In this real battle with sin, how are we to gain ground? Where are we to get help? In parts 1 & 2, we discovered why the battle with sin is so hard, that hope arises from Christ, that there is a battle raging in the heart with desires, what the process of temptation looks like, and that your circumstance never makes you sin. In today’s blog, you learn that help begins with the Word of God and that victory is possible.
Help begins with the Word of God.
How do you begin to identify what righteousness looks like? How do you grow in wisdom and discernment on the journey? How do you develop good ideas regarding the “put on” that is necessary? The answer for all these questions is the Word of God. James provides the process or structure necessary to get the answers that help the Christian honor God in daily living. “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). Here James provides a process which culminates in blessing.
First, the process of growing in righteousness begins by looking into the perfect law of liberty, which is the Bible. The idea of looking here is to stoop down and observe carefully or intently. Why do we need to look carefully into the Bible? The Bible text expands our categories of thinking. It develops our vocabulary. It provides us wisdom. It teaches the character of God. It chronicles His actions, especially the sending of His Son. The Bible provides the window for us to watch Jesus’ love as He engages sinners like us.
Second, the follower of Christ must continue in the Word. It is not enough just to read it or study it; instead, the goal is to continue in it. Just as looking is intentional, so also is continuing in it. How can you better continue in what you have intently looked? One such way is to memorize what you study as it relates to the “put on” you are considering. If you struggle with your memory, then write the verse out on a card and determine to read it twenty-five times per day. Mark on the back of the card each time you read and consider it per day. Over a short period of time you will find that you have essentially memorized it. Another way is to write out the key verses in which you desire to continue on a few cards. Place them in locations where you visit often. When there, take a moment to read over the card and consider its meaning and application to your circumstance.
Third, do not be a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word. The intended end of Bible study is application. Carefully think through the meaning of the text you are looking at with the goal of specifically putting it into action. Consider questions like these: What fruit should become prevalent from this text? What does God want me to think? What does God want me to say? What does God want me to do? If I am going to practice godliness in this moment, what would that look like? How might Jesus respond in this situation in order to honor the Father and do His will?
Bringing a friend into this process is also very beneficial to help you make changes. Because sin is so deceitful and the potential destruction so great, all Christians need someone to exhort them daily (Heb 3:12-13). This daily conversation provides a very practical way to help your endurance as you strive to fight a particular sin.
Victory is possible in this moment, and the next moment.
Is fighting sin easy? No. More than likely you already know that answer as evidenced in your reading to this point of the article. It would be nice if there were a silver bullet, a magic potion, an easy button for sanctification, or anything that would make this process easy. The reality is that there is not. God did not make change easy. His goal is for us to each depend upon Him as we eagerly wait for the future day when we will struggle with sin no longer (Rom 8:18-39).
How do we know victory is possible regardless of the sin in which we struggle? The Apostle Paul points us to the character of God. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Cor 10:13). When he refers to no temptation, he means that you will never be in any situation or pressure-filled circumstance that is greater than the grace given to you through the faithfulness of God. Your ability to have victory does not depend solely upon you. Your hope of change is based on the faithfulness of God Himself.
God provides the grace necessary to say no to sin, the grace to put off those things that do not honor God and replace those with what does honor Him, the grace to identify what it is that you really desire, the grace to confess and cultivate greater God-honoring desires, and the grace to say or do what God wants you to do. God provides grace unto change.
Join the Conversation
Where have you found help in times that you were caught in a particular sin?