Sin is a fight, winning is possible
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” —-Romans 8:13
Only God is truly good, and my behavior is the evidence to my lack of goodness. Regardless, I am striving to be like Christ by putting sin to death and we do this by doing three things.
Weaken the roots of sin through the Word of God
In my life, I find it extremely difficult to attack the root and not just the habit. Most of the time, though, it is because I am not quite sure what the root really is and it can take me a long time to figure it out. Once upon a time, a girl was dating a boy (this girl is me folks keep up!). The boy was not super great for her. He didn’t treat her with respect or love and controlled and manipulated her. This poor girl, though, had the habit of going back to him over and over. She would finally decide it was too much and leave just to walk right back in.
I felt so proud for each little “victory!” I put quotations around victory because I wasn’t really victorious over the problem. Sure, I would stay away from my habit a week, a month, maybe even two months, but it was never a change. A long while later I experienced the worst summer of my life. I cried all the time, and I am not a crier so this was a big deal. The problem was I didn’t understand why. I went to the Lord angry and upset, pleading that he would just do something so he did, he showed me what the root of my sin was: distrust. I didn’t believe I was worthy of a good guy so I certainly wasn’t good enough for God. I stopped spending time with him because I felt too gross, unholy and unworthy to enter his presence or open up his Word.
The reality and truth is I am not worthy. BUT, yes there is the mighty and powerful but, God decided he did not care and that he loved me anyway, and really, who am I to say no to that?! After I finally hit the root of my sin issue I felt safe and secure in God’s presence and spent time in his Word and I am now habit free!
Constantly fight sin with community
I love the way that John Owen put it: “One never thinks his lust dead because it is quiet.” Sorry to break it to you but Satan hates you. Don’t underestimate his power either because he is pretty powerful so always be ready. Now, Satan may be powerful but compared to God he is nothing; he is defeat-able! Defeating him, though, takes an army. That army is the group of believers that you have around you supporting and encouraging you. They are the ones that you can go to and confess your sins too without being judged.
I remember hating accountability group. My mentor would walk up to me and ask, “Hey did you do ______ this week?” I would always lie and say, “Nope, it has been a good week,” because it wasn’t safe for me to be honest, I felt trapped and judged. If that is you, you need to find a new and better group of friends that will support you. For example, a few weeks ago in my D-Group I had asked them to pray that I would spend more time doing devotions. So, like the wonderful woman that she is, Katie Foster asked me if I had done my devotions one week later.
The lie came so quick I almost couldn’t stop it. Usually I would lie but I told her the truth, that I had not done my devotions, but I didn’t feel judged. Her response was perfect, “No problem, a new week started today so let’s try again this week!” This is the kind of encouragement and love you need to surround yourself with in order to mortify sin.
Frequently celebrate success
We so often compare our successes and failures to one another, it has become second nature. Remember, your sin struggle is your own. It is no better or no worse than anybody else’s sin. When you have a victory, no matter how big or small it might be, celebrate it! Lying, stealing, pornography, sex before marriage, gossiping, gluttony, etc., it is ALL sin, so celebrate your victories and stop comparing yourself to others! Now, let’s go and kill some sin. Read the Word, memorize passages that will help you, especially in the areas that you struggle with, surround yourself with good friends who will help and encourage and celebrate you!
Don’t forget that the Lord is celebrating right beside you!