Recently I was reminded of Martin Luther's struggle with confession and sin. He would spend 3 to 4 hours in confession, trying to remember and list every thought, action, omission of behavior that did not line up with God's laws. Then he would return to the cell of his monestary and be tormented by something that he had forgotten to mention in the confessional.
Of course, this changed when his understanding of Christ's atonement and his justification became clear. However, the agony he felt over the sin in his life is something that is noteworthy.
I sometimes wonder if we have become rather callous towards the sin that we are so often "enjoying," as North American Christians. It may be because I am often slow to recognize, confess, and repent from my own fleshly desires, that I see this callousness so quickly in others around me.
How wonderful it is that Christ died and paid for our sins, "once for all, the just for the unjust." But let us resolve not to take this grace, this mercy, nor this sacrifice for granted. Let us make every effort to "live a life worthy of the calling we have received."
One great place to start this effort is by focusing our thoughts "on things above." Last night in my bible study I was challenged to "take every thought captive." This is where I want to mount my first attack against "casual sin thinking." My desire is to have a thought-life that is continually turned to God. I'm suspecting it will take a lot of habit-forming exercises and effort, but I pray that with the Spirit's aid, my thoughts will be properly fixed on Jesus. This Christian life is a moment by moment adventure, and just as Luther struggled with his momentary failings, we have the opportunity for victory in the Spirit's power, step by step.