If I sat down with you and began to grill you with questions I bet you can tell me at least one major flaw in your life. You can tell me about a sin you have struggled with for years. You can tell me situations that bring out the very worst in you.
I know it is true for me. I have a sin that I have fought for years and know I will fight into the future, probably to the grave. I have situations that make me act like someone I am not proud of. (No, I am not going to tell you any of these!) I know they exist and I carry this baggage with me everyday. I often think of the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church at Rome. Romans 7:15-17 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (16) And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. (17) As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”
I know I have this sin living in me. It is like an evil seed in my soul that can sprout and bring the weeds of sin and guilt at any time. My question is what can I do about it?
Here is my short list of dealing with sin I know about in my life.
1. Avoid Bad Situations – All of us have “triggers” that set us off. These need to be avoided at all costs. Don’t go to a place that serves alcohol. Don’t be alone with a member of the opposite sex. Don’t be at home alone with the internet. Don’t attend functions that make you angry. Don’t watch movies with scenes that affect your soul negatively. Don’t put yourself in situations that will make you compromise your integrity.
2. Avoid Negative Influences – All of us have people who are the “triggers” in our life. These often need to be avoided. This is tough but a vital part of protecting our soul. Recently a woman described to me how her husband acts around his friends. He claims to be a Christian but when he is around his non-Christian friends he degrades women and they will look at a pornographic material. I simply told her, “He needs new friends.” Don’t visit with the lady that gossips. Don’t spend your free time with people who tear you down.
3. Find Someone to Support You – I have rarely seen someone beat sin alone. Usually we need someone to encourage us on this journey. Someone to hold us accountable. Someone to pray for us. Someone to challenge us and cheer us on. Each one of us needs a “sponsor” to help us with the struggles of sin.
4. Pray for Help – I take a few minutes everyday to ask God to help me with my struggles. I ask Him to forgive me, but I also ask Him to give me strength to make the right decisions or to walk the right path. The Lord’s prayer says “Lead us not into temptation.” A better translation is to “lead us away from temptation.” I need the Lord’s help through His presence in the Holy Spirit and strength in my soul to make the right decisions.
This is my short list of things I am trying to do to overcome in my struggle with sin. I am sure none of this is new information to you if you have been a believer for very long. In fact, I bet you have heard something similar dozens of times. Here is the hard reality many of us find ourselves wrapped up in – we know the problems in our lives and we know what to do to avoid them. We know both sides of the equation. The problem is that we don’t do the right thing we know to do. So my prayer for your today, and for me, is that you would have the courage and strength to do the one thing that helps us overcome our struggles. I know you can do it!