Good Morning Friends,
Do you ever feel like you battle with the same sins over and over again? Do you ever feel that as soon as you gain victory over one sin, Satan bombards you with another kind of sinful temptation?
Yeah. Me too.
Today’s post (and next week’s) are going to be dealing with a very real topic you and I both have to face. Sin isn’t a very pleasant topic to read (or write) about. However, it’s a very real part of the Christian life, and it’s something that must be dealt with. We all have a human nature, and we all have to fight against our flesh and sinful nature.
I am so thankful that God sent His Son to die in our place and give us victory over sin and death and Hell. For those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, we are a new Creature in Christ and now have the power and freedom NOT to sin. However, even though our sins are forgiven, we must continue to say “no” to our flesh and choose to follow God.
I thought it’s about time a write this post so we can “chat” about fighting against this very real (yet, not so pleasant) topic. At the end of this post, I want you to share your thoughts in the comments – I want to hear from you!
Let’s dive in!
How to Fight Against Sin and Temptation
If a friend came to you, and asked you how to deal with sin, what would you tell them? Where would you point them? What would you tell them to do?
Reverse the situation a bit. If YOU were struggling with sin, and wanted some help, where would you go? What would you do?
There are a few different things we could tell our friend. And there are a few different things we could do ourselves if we were struggling with a very specific sin. Let’s start with first things first…
#1 Arm Yourself with the Word of God
“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
This is a familiar Bible verse that many of us have memorized. But this verse is so key to learning how to fight against sin. God’s Word is the answer. We must hide God’s Word in our hearts (memorize it!) so that we can use God’s Word to fight against sin. Ephesians 6 says that the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. It is our “offensive weapon” to do battle against the sins and temptations we face on a daily basis.
Best of all… Jesus Christ left an example for us of how to use God’s Word to fight against temptation. In Matthew 4 we read of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Each time Satan tempted the Lord, Jesus counteracted the temptation by quoting Scripture. Below is the entire passage of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. I highlighted the phrases that show us that Christ was quoting Scripture. Take a look…
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Matthew 4:1-12
If using Scripture to do battle against sin, was good enough for Jesus Christ… then God’s Word is good enough and powerful enough for us!
If you are dealing with specific sins, search your Bible and find out exactly what God has to say about it. Also, take the time to search out the Bible to find out what God has to say about sin, and gaining victory over sin. Romans 6 speaks specifically to Christians about sin… and how we died to sin when we accepted Christ and now have the choice NOT to sin. I would definitely encourage you to study that chapter in Scripture.
Arm yourself with the Word of God. Memorize the verses you find… quote them to yourself when you’re facing temptation. Use God’s Word (the Sword of the Spirit) to do battle against sin and temptation.
#2 Get Some Help
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed, The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” 1 Peter 5:16
In it’s context, this verse is talking about physical healing, however, I think we can rightfully use this same principle when facing spiritual sickness… or…. sin.
If you are struggling with a very specific sin, tell someone about it. Make someone else (a parent or an older, trusted adult/counselor) aware of your struggles. Turning to someone who is older and more grounded in the Word of God, will be able to help you in several ways:
- Direction. They can tell you what you should do – how to stop, how to fight the temptation, where to look in the Scripture etc. They can give direction as to what you should do next.
- Encouragement. They can encourage you and motivate you to do what’s right. Words of encouragement can go a long way in the fight against sins and temptations.
- Accountability. They can check up on you and keep you accountable. Knowing that someone is aware of your struggle and will be checking up on you… is very good motivation NOT to sin.
- Prayer. (This is the best one!) They can pray for you. Prayer is powerful. Having someone aware of your struggles and praying fervently for you can be a huge encouragement and a huge help!
For me, the person I always turn to is my mom. She understands me really well… and she always has just the right thing to say. I remember things she’s said from years ago that have helped me and still continue to help me!
So, find someone you trust – be humble enough to share your struggles and get some help!
