How To: Overcome Sin
As Godly men, we will not be free from the struggle against sin in this lifetime. Instead, we will daily wrestle with our thoughts, actions, and emotions as we try to align them with the way God wants us to live out our lives to fulfill His perfect will. Be assured that we are in a war, and every battle has an outcome, either our advancement from glory to glory or the tainting of our soul, which could lead to a downward spiral ultimately ending in our destruction.
It’s war.. but not the type you see in the movies:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
The outcomes of these battles will shape you and the person you become so it’s important to know how to fight and overcome. The first lesson in learning how to overcome sin is:
Know That You Can’t
Yep – the first step to overcoming a sin you are struggling with is to know that you have absolutely no power to do anything. It sounds disheartening but it’s actually really good news because God does have the power and He is fighting on your behalf:
“The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14)
“Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this [sin], for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
This is why we need to cry out to God in the name of Jesus Christ to save us. Only He can set us free and only He can give us victory. However, at the same time, He wants to see us fight for Him. He wants to see us fight for purity, for humility, for obedience, and for all of the good things that He freely desires to give us. It’s not that we earn anything that He gives us but He wants us to struggle against sin.
In the epistle to the Hebrews, we are charged with this:
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12:4)
It is in this striving and fighting against sin that we advance in our walk with God.
So cry out to Him to give you the strength and grace you need to overcome: “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Know Who You Are
Another way to renew your mind to help you in your battle against sin is to know who you are in Christ.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
You are either Christ’s or you are Satan’s. There is no in between. You have to decide: who’s are you? Are you God’s in Christ? Do you belong to the King of Glory who desires nothing but the best for you, the One who loves you unrelentingly, the one who takes all of your broken pieces and uses them in the most magnificent and beautiful way? Or do you belong to Satan – the deceiver, the thief, the one who wants nothing more than to see your ruin and destruction?
Know that you are making this choice every time you choose righteousness, and every time you choose sin.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:7-9)
Understand What Sin Truly Is and Realize It’s Consequences
A lot of times we slide so easily into sin because we take it lightly and we don’t realize what it will do to us. Sin is falling short of doing things God’s way. The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Well satan can’t create gifts like God can, he can just take a perfect gift from God, pervert it, and entice you with it promising that it’s better. Don’t let him!!!
Sin is not better than God’s way, but a lot of times we let ourselves get tricked into thinking that it is. When you make this choice you’re telling God that you know better than Him. You are calling what is evil, good:
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
Furthermore, did you know that God has invested so much of Himself into You that when you sin, the demons taunt God with your fall. When David fell into sin, Nathan the prophet came to him and said just that:
because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14)
Simply said, sin will mess you up. It breaks God’s heart to see you hurt yourself, so there are consequences established to help deter you from sinning. If a serial killer gets thrown in prison, and sincerely repents, God will forgive him, but that doesn’t mean God will let him go free – he’s still in prison. This is the case for all sin – lying, cheating, and the other things that seem less offensive than killing people. All of these sins all have earthly consequences, even if we sometimes don’t get caught and think we’re getting off scotch free.
I’ll finish up this section with the following verse – it always gets to me:
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)
“As long as sin is a state of being separated from God, then repentance will be the means of returning to God. As long as sin is being opposed to God, or being unfaithful to Him, then repentance will be the means of reconciliation with God.” – H.H Pope Shenouda III
Repentance isn’t just a feeling or an emotion – it’s a visible change in the way you live your life.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (Romans 6:12)
It’s walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (Galatians 5:16-17)
It’s continuing to get up no matter how many times you fall with the hope of victory in Jesus Christ.
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. (Micah 7:8)
It’s learning to love God more than sin. It’s choosing God… it’s choosing His way.
So cry out to Him with sincerity telling Him that you don’t want to have the love of the sin in your heart, but that you’d rather love Him with all of your heart.
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (Psalm 66:18)
And more than anything, remember what you’re fighting for:
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelations 21:7)