The flesh(sin) is hostile toward God. It seeks our destruction and will do everything it can to hinder, disrupt, and undermine the work of God in us and through us.
So how do we fight back? How do we address the sin in our life? Do we just say no every time we are tempted?
I know from experience, saying no is not enough.
Have you ever had a day when one particular temptation has been nagging at your mind- over and over again- maybe it is the temptation to eat. You are trying so hard to lose weight- to eat a healthy diet- but you can’t stop thinking about ______ food (fill in the blank). There is this really good buffet/restaurant close to your house.
You keep saying no, but the temptation is still there- wearing you down- trying to convince you- you deserve it- you could just get a small plate (even though you know once you get there you will probably have more), and soon you find yourself scheming perhaps to find a way to convince your husband (who is supposed to be encouraging you to eat healthy) to let you go get ______ food.
This has been me! I can remember days like this. Saying no did not adequately deal with my problem.
So what do we do? How do we fight back?
Colossians 3:2- Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.
Ok, but what exactly? When we are doing battle with sin, we can’t just pick the fruit (evidence) of that sin from our life to eliminate it- we have to pull it out at the root. How do we find the root? What need or desire is at the heart of our sin?
We fight sin just as Jesus did, in Matthew 4 when He was tested in the wilderness- “It is written.”
The Bible, God’s Word is our weapon- the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6) given to us to vanquish sin. To kill it. We are in a battle with our flesh- it seeks to destroy us- to keep us from enjoying all the riches in Christ Jesus.
Fight back with the truth of God- and say to your sin- “It is written.”
This requires effort on our part, we have to bring our sin before God- ask for His help in defeating it. We need Him to show us what is at the root of our sin- and give us Scripture from His Word to fight against it.
Enlist help from a friend if you feel led to- look for a Scripture together- pray together about the sin you are struggling with.
Here is a prayer from David to help us search ourselves for those strongholds of sin that need to be surrendered to Christ:
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
I have prayed this prayer after discovering an area of sin my life- seeking repentance and for God to renew a right spirit within me.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
Does all this talk of battle, and the sin in our lives- make you feel grave and a little depressed?
It does that to me sometimes. I feel dirty and disgusted at this nature in me that continues to go after things that I know won’t satisfy instead of turning to God.
So dear friends, please don’t miss this- don’t forget who we are in Christ.
Paul cries out in Romans 7:24-25: “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Romans 8:1-2: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
Romans 8:15-17: For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ–if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Dear friends- my brothers and sisters- hear the truth of what God has done.
You are forgiven, you are free from the bonds of sin and death. Christ has done this! We are reconciled to God- today, right now- through the blood of Jesus Christ.
We fight sin today- we seek God today- in response to the glorious gift that we have already received! We do it not to “please” or to “earn” but because we have tasted and know that God is good.
Hear one more verse as I close- Romans 5:5: “and hope (in God) does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
When I read this verses- I can feel my heart filling up- with joy, thankfulness, a sense of awe for what God has done. This spurs our response- to live each day glorifying God and praising His Name.
Take courage my dear friends- the battle is won! We are victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 15:56-58). So let us fight the good fight today (1 Tim. 6:12).