Monday, March 14, 2016

5 Ways to Fight Sin

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         I have a sin that is causing me to struggle in many areas of my life. But most of all it is hurting my relationship with my Lord and Savior. It is causing me to be drawn away and to draw away from Him whom my soul truly loves. This morning I found my soul aching to be free of this sin. I thought about Jesus, I wondered if when He was in the wilderness being tempted by the Devil if He felt the same way I do now. Did He struggle like this against sin too? The Bible tells us that He did. It tells us that He struggled with sin to the point that drops of blood fell from His forehead. (Hebrews 12:4) So, from the depths of my soul came a cry for help, a plea to my Lord and Savior to answer the age old question I am sure we have all asked at some point in our lives. How do I fight this sin in my life?
         This sin seeks to seduce me away. It promises to bring me better things. It promises to fulfill me and give me the desires of my heart. It promises to be the one thing that will make everything else in my life just fall into place. But I also know that if I give into this desire it will lead me away from the will of God for my life. It will cause me to fall away from the One and only true love of my life. So is it really worth it?
"But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today; that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring my live," Deuteronomy 30:17-19 ESV
         All the success that the Lord has given me, along with all the blessings of His grace and mercy will be piles of rubble, piles of past testimonies, and all that will remain will be the tragic reality of my sinful choices. So, I prayed, "Teach me, O Lord, how to resist the one who seeks to seduce me away from the glorious and majestic beauty of Your presence." This was His answer:
 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:7-8
James teaches us that there are five ways to fight sin and he lists them in these scriptures.
  1. Submit to God. Be subject to whatever and where ever God has you. He is sovereign. You are not where you are by chance, but by His perfect design for your life. When you fight against Him and where He has you, you are in fact, rebelling against His perfect plan for your life. You are where you are because He wants you there. Accept this truth and stop fighting Him. Submit to His authority over your life. If you believe He is sovereign, then you must believe that He is sovereign even over your mistakes. Read Romans 8:28
  2. Resist. Withstand. As soon as our eyes open and our feet hit the floor we are in the midst of a battle. As soon as you woke up this morning your flesh started to war against the Spirit of God living inside you and the battle for your life began. Ephesians 6:10-13 remind us that we are not only wrestling against flesh and blood but we are also battling against "the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Set your boundaries and don't let anyone or anything cross those battle lines. We must withstand. We might feel like we are losing, but we must be confident that our Commander and Chief has won the war, He just needs us to withstand this battle.
  3. Draw near. Turn your thoughts back to God. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that "no temptation has overtaken (us) that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let (us) to be tempted beyond (our) ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that (we) may be able to endure it." The Lord our God knows what it is like to struggle against sin. The bible teaches us that He was tempted as we are yet He did not give into the enticement that sin presented to Him. Read Hebrews 4:15 and Matthew 4:1-11. He knows how to bring us out of sin when we fall into it and He knows how to keep us from its chains. Turn your thoughts to Him, His word and His life.
  4. Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts. Flee from the defilement of sin upon your life. What are your triggers? Recognize what it is that draws you away. When I was going through the process of quitting smoking I learned that one of the best ways to combat the temptations were to know my triggers. A trigger was something that caused me to desire and crave a cigarette. Once I was familiar with those triggers I was able to pray and work through them. I was able to resist the temptation because I was aware of the desire. We must be familiar with those triggers when it comes to our sin as well. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 2:11 that we are not ignorant of the enemies devices. Know what your triggers are, know what entices you to desire sin more than God and either remove yourself from them, or remove them from you.
  5. Count the cost. Is sin really worth it? Remember the scripture that I wrote in the beginning of this post? Read it again and ask yourself is that sin that you have festering in your heart is really worth risking the death of your relationship with God? Let's get real for just a second. Sin will always kill and its main objective is to kill your relationship with God. Read Genesis 3. That sin is doing what it was meant to do, seduce you into believing that what God has for you is not enough. Sin wants you to believe that God is holding out on you. If you would just take that step away from God and follow after the desires of your flesh then and only then can you be truly happy. But you must ask yourself if that promise of happiness is worth risking all that God has given you and all that He has waiting for you? All the blessings, all the respect, all the glory of a life filled with His favor, is it really worth throwing all of it away just so you can enjoy a fleeting moment of passion, a fleeting desire to fulfill the lust of your flesh?
"Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed." James 1:13-14 ESV
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      You are seduced by the desires of your flesh, not by God. We must resist sin my brothers and sisters. Yes, we have grace and if we do fall into sin we have the blood of Jesus Christ to wash us and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness. But God does not bless the life of the one who chooses to sin continually before Him. He blesses the life of those who choose Him.
" Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring my live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." Deuteronomy 30:19-20

        I have a choice ever single day to choose either God or self. I can either choose to resist sin and draw near to God or I can choose to resist God and draw near to sin. The only question that remains is which choice I find more enticing- my sin or my God. Amen?