What is sin? The Bible defines sin in several different ways:
- Sin is godlessness, wickedness, shameful lusts, depravity, etc. – Romans 1:18-32
- Sin is falling short of God’s glory (not measuring up to God’s standard) – Romans 3:23
- Sin is breaking God’s Law – 1 John 3:4
We tend to minimize some sins and make others worse. (And some sins carry greater consequences than others.) But sin is sin. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:23, 10)
And because the wages of sin is death, we’re all in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins. He offers us forgiveness and cleansing from all sin and fellowship with the Father. (Romans 6:23; 3:22)
We also learn from Romans 6, 7 and 8, that by trusting Christ, He has freed us from the bondage of sin. He says we are “dead to sin, but alive to God. We have a new life.” (Romans 6:1-4)
But we still sin. Despite what Christ has done for us and our trusting Him for the forgiveness of our sins, we sometimes still choose to go our own way instead of God’s way. We still live in a sinful, fallen world. We still live in our fleshly bodies that have learned to sin in the past. It’s hard to break old habits.
We know that God wants to transform us and make us more and more like His Son, Jesus. He wants to sanctify or make us holy. That is God’s will for your life. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
Many of us have a sin or sins that we used to call “besetting sins.” These are sins that we have a hard time shaking. Such sins could be a problem with anger, gossip, greed, drunkenness, sexual sin, etc. Some sins are harder to break than others. Some sins have their roots deeply entwined in our lives and require the help of others so we can uproot them.
Here are some tips for battling sin in your life:
focus on the sin. This seems counterintuitive. I used to ride motorcycle a
lot. And because you’re only on two wheels, if you hit debris in the road, that
can easily cause a wreck. One thing that I learned early on is if you see a
rock or some other object in the road ahead, DON’T FOCUS ON IT! The reason for
this is that whatever you focus on, you’re drawn toward. You don’t beat sin by
focusing on not sinning, but by focusing on Christ.
- Focus on
Jesus. Continuing from the previous thought, instead of focusing on the
rock in the road (the sin), focus on road to the right or left that’s free of
debris. Putting this in context, we focus on Christ. This is what abiding or
remaining in Christ is all about. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the
branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart
from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) If you want to avoid sin, focus on
clear of tempting situations. You know your weak spots, so avoid those
situations in which you are likely to be tempted. This is common sense. This is
wise behavior. In Proverbs 5, Solomon warned his sons about the temptation of
yielding to a prostitute. Solomon told his sons, “Keep a path far from her, do
not go near the door of her house.” (Proverbs 5:8)
- Fill your mind and thoughts with what
pleases God. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “We continually ask God to fill
you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding
that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and
please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the
knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10) Spend time in God’s Word daily. Commune
with Him in prayer. Trust the Holy Spirit.
- Look for
God’s way out. Paul reminds us that whatever sin we’re struggling with,
it’s not unique to us. Others struggle with it too. He says that to give us
hope. Then, he says, “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond
what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so
that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
- Share your struggles with a spiritual partner. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” And Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” We cannot heal or be free from something we deny, ignore, or hide. Tell a trusted confidant or spiritual partner what you’re struggling with. Ask for their prayers and encouragement. God does not intend for you to beat sin on your own.
The sanctification process that you and I are involved in since coming to Christ is more than just the absence of sin. “Sanctification” means to “set apart for God,” or “to make holy for God.” Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in us, but we are not passive in this process. Replace sin and ungodly behaviors and thoughts with those that please Him. Jesus is our model. Seek to be more and more like him and trust Him to do His sanctifying work in you.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25 NKJV)
©2019 Rob Fischer