This is the last post of a series looking at how we are to turn from sin and live Christ-honouring lives. In “How Can I Stop Sinning When it Feels so Good?” we learned that sin is more then disobedient acts, but rather an evil force seeking to reign in our lives. In “The Subtle Strategy of Sin” we spoke of how deception is sin’s key weapon, corrupting our desires to influence the members of our body to disobey God. Next in “Make Christ Your Focus and Treasure” we listed the first four steps in how to engage against sin which involves focusing on what Christ has done on the cross and what He achieved. Now we will explore the final two steps of our battle plan against sin and it involves us getting our hands dirty.
5. We are to meditate on and embrace what Christ has DONE.
It’s an active part of us to learn, consider and know who we are as a Christian; what it means to be a Christian before our holy God. The previous four steps encourage this. There are two big problems in the modern church that hinder this. 1) Church doesn’t spend enough time teaching us Gospel-centered content so that we learn and embrace more of the mercy of God and what Christ has done for us. Justification MUST precede sanctification. In other words God must declare us righteous and forgive us of our sin before we can wage in the battle of turning away from sin and becoming more like Christ in how we live. It’s NOT the other way round! 2) The church is not just about evangelism. It’s not just about seeing people come to Christ, although that is crucial and dear to God’s heart. It’s about making disciples of Christ. It’s about building people up in their faith from their pre-Christian lives being mature Christians. If we don’t feed people solid, biblical food and teaching along with milk, then how can we expect people to mature in their faith, let alone be equipped to say no to temptation and yes to God.
6. Prefer God over sin.
We finally get to our direct engagement against temptation. When faced with temptation we have a choice. Like with any choice the reason we choose one thing over the other is that we prefer it. When we choose one meal at a restaurant we do so because we perceive/know it to be either more tasty or healthy for us. The bottom line is there is a perceived benefit for us choosing one option over the other. Leading up to one’s choice in becoming a Christian, we are made aware of our need of a saviour. Therefore we choose to trust in Jesus with our lives as we realise the benefit of being united with Him as opposed to not. When faced with temptation to sin, we must remind ourselves of 1) the deception sin offers by saying it will grant us lasting satisfaction, and 2) the eternal benefit of choosing to follow Christ and being obedient to Him – eternal peace and fulfillment. It may be tough at first as sin offers us pleasurable alternatives, but if we continually meditate on what Christ has done for us and what we have to look forward to in Him – an eternity enjoying God – then our short term displeasure or suffering will be put in perspective! This is extremely liberating in our battle over sin. We are not powerless any more! I have found the more I have focused on steps 1-5, the more I have preferred Christ over the fleeting pleasures of sin. That’s the transforming power of the Holy Spirit within, drawing us and conforming us to Christ. Yes we all stumble back into our old thinking and self-seeking motives at times, however given we know we are justified before God through faith in Christ, we can learn from our mistakes without any condemnation being placed on us and grow in our faith and enjoyment of God! What a blessing and treasure that is!!
So there it is. I hope these last four blogs have helped equip you to turn from sin and walk victoriously for God. If you have any other strategies, please share them. I would love to hear your feedback and what you have learned. Together may we stand up against the sin in our lives and glorify Christ each day.