#3 Remove the Fuel
“Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee…” Matthew 18:8
Is there something feeding your temptation? Is there a place, a person, a website, or a show that feeds your desire to sin? Whatever is causing you to stumble, or causing you to be tempted… it needs to go!
This will be hard.
Usually, whatever is feeding our temptations is something we really like. Or it’s something we enjoy, feel comfortable with, or is something that has become an ingrained habit. Maybe it’s…
- Reading novels that are feeding your temptation to lust.
- A certain friend that is influencing you to be rebellious.
- Spending too much time alone that encourages feelings of self-pity and depression.
- Unprotected internet access.
- Exposure to the wrong kinds of music.
- A job that compromises your beliefs.
- A favorite TV show that is filling your mind with wrong thoughts and ideas.
- And on and on the list could go…
What is feeding your temptation? What is causing you to sin?
Identify those things and get rid of them. Donate (or trash!!) your novels. Set up an internet filter -or disconnect the internet all together. Stop hanging out with that friend. Change jobs. No matter how drastic it may seem, make it impossible to yield to that temptation.
It’s going to be hard. But the inability to sin, and the freedom that will result… is so worth it!
#4 Pray, Pray, Pray!
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” Matthew 6:13
Please do NOT underestimate the importance of this step. I hope this is some thing you will think of doing even before telling someone else or taking steps to remove temptations. But now that you’ve armed yourself with the Word of God, talked to someone else, and taken steps to remove temptations… it’s time to CONTINUE to pray, pray, pray!
Pray for freedom from temptation. Pray for obvious ways to escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Pray for grace and strength to fight against the overwhelming temptation. Pray for others (sometimes this is the best thing we can do! – it gets our mind off of our self!). Just PRAY, and don’t stop praying. Even when the temptations lessen and begin to stop – keep praying!
Arming yourself with the Word of God and backing that up with lots of prayer for help is the best thing we can do!
Just remember: if you haven’t cut off your access to sin and temptation, you are putting yourself in a dangerous place. Don’t leave the doors to sin wide open and then expect God to remove your desire to go through those doors just because you are praying about it. God will help us, but we have a responsibility to take some action too!
#5 Remember: You don’t have to sin!
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead to sin is freed from sin. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:6-7
When we sin… we are choosing to sin. Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin. When we accept what He did for us on the Cross, we die to sin as well. Sin no longer has control over us…. we are free!
But… we still have to choose. We have to choose NOT to sin. We have to choose to follow God instead of following our old sinful nature.
My mom once told me this: “Jesus died to free us from the bondage of sin. But when we sin, we are choosing to put ourselves back into bondage.”
I don’t know about you… but I do NOT want to live my life in bondage to sin, when I have the ability (because of Christ in me) to live in victory.
It’s a choice we have to make. Will we continue to sin? Or will we choice to be victorious in Christ?
What I shared with you today is pretty basic. There is a LOT more I could add… a lot more I could share. However, I don’t want you just to do what I say. Search the Scriptures… talk to someone you trust… pray…. do the work that needs to be done to gain victory over sin.
God wants us to be victorious… He wants to help you will the sins and struggles you face. Best of all – He is ALWAYS ready and willing to forgive you and help you get back up after you stumble and fall. (1 John 1:9) Praise be to God!
Do you want to know more?
I’ve read some books that talk a good deal about sin and struggles that Christian’s face. These two books have helped me in my own personal battles and have given me so much food for thought, and encouragement. They will also explain a lot of things, and share a whole LOT more than I was able to do in this post! Here they are:
Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg
Getting to No: How to Break a Stubborn Habit by Erwin W. Lutzer
Now It’s Your Turn
This isn’t a very fun topic… but we ALL struggle with sin. There is a lot more I could have shared in this post… Do you have any questions? Any thoughts you want to add? Please ask away or share your thoughts in the comments below! I love hearing from you!
See you next Thursday for another new blog post!