Battling Obvious Sin
"I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God's will."—Joan of Arc
"Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!"—Romans 6:1-2
We Must Engage The Battle Even When The War Is Won
The war is on. The enemy is relentless. And fight we must. I'm talking about our battle with sin. True, Jesus paid for all our sins, past, present, and future, when He took our place on the cross. But—need I say it—His greatest sacrifice in no way gives us the license to keep sinning.
On the contrary, Jesus is our example of the ultimate man fully engaged in battle until his final breath. Fully divine and fully human, He remained sinless in the struggle—unlike us.
So we battle with sin in our lives for many good reasons. We fight because we love Jesus. We fight to be credible witnesses to the world of His love for one and all. We fight to war with apathy, shame, and fear. And we fight it so that we can draw ever closer to the battle that Jesus fought for us. But we never fight to earn our salvation, that is a battle Jesus fought and won.
And here's the tricky part. The battle is not external. We don't fight it with guns, swords, bows, and fists. The battle is internal. So we must be active and intentional about our battle plan. And we can start by identifying three battle areas of sin so we can "know the enemy" and strategize accordingly.
Three Battles We Fight
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One | We Battle With Our Hurts
Nobody's perfect. Even our most beloved family members and closest friends let us down on occasion—sometimes inflicting wounds that run deep and linger long. Oh, how it can hurt. And sometimes we want to nurse the hurt and hold a grudge, don't we? But even the Lord's Prayer reflects Jesus' desire, in His typically radical, counter-culture way, that we do the opposite—"…and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us." So who in your life, have you not yet forgiven? While it might be easier (or shall we say "lazier") to continue living imprisoned to the sin of unforgiveness, Jesus wants us to battle it by extending to others the forgiveness, love, grace, and mercy that He has shown to us.
Two | We Battle With Our Habits
What regular, repeated behavior patterns do you need to address? Familiar to many of us are bad habits that do harm in some way both to us and to others, like greed, selfishness, overconsumption, offensive language, joking at another's expense, hurtful sarcasm, smoking, pornography—the list could go on, but I just bet you've already recognized yourself in there somewhere. Following Christ, however, means conquering these habits and developing new ones in their place. We need habits that build our character and establish the kind of virtue in our lives that truly reflect who Jesus is to the rest of the world.
Three | We Battle With Our Hang-ups
Some things in life stop us cold. They are blockades that seem impossible to get past, personal fixations that keep us from moving forward and going all in. We all get hung up on something. Maybe it's a family of origin pattern of behavior, or personal insecurity, that has embedded itself assumptively into our everyday lives. But in Christ, we are overcomers. As children of God, we have access to His strength. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can navigate these minefields and emerge victoriously.
You Don't Battle Alone
We are not alone in our battle against sin. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have our six. Our pride (now there's a weighty sin topic) must not convince us that we can wage and win this war on our power. Be warned—it's a daily, ongoing fight. But we must not surrender to defeat when occasionally we stumble. Our only surrender is to Jesus Christ Himself. We submit to Him, and in the end, His victory is ours. Guaranteed.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil."—Ephesians 6:10-11
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 16 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is 20 Lessons That Build A Leader.