, we find a common theme. Israel never learned the lesson of sin. The people never considered that pursuing their own lusts had severed their relationship with their Almighty Provider. Never did it occur to them that their actions were harmful. They didn’t stop to consider their ways. Their spiritual “back” was left unguarded, and sin caught them unawares.

When we sin, confession is sufficient to obtain forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). But if we neglect our responsibility to make our relationship with God stronger, we will be susceptible to the same temptations again.

Each of us struggles with a besetting sin. Whether it be lust, pride, jealousy, or resentment, the first step to victory is acknowledging your weakness. Prayerfully consider when you’re most prone to yield to this sin, and avoid the environment at all costs. When pleasing God is your foremost objective, sin cannot catch you off guard.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.