By Ray Gano
I don’t know about you but I hate it when I sin.
Now there are those sins that one does not notice that they are doing, but there are also sins that we commit and that we KNOW we are doing with our eyes wide open.
A lot of times these are our pet sins, the sins that hold us back, bring us down, put us on the path to being backslidden.
Just to let you know, no one is without sin, and no one except our Lord Jesus Christ is perfect.
We all sin, but there are times in our lives when we learn how to live above sin and walk in the power of the Lord.
Every single one of us knows what it is like to be tempted. But being tempted to sin is not a sin in and of itself. In fact we know that Christ himself was tempted in all areas, just as we are, yet He did not sin.
Hebrews 2:18 (KJV) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
We learn in scripture that God allows us to be tempted for several reasons.
To try our faith - 1 Peter 1:7 (KJV) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
To keep us humble and dependent on Him - 1 Peter 1:5 - 6 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
To help us see the victory that is in Christ - Hebrews 2:18 (KJV) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
And finally to enable us to win the crown of life - James 1:2-4 (KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1:12 (KJV) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Guidelines To Follow
So how does one stop sinning?
Well, we can't, it who we are, it is part of our sin nature and every single human being is a sinner.
Romans 3:10(kjv) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
But scripture also gives us some guidelines to follow that will help us concerning the temptation of sin.
1 - We are to be watchful and pray.
Matthew 26:41 (KJV) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
By watching, Christ is referring to keeping an eye on ourselves. In other words keeping a check up from the neck up. When we become complacent, we tend to fall back into sin. But if we are watchful and in prayer, we stay "sharp" to the attacks of the enemy.
2 - Stay away from anything or situation that may lead to sin
Romans 16:19 (KJV) For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
1Thesalonians 5:22 (KJV) Abstain from all appearance of evil.
In other words, just stay away. When we give temptation the foothold, we will most likely succumb to the sin. There is a progression to sin, it is clearly stated when Eve beheld the fruit.
Genesis 3:6 (KJV) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
We see that Eve SAW, and that it was PLEASANT, and then DESIRED, then she TOOK.
We still fall for the same sequence every time. What we need to learn is to just stay away from the temptation.
Here is an example.
We live in New Braunfels, we have the number one rated waterslide part in all the nation. We also have three rivers where folks come to go "tubing" or float down the river on the hot Texas days.
With that said, very scantily dressed women are everywhere and in some cases barely covering up the parts that need to be better covered.
When we are out and about and I see women like this, I purposely turn my eyes, look down, look to Tracye, look anywhere but where the almost naked women are running around at Wal-Mart, grocery store, shops, etc.
Why? Because I do not want to give temptation a foothold. Second it is my duty to honor my wife.
The first process to temptation is LOOKING.
Guys, honor your wife and don’t even look, avert your eyes and God will bless you.
3 - Be ye transformed from the worldly, to the Godly byt the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:1-2 (KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 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.
People today forget WHO we serve. We serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He was whipped, beaten and put on the cross to suffer. His blood was spilt for our sins and He gave His life freely so that we might be with the Father in Heaven. Christ gave his all, it is our reasonable service that we live a holy and acceptable life for Him.
We do this by renewing our minds. How do we renew our minds? By always thinking on the things of the Lord. Reading His Word, singing praises, having Christians hymns playing in the background, always being in a form of prayer, thinking on scriptures, memorizing scripture, fellowshipping with other Christians, going to church, etc, etc, etc.
When we fill our minds with the ways of the Lord, we do not give temptation the foothold. Living this life is a constant upwards battle, but with the Lord for us, who can be against us.
But the moment that we think we have it covered and are "holy" enough. It is at that time that we start slipping back also known as back sliding.
Folks, if we are not going forward, we are going backwards. There is no standing still and maintaining the status quo.
Now, please know that even if you are doing everything you can, temptation still comes, that is why they call it temptation.
So what can we do on top of following these guidelines?
1 - Look to Christ's example - resist the devil with scripture.
James 4:7-8 (KJV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded
2 - Submit / yield yourself to the Lord and reckon ourselves dead to sin.
1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
3 -Earnestly watch for the way of escape God has promised. When temptations creeps in take it immediately once it is discovered .
1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) 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.
What people do not realize is that the way to escape is always through Christ Jesus. Turn to Him, focus on Him, look to Him.
Remember what happened to Peter the moment he took his eyes off of Jesus as he was walking on the water with the Lord? He started to sink. If we take our eyes off the Lord, we sink. But when we keep our eyes and our focus upon Him, He will see us through and provide us the means to escape the temptation.
When we who are in Christ follow these principals when we are tempted, we will by the power of the Lord working in us, be able to overcome the temptation. The added benefit is that in doing this we are exercising our "spiritual muscles" and when we are tempted again, we know what we need to do. The experience we gain helps us to battle temptation and through God's power in us, we are stronger and in a better position to serve Him.
BUT… if we who are Christians give in to the temptation, and all of us do, it is because we have neglected some of the guidelines God has given us in His Word as a means of defense.
Ephesians 6:13 (KJV) Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
This all falls into learning how to wear the armor of God. See we just don’t wake up one day and decide we are going out on the battle field with 70 pounds of extra armor we have never worn and then think we can fight effectively.
We need to exercise the muscles needed to wear the armor and once we have built them up, then we will be able to fight temptation effectively.
When we do fall for temptation and we do sin, it isn't the end of the world.
1 John 1:8-10 (KJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
We serve a loving and caring Father. He has provided a way through Jesus Christ our Lord. For if we confess that we have sinned, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and then cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We live in a world where sin abounds. These are the last days of the last days. More and more we see the works of the enemy everywhere. To be honest there are days I think that man can not sink any lower, then I read of some new event which tells me that man is still sinking in his depravity.
Folks, use these guidelines and you will see God begin to work in your life. This is all part of walking the path to sanctification.
James 4:8a (KJV) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
Finally, I leave you with one final verse that wraps all of these guidelines into one statement which is easy to memorize …
Philippians 4:8 (KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
And when you think on these things of the Lord, you will be able to resist temptation and live above sin.