Have you ever found yourself in the middle of some act of sin and mentally you facepalm your head and say “Why did I do this?” You really didn’t intend to sin, but before you knew it you’d gone and done it anyway. Maybe its a certain area of weakness in your life and every time you promise yourself you’ll not do it again – but then you do. Think for a moment about a certain sin you battle with constantly. Maybe it’s overeating or over spending or bad language or whatever it might be. Why is it so hard to overcome these sins? Paul says in Romans 7:25 that in his mind he serves the law of God, but in his flesh, he serves the law of sin. As Christians we want to obey God and keep his commandments, but our flesh is weak. Jesus told the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, “Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
The reason overcoming sin is such a battle is because it is exactly that — a battle. Every day we fight a battle between our old sinful nature and the new creation we became when we became saved. (Click to tweet) We can recognize in our mind that we want to keep God’s law because it is holy, just, good, and spiritual. However, at the same time, our sinful nature that was in league and service to Satan tries over and over again to resurface because our sinful nature makes us rebellious against God. Each one of us has a natural inclination to sin and if we are given the choice to do God’s will our own, our natural tendency is to choose to do our own thing.
When we become a Christian, our sinful nature doesn’t just disappear. As long as we live on earth, sin remains in us and we will constantly struggle with the old sinful nature. However, as believers, we do have help. At the time we became a Christian, the Holy Spirit took up resident within us and gives us the power we need to overcome and be victorious over the sin nature within us.
So then how do we battle that old sinful nature…and be victorious?
First, we need to understand that our sinful nature is our enemy. Paul wrote in Romans 8:13 that if we “live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” In warfare, soldiers kill their enemies – not their friends. When you think about your sin, think about what your sin cost Jesus. It was your sin that killed Him. We need to recognize that our enemy, Sin, seeks to devour and destroy us. As a Christian, we cannot be unsaved, but Sin wants to cause us to dishonor Christ and the price He paid so that we could win our freedom from Sin. Because sin is our enemy, we need to develop a strong hatred for sin because of what it cost Jesus and because what it wants to steal from us – the joy of our salvation.
Sin is a big bully that worms it way in through deceit and manipulation. Satan’s number tactic in temptation is to use half-truths and half-lies. It’s easy to catch a straight out lie, but if you mix a little truth into it, it doesn’t quite sound like a lie any more. He used this tactic with Eve in the Garden of Eden and he’s been using it ever since – because he knows it works on us. (Click to tweet) Romans 6:12 tells us, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” The best way to combat the bully, Sin, is through God’s Word. Jesus did this when he was tempted in the wilderness. Satan used his old half-truth/half lie technique and Jesus returned with a complete truth of God’s Word. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” So shed some light on that bully’s half truth/half lie temptations.
If we are going to defeat the enemy, we need to have a radical allegiance to the other side, God’s side. We have to make a conscious effort go all in for Jesus by surrendering our mind, heart, and body. (Click to tweet) Romans 6:13 says, “Present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” As we surrender ourselves to God, we are presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice to him. Romans 12 :1 says, “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and please to God.” The only problem with living sacrifices is that they tend to wiggle off the altar. So presenting ourselves God is a continual activity. It doesn’t mean that every time we fail we lose our salvation, but that we have to keep coming back to the altar and surrender our will to our Savior and give Him control of our lives. We must be yielded to Him if we are to be instruments of righteousness.
To be victorious over our sinful nature, we need to make sure we don’t open the door to sin – even just a little bit to peek out at it. (Click to tweet) Romans 13:14 says, “Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” This means that if you struggle with alcohol, you don’t go to the bar telling yourself, your just visiting friends. In fact, it might mean you need to drive an extra 15 miles to and from work everyday so that you do not drive by a bar and be tempted to stop in. It means if you struggle with pornography, you don’t leave your computer is a room that only you have access to. If you struggle with being faithful to your spouse, you don’t ask your coworker that’s been flirting with you to stay late and work on a project where it’s just the two of you. Whatever sin you struggle with, don’t willingly put yourself in the position to be tempted by that sin. If you need to, find some accountability partners to help stay the course godliness. James 4:6 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Defeating our sinful nature means we don’t go with the status quo. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Just because the world says it’s okay, doesn’t change what God says about it. Sin is still sin and in the end only God’s Word will matter. Laws can attempt to redefine marriage, but God will still any marriage or relationship contrary to His word and sin. Morality in our world is at an all time low and what once was seen by society as taboo is now the everyday norms and we think nothing about it. D.L. Moody once said, “The ship belongs in the water of the world, but if the water gets in the ship, it sinks.” The world is full of sinking sand, but Christ is our Solid Rock on which we can stand. As we stand on that Rock the light of Jesus should be shinning out on a lost world and inviting them to come to Him.
The battle against our sinful nature starts in the mind. We need to continually be renewing our mind and keep our focus centered on Christ. (Click to tweet) Romans 8:5 and Colossians 3:2 tell us to fix our minds on the things of the Spirit and things that are above. Philippians 4:8 says we need our minds to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, and worthy of praise. It can be very difficult to do when there are so many stories in the news about mass shootings and other evils. It’s also difficult when Satan is throwing temptation our way. He always makes the sin look good and inviting. When our thoughts begin to stray from where they belong, its a good time to listen to some praise and worship music, or to spend time praying or reading the Bible. We can begin praising God for His work in our lives. We can get together with Christian friends and talk about God’s goodness over a hot and cheesy pizza. Its important for Christians to belong to a body of believers. So be sure you are actively attending a godly church where the truth of the Bible is being preached. The more we surround ourselves with other believers, the more we can help each other in the battle against sin and the more we can work together to be continually renewing our minds so we focus on the things of God.
In every battle there are wins and losses. When sin does win the battle, we need to be quick to admit our defeat and confess our sin. Part of the work of the Holy Spirit within us is to convict us of sin so that we can repent and find forgiveness. (Click to tweet) 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Don’t ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As soon as you recognize sin as won a round, confess your sins and ask God to forgive you. Then ask the Holy Spirit for His help in defeating sin. Ezekiel 36:27 says, “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Then listen to Him the next time your getting ready to fall in sin’s trap and He will help you avoid the trap and win the battle.
With the power of the Holy Spirit living within us, we have the power to overcome and defeat sin. But the battle is life long and we are not able to do it on our own. If we are to be victorious in the battle of sin, we have to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Click to tweet) No soldier goes into battle without battle gear. Ephesians 6:11-18 tells us about our battle gear:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, and have done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”
So suit up Christian! You’re on a battlefield. You’re a soldier with the power of the Holy Spirit inside of you. Fight on His strength and not your own. In the end, we win because Jesus won the war at Calvary.(Click to tweet)
We have a new product line of Christian apparel and gifts available in our Teespring Store and our new Spreadshop Store. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more. All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries. Thank you for helping us grow!
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.