Overcoming sin is difficult if you don’t live a life of total surrender to the Lord. Living a life without the Holy Spirit leading you leaves you weak and vulnerable to sin and temptation.
Ultimately, only through God’s Word, we can succeed in overcoming sin. Applying God’s Word to our lives and living godly and righteously will allow the Holy Spirit to live in us and keep us from sinning. Sinning becomes a choice when we habitually engage in it and don’t attempt to eradicate it from our lives. As well, when we continually make excuses for its presence in our lives and do not do what it takes to rid ourselves of it, only means that we really don’t want to give up sin.
Moreover, living in habitual and unrepentant sin has serious consequences for our spiritual lives. It separates us from Christ, hinders our spiritual growth and invites spiritual warfare into our lives.
In this post, I will offer 5 practical steps for overcoming sin and temptation. These steps won’t help you overcome overnight as it takes commitment and perseverance, as well as honesty. It is important to be honest with yourself that you WANT to give up sin and live a clean life for the Lord. Then, when God sees that you are sincere and committed, He will help you with overcoming sin.
Pray and Name the Sin
The Word states that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. So, we know that prayer is a powerful thing which helps us to overcome anything we face. And, Christ gives us the strength to do all things in our weakness.
Specifying the sin that’s holding you captive has a powerful effect because you are acknowledging that the sin is contrary to God and His Word, and therefore has no place in your life as a Christian.
Therefore, when you pray and name the sin, you are speaking God’s Word over it and using your God-given authority to cast it out of your life through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Meditate on God’s Word
“Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.”Psalm 119:11
Reading and meditating on the Word helps us to stay focused on God and resist sin and temptation. The Word teaches us how to live righteously and gives us the wisdom to know right from wrong and good from evil, and it equips us through the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer sin in our lives. Therefore, we can use the Word of God to resist and rebuke sin in our lives.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”2 Timothy 3:16-17
Confess and Repent
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9
If you want the Lord to help you defeat sin, you must first confess the sin to Him and repent. God requires confession and repentance. When we confess, we are acknowledging that we are sinners and we are engaging in things displeasing to Him. And, when we repent we are expressing remorse and our willingness to stop and change. Then God shows His love and mercy and cleanses us from all sin.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”Act 3:19
Remove Yourself from Sinful Temptations and Situations
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.”1 Thessalonians 5:22
Avoid all situations and circumstances that would entice and tempt you in relation to the sin you’re trying to conquer. Identify and acknowledge your triggers. Then avoid them. They can be people, places, and activities that you engage in. I realize this isn’t easy, I’ve been there. But, if you are serious about eliminating sin from your life, it is necessary to avoid triggers and opportunities to sin.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able. But will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”1 Corinthians 10:13
Remember, you are not alone in this, the Lord is with you and knows your struggles and weaknesses. That’s why it’s important to depend on Him for help with the struggle of sin. Sin is not easy to rid yourself of, but it’s not impossible. God never gives us more than we can bear and He will equip us with what we need to fight and defeat anything that has no place in our lives as Christians. Anything that’s keeping us spiritually bound and separated from Him is not of Him, but of Satan.
Rely on Christian Support
It’s always good to have support in your struggles, no matter what they are. In the case of sin, Christian believers and your friends can support you by encouraging you and praying with and for you in overcoming sin. In particular, your Pastor or Deacon can anoint you with oil and pray with you for deliverance. This is sometimes necessary when we need a breakthrough and can’t achieve it within our strength and power; we need spiritual reinforcement. And Jesus said, “where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, I will be there.”
Why We Struggle with Overcoming Sin
“But, every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth for sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”James 1:14-15
As Christians, we struggle with overcoming sin because we allow our sinful nature to take over. The Word says we were “born in sin and shaped in iniquity,” therefore, we all have a sinful nature. But we do not need to continue living our lives in sin, fulfilling sinful lusts and desires and blaming it on our sinful nature. That’s why Jesus died for our sins and made a way for us to overcome them and live a life of holiness and righteousness. Therefore, through His death, He has given us the power to overcome. So, we can’t complain about how difficult it is to stop sinning.
Likewise, we struggle with sin because we are not grounded in the Word of God and do not apply the Bible’s doctrines to our lives to live righteously and become more like Him, and change for the better. Whenever we are weak in something, it leaves us vulnerable to succumb to it. Thus, if we aren’t living by the Word of God seeking to change, we will remain in sin and continually struggle to overcome it.
“Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”Matthew 26:41
In our flesh, we will always be weak and vulnerable to sin and temptation. When we “watch and pray,” we will be on the alert to resist sin and temptation. Additionally, we should walk by the Spirit to keep ourselves from fulfilling the desires of the flesh because the Spirit of God is with us and gives us the power to resist sin and temptation.
Consequences of Living in Sin
For, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Romans 6:23
God hates sin and punishes it, therefore, it is imperative that we stop sinning. Besides, we should want to stop sinning not because of punishment, but because it displeases Him. Sin’s consequences are real in that it hinders us from spiritual growth and keeps us separated from Him. As well, it invites spiritual warfare into our lives, including through the form of physical and mental illness. In addition to sin causing spiritual death, it also causes physical death.
No one wants to die in a sinful state, without confessing or repenting. The fact is, we don’t know when it’s our time to go. For this reason, we should strive to live a life of full surrender to the Lord and abstain from sin. If we die in a sinful state, then we won’t have to the opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness.
To conclude, overcoming sin is difficult when you are not living a surrendered life to Christ. And because of this, you are vulnerable to sin and temptation. We struggle to overcome sin because we let our sinful nature take over, making us want to fulfill the desires of the flesh. And secondly, because we are not grounded in the Word of God. So, we are weak and vulnerable to sin.
The consequences of living in sin can be both spiritual or natural death, according to God’s will. He does not take sin lightly, so if we are disobedient to His Word and continue to engage in sin without confession and repentance, He will punish sin. Sin hinders spiritual growth and keeps us separated from Christ.
Finally, the only way to defeat sin is through the power of Jesus Christ. If you follow the 5 steps I laid out, you will be able to start overcoming sin and temptation.