Overcoming Sinful Nature

  Sin. Itís something we all struggle with. It is a weakness that tempts us, and we fail almost every time. We ALL struggle with it. Walking as God wants us to is never an easy task, but it is something we have to try our best to do. Letís first think what sin is. Imagine you are standing there facing God. In one hand He holds His way to do something, and in the other hand, He holds the worldly way. Now imagine yourself grabbing that worldly way from His hand, and turning your back to Him. THAT, my friend, is sin. When we decide for ourselves, that we know better than God, or that what we want is far more important than what He wants, that is sin. One of the biggest problems we face is that the walk with God is very much against the norm. Many people fear ridicule. I am here to tell you, it would be better to be laughed at here on earth, than to have to answer for it to the Lord on Judgment Day.

    So what do we do? I have outlined four steps that can help Christians overcome sin. Does this mean you will become sinless? No. We will all still fall, but this can help you with your walk, and lessen those times, but you have to do all four things.

 
Step 1:

The first step is to deny yourself.

   You have to tell yourself noÖand listen. The issue is that most of us donít like to be told no, much less to tell ourselves no, or deny ourselves something that we feel we need to do. How many times have you told yourself, ďJust one more time.Ē? Probably a lot. It comes down to many different things. One more little lie to get you out of trouble, one more time cheating on a test to get that good grade, one more cigarette, one more beer, or one last fling. Hard to say no when we justify that it is the last time. The problem is, rarely is it EVER the last time, and even if it was, it doesnít make it right. You canít willingly go on in a sinful nature and try to reach spiritual fulfillment at the same time. One of these has to go. If you are truly a Christian, you know which that must be.

   Think about this. Letís take someone who is a thief. They become a child of God and try to walk the walk. Hard times come around and the person prays for help, but becomes impatient thinking that God is not acting quickly enough. The first issue here is that God answers us on His time, not ours, because He knows what is best. So, the thief says, Iíll go out and steal one more time, I need the money so it is justified. He asks for forgiveness again. Later he does it again. Every time it is the same scene. Understand, God knows what is in your heart and your mind. You cannot ask for forgiveness out one side of your mouth and know in your mind that you have every intention of doing it again. You have to let that go! Tell yourself NO! Talk is cheap.

 

Step 2:

Identify areas of compromise in your life

   Look at what you do, where you go, what you listen to, how you talk, what you watch, even your friends. Do any of those compromise your relationship with the Lord? How do you ever expect to walk closer to God by way of reducing sin in your life if you continually put yourself in a position to be influenced to follow the ways of the world? If you go hang out at a bar, guess what you are probably going to do? Drink way too much. If you hang out with kids at school that smoke or do drugs, what will you probably end up doing? If you go out on a date and end up in a secluded area, guess what the intent is and what you might do? Godís Word clearly tells us not to fornicate, not to defile our body, not to commit adultery. Drugs and alcohol defile our bodies. Fornication and adultery happen when we let our lives and Christian ideals become influenced by worldly wants, needs, and thoughts from television, the people we are around, or the places we put ourselves in.

   What are you doing in your life and who are you hanging around that is compromising your Christian values? We are told in the Bible that we should be around other Christians. We are told our mates should be Christian as well. Why? The chances of falling into the ways of the world lessen tremendously when we are around our Christian brothers and sisters. Does that mean that groups of Christians together wonít sin? No, it will happen. But the likely-hood is greatly decreased, and THAT is what we should be after. Do you have to cut off ties with non-Christians? Absolutely not. If you do, how will they ever be led to the Lord? You have work to do as a Christian you know. We should though, try to keep our closest friends and the people that we confide in as Christians. Would you find true Christians hanging out at the bar, smoking, drinking, cussing, and waiting on the next pretty girl to come by while their wife sits at home? No. Not if they are taking these same steps that we all should be. Compromises are also those things that are our greatest weakness: alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sex, lying, stealing, etc.

 

Step 3:

Set your self discipline

   Job 31:1 tells us, ďI have made a covenant with my eyes, why then should I look upon a beautiful woman?Ē Now that is discipline. We have to tell ourselves no, identify our areas of compromise, and then set up a way to deal with it when we come face to face with the issues. Take me for example. I have taken the same approach as described in Job. Why? First, let us define adultery. Adultery is the sin of someone having sex with a person other than their spouse. In the eyes of the Lord though, He sees what your thoughts are. If you are married and you look at someone with a lustful eye and lustful thoughts, even if you donít act on it, you have committed it in Godís eyes. Now, look at the ads you see on TV and in magazines. How about the internet? Ever been surfing around and a pop-up ad come up with a scantily clad woman advertising discreet dating or even something as simple as telephone service? The world uses sexual innuendos to sell. We see it every day. When people get presented with that type of thing constantly, it causes some of us to fail. You have to make sure you never allow yourself to get in to that situation.

   I willingly turn the page quickly in a magazine, look away or change the channel on TV, exit out of the page on the internet or, in public places with someone dressed in an inappropriate manner, turn away. Thank goodness for TIVO! I record shows I watch on TV now, I donít watch much anyway, but can quickly fast forward through the beer commercials, Victoriaís secret commercials, etc. Itís called discipline and this is only one area. You have to set your discipline is ALL areas of your life.


Step 4:

Feed your spiritual nature

   To win against the temptations put before you and live how God wants you to live, you must get spiritual nourishment. You spent a great deal of your life in sin before you got saved. That sinful nature grew pretty big inside us all. The steps outlined above will starve those sinful desires, but in turn, we have to feed the Spirit within us. This will keep us in our walk with the Lord. How? Prayer, going to church, reading the Bible. Through this, and becoming a stronger Christian, you will learn just what it is the Lord wants you to do. Before that, before you truly reach your purpose in life, you must submit. This is a different submission from turning your life over to the Lord. This is a submission to do His work. The initial submission to the Lord when you accepted Him as Lord and Savior should have encompassed this as well. It is supposed to; however, most of us simply sit on our Salvation and end up having to take that extra step later when we realize we are stagnant. You must submit yourself to do His will, what He has in store for you, and as in the prayer of Jabez, He will bless you indeed! And no, donít look for money blessings when I say this. God is not of this world, and blessings are not always about money. From personal experience, when you truly submit yourself, then God works through you to lead someone to accept Jesus as their Savior, that is a blessing and a great joy.

   Remember to pray honestly, God knows what is in your heart, but He wants to hear YOU tell it to Him. Your Bible is not something to sit on a shelf till Sunday, ride in the car, sit on a pew, and then ride back home to sit on that shelf and gather dust again. That is your roadmap for life. Use it.

 Mike Harris



 

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