Three ways to fight sin. As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). This means, the old you, the one who reveled in sin is gone and you are a new creation in Christ. However, this does not mean the temptation to sin is gone. In Romans 7, the writer, the Apostle Paul, shows his readers this juxtaposition — “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” (Rom 7:15 NLT). “You can’t reason with sin — if you can’t kill it, it will kill you” – Steven Mulkey. So, are we without hope? Trapped in an endless cycle of sin? By no means! God always gives us a way to escape (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). Sin in our lives must be put to death. We can kill sin in three ways.
1) Fight Fatigue
One way to fight sin is to fight fatigue. Have you ever watched a toddler who didn’t get put down for his/her nap at the regular time? There are many different responses, depending on the child. You can find the silly toddler who laughs and giggles and falls over easily. Or you can notice the cranky, grumpy one who hits and kicks and reacts in anger. You might see the sad, inconsolable child who throws himself on the floor. But all of these are responses to being overtired.
When we live as a believer in Jesus Christ, there are many ways we live that is counter-culture to the world around us. Living in this manner, while bringing us closer to Jesus, sometimes pushes other people away. And we can become easily tired. Further, battling sin, always choosing to live righteously, is sometimes tiring. It is easier, for instance, to eat healthy when one is alert and awake and mindful. It is far harder to make those right choices when one is overtired and reaches for the closest item to fill the void.
To help us in the battle against sin, we must fight fatigue. Galatians 6:9 states — “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time, we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (NASB). So we need to be sure that we are resting properly in the physical, but also that we are spending time with Jesus, the source of our strength. Then we need to trust Him to continue to work in us as we rest in Him. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT)
2) Fight sin – Remember Your Identity
The artist Paul Gustave Dore (1821-1883) lost his passport while traveling in Europe. The story goes that when he came to a border crossing, he tried to explain. He gave his name to the guard, hoping he was famous enough to be recognized and pass. The guard, realizing anyone could lie about their identity, decided to test the artist. He handed Dore paper and pencil, and told him to sketch the other passerbys. Dore did so, quickly and skillfully. The guard was convinced of Dore’s identity and let him through.
So what is your identity as a follower of Jesus? First and foremost, your identity lies in Him. Galatians 4:7 — “Now you are no longer a slave, but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you his heir.” (NLT) We are defined by whose we are — we are God’s — and what we are — His child.
When we fight sin, we must remember who we are, God’s child, heir to His Kingdom, co-heirs with Christ Jesus (Romans 8:16-17). God Himself calls us His “masterpiece.” Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He has planned for us long ago.” (NLT) According to Wikipedia, a masterpiece is considered to be “the greatest work of a person’s career…a work of outstanding creativity, skill, work, profundity, or workmanship.” A masterpiece is lovingly hand-crafted. Therefore, our identity is both as created masterpiece and most loved child. Remembering this identity will help us to fight sin.
3) Fight Sin – Stop Believing Lies
Finally, if we want to fight sin, we must stop believing the lies — the lies of culture, the enemy, and even the lies of our own heart. This step, honestly, is tough. We are ingrained with cultural truth from day one of our existence on planet Earth, and to break away from that ingrained teaching takes a lot of work. Do a Google search on how to stop believing lies and there are all kinds of TED talks, YouTube videos, and blogs on this subject.
First, and foremost way, however, to combat lies is to recognize truth! Plain and simply, if you do not know the truth, you will not recognize the lie. My father used to work in a major bank in Los Angeles, California. He was a money counter. His client? Disney! His job? To count their cash deposits and to recognize any forgeries that had been passed through Disney. After he counted and verified the money, he would stack them by denomination in bundles, fan through the bundle and the forgeries would “jump” out at him. He said the way he could recognize the false bills was to have such an intimate knowledge of how the real looked, the fake just seemed glaring to him!
A very well known Scripture reminds us, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 ESV). When we press in to Jesus, abide in Him and read His Word, the truth will live in our hearts. Further, when the truth resides in our hearts, it helps us to combat sin. Psalm 119:9-11 — “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your Word. I have tried hard too find You — don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (NLT)