If I am a Christian, then why do I continue to struggle with sin?

Am I broken? Is there something wrong with me? Am I really a Christian?

There exists a myth in Christianity that once a person becomes saved, they lose the appetite for sin. No desire for anger, no inclination to be jealous, and no real temptation towards anything. We think a Christian should have it all together — no struggles, no sin — just perfection.

Well, I don’t know about you or what your experience has been, but that hasn’t been mine. My journey reads more like this: lots of struggles with jealousy, lust, insecurity, lots of sin, and very little perfection.

Growing up in a conservative church, I was subtly tricked into believing that Christians should have a life of perfection. Our church would periodically host a testimony night, and we would hear stories about how people came to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and, consequently, never struggled with alcohol, drugs, anger or sin ever again.

As a youth, I walked out of those services confused and very discouraged. You see, I believed two things to be true:

1. I believed that I had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. I knew I had an amazingly strong desire for sin.

These opposing views caused great problems for me, and even made me question the sincerity of my salvation.

Am I broken? Is there something wrong with me? Am I really a Christian?

Does Scripture have anything to say about this dilemma? Can anyone answer the question, If I am a Christian then why do I continue to struggle with sin?

Roughly 2,000 years ago, in A.D. 56, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Church in Rome, answering this mystery in just 11 short verses (Romans 7:15–25). Paul explains why the believer still struggles with sin:

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
— Romans 7:25

There it is, plain English and clear as mud!

In short and simple terms, here is what Paul says: You’re a Christian, so you have a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). But you are a human, so you still have an earthen vessel (the flesh). This translates to the sad reality that, although you are a believer of Jesus Christ, you will still struggle with sin. This is not an excuse to continue in sin, but an explanation why you, like the apostle Paul, do the things you don’t want to do (Romans 7:14–24).

Take comfort today that you aren’t broken. You’re a human, and humans will struggle with sin until Christ returns. Oh, how we long for that day! Come, Lord Jesus!