(This is the concluding part of our last write- up on the above topic. 'We hope you find it useful)
In overcoming sinful habits, the following suggestions will help:
RE-THINK:- change your thought pattern. The Bible says you've been raised above sin and Satan. You’ve been set free from Satan’s control and you're now under the authority of the one who loved you enough to die for you-Jesus Christ. ‘Since you were brought back to life with Christ, focus on the things that are above—where Christ holds the highest position. Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things. You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.’ (Colossians 3:1-3, God’s Word Translation)
‘Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.’ (Romans 6:1-4, NLT; emphasis ours)
‘So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 6:11, NLT)
‘Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.’ (Romans 8:12, NLT)
You're no more condemned to a life of sin. Being a sinner is just like been a prisoner. When God sets you free from the prison of sin, do you need to live, eat, dress and stay in prison like a prisoner? Of course not! You’ve become a person who is ABLE to do the right things even if there were no laws or rules to force you. Before, you were not able to, but now you are. A person with normal eyes can see, but he can decide to close his eyes and fail to see just like a blind man; but it doesn't rule out the fact that he is able to see. There's more to your power as a Christian. Find out what says in Romans 6:1-14; Romans chapter 8; Colossians 3:1-17, Titus 2:11-14; 2nd Peter 1:3. Read them up and begin to think of yourself as God thinks of you!
2. SAY ‘No’:- Having realized that you have the right to say 'NO' to sin, exercise that right! Since you're Christian, the devil does not have the power to force you to do wrong things. So when you have sinful thoughts, or strong temptation, say 'NO' while it is still a thought. The devil can tempt you strongly, but you can say 'NO' as even more strongly. Watch what you think!
NO must always mean NO. If you say no to stealing, that means you're ready to go hungry (if need be) to avoid stealing. God's grace is there for you. His grace teaches you to say NO to sin. Open your mouth and say what you’ve learnt: 'NO'!
‘For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age’ (Titus 2:11-12, NIV)
3. ESCAPE! : - No temptation (no matter how it comes) has overtaken you that beyond the experience and resistance of other believers. God is faithful and compassionate. He will make sure you're not tempted beyond your ability and He'll surely provide A WAY OF ESCAPE so that you bear the temptation without falling into sin.
When you feel the familiar urge to wrong doing, rather despair, look for the way God has created for you to escape. Your way of escape could be leaving the place where the temptation is, talking to someone about it, diverting your attention and energy to other things etc. Escape routes are available out of every temptation; take them.
‘The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT) Also read James 4:7.
4. PRAY: - Spend time telling God about your problems. No one can tell you how powerful the experience is, you can only experience it yourself. The Bible tells us that Jesus, our High Priest, is able to understand our weaknesses because He Himself has been tempted like us, even though He never sinned. However, He understands the struggles we face as human beings because He Himself faced them as a human.
‘Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. Let us have confidence, then, and approach God's throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.’ (Hebrews 4:15, 16, Good News Translation)
‘Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.’ (Hebrews 2:17-18, NLT)
‘But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing.’ (1 John 1:9, Good News Translation)
You never leave the place of prayer the same way you came. If you're lazy to pray, then you're lazy to be victorious. Ask God to empower you. Pray in faith. You get strengthened to be victorious.
5. CONFESS AND PAY BACK: - Begin a daily exercise some people have termed "breathing". Breath out every sin you have in your life as soon as you realize that you are wrong. Never make excuses. 'Breathe in' the Word of God. Occupy your mind constantly with things that glorify God (Philippians 4:8). You may need to confess a wrong thing you've done to people who got hurt by it. Apologize and ask for their forgiveness. It has a powerful effect on your choice to live a sin - free life. It strengthens your resolve not to go back again.
‘He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.’ (Proverbs 28:13, NKJV) See also Psalm 32:1-11.
Also, if you have a trusted ‘mature’ Christian you can confide in, this may also be helpful in unburdening yourself to another believer. Most likely he/she might have faced similar challenges and can share how he/she was able to overcome. This step also strengthens your resolve to forsake the sin. However, caution must be exercised that you share your struggles with someone mature enough not to condemn, criticize or publicize your challenges but rather to encourage and uphold you in prayers.
‘Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.’ (James 5:16; NLT)
‘Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.’ (Galatians 6:1-2, NLT)
You may at times need to pay back e.g. return something you stole or pay for it. That's called RESTITUTION. Restitution doesn't make God forgive you but it is simply evidence that God has forgiven you.
No matter the reaction of the person you confess and or pay back to, (even if it's negative) don't worry. You've done your part and God will bless you for it. You can rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you in each situation.
You know what? You don't have to be stuck when you sin. You may not be able to change yourself but God can change you. The truth is: He has already changed you in Christ. You don’t have to go on sinning; you have been set free.
‘For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ (Ephesians 2:10; NLT)
We really hope that this write - up has been a source of blessing to you and we earnestly pray that it helps you to love and live more effectively for him who loved you and gave His life for you.(Gal 2:20)
We hope that you will please keep in touch with us so that we may be able to communicate as we all seek to grow in our walk with the Lord.
Please read up the suggested verses, complete the attached BIBLE study and send it back to us, along with your prayer request or any other issue you wish that we look into. We love you and we are praying for you. We hope you will do the same for us. God bless.
(For ‘Pens For Christ’)
You may also find the following related articles helpful in dealing with sin:
Overcoming Guilt: http://www.pensforchrist.org/article/overcoming-guilt
Handling Temptations: http://www.pensforchrist.org/article/handling-temptations
You can click the link above or request a copy be sent to you.
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