As Christians, we are to avoid sin but this can be quite a task because we are sinful beings. As much as we don’t want to, we still sin in our daily lives because of the sinful nature that was injected into us through the fall. Because God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin, and our sin separates us from him, becoming a barrier to our fellowship with Him and even causing us to lose the joy of our salvation. Isiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have become a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that He does not hear.” The seriousness of sin should make us realize we cannot tolerate it or give sin any ground in our lives. However, when we do fall to sin, what should we do? Here are eight steps to take against sin you can’t shake.
One of the first steps to take against sin is to repent. The importance of repentance is hard to overstate. After all, Jesus’ first public exhortation was “Repent!” (Mark 1:15) – and if it was that high on Jesus’ list, we probably should pay attention to. Repentance requires honesty. The Bible tells us, “How happy is the man the LORD does not charge with sin, and in whose spirit is no deceit!” (Psalm 32:2). No one comes to God with true repentance in their heart unless they’ve first acknowledged their need for forgiveness and reconciliation with Him. Only those who have ceased trying to cover up their sin with self-righteousness and deceit can experience the deep and lasting change that comes only through repentance. It’s importance that you acknowledge the danger of sin and the damage of guilt. We must honestly assess the consequences of our sin, which means assessing both personal consequences and impact it has had – and will continue to have on others.
Turn to Jesus
Backsliding refers to going backwards spiritually and morally. When a believer backslides, he falls back in some way into a less desirable condition; His lapse may be a relatively minor one and unintentional. He may simply fall back through neglect by not praying, reading the Bible, and keeping his focus on living for God. On the other hand, a believer may backslide by deliberately choosing to indulge in this life’s sinful pleasures. This type of backsliding can carry disastrous consequences. It can bring dishonor to the One who laid down His life for us. But there is good news for us when we backslide. God doesn’t condemn him. God’s loving concern for backsliders is steadfast and sure. A big step you take to escape the tangles of sin is turning to Jesus, the only One who has defeated sin and death out of His deep love for us.
Seek the Holy Spirit For Strength
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit can be “quenched” as well as “grieved” (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30). Because He is so holy, our sinful habits and attitudes can cause Him to withdraw. This is why it’s important for us to walk in constant communion with God, and be willing to repent quickly when we know we have sinned. Some people stuff their secret sins in the closets of their hearts. If you want to be filled with the Spirit, you must be willing to open those closets and invite the light of God’s holiness into every dark corner of your life.
The truth is, we all have a sin problem. That’s why we need Jesus so much. But if you or someone you love is trapped in a pattern of sin, or refuses to repent from sin, the stakes can seem sky high. When you don’t know what to pray, pray God’s Word. Pray that you would see sin as God sees it. Pray that your heart would be softened. Pray that they would recognize the kindness of God. Pray that you would desire God’s Word. Pray that you would recognize that only God can satisfy your deepest needs.
Meditate on God’s Promises
When you’re lost in a world of sin, one of the best things you can do is meditate on God’s promises. The Bible tells us that we’ll be blessed if we meditate on God’s Word. Meditation, in the biblical tradition, is not spooky or a way of “emptying” our minds. Rather, it means to fill our minds with truth. The Bible repeatedly tells us to consider God’s provisions, His love for us and His ways. To meditate on Scripture means we take our time, reflect and consider – that we let it soak in. We do not hurry or skim, but slow and absorb. When you feel distance from Jesus, wondering if He truly cares, if He notices your dilemmas, the antidote is not sheer willful determination to have more faith. This will only lead you to despairing guilt. Instead, turn to God’s promises. Fill your mind with the truth of all He’s promises you and soon, the truth will begin to create feelings of love in your heart.
Look For the Way Out
Recognizing the truth about God can be an important first step to achieving victory over sin. However, the devil, the accuser of our soul, constantly tries to wreck God’s plans. He lies to us, tempting us to believe that we can grab hold of sin with no consequences. He uses day-to-day pressure and our own sinful nature to accomplish his purposes. It’s important that you seek God as He is the only way out. God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Seek Others For Encouragement
When we’re struggling with sin, it’s important that we involve others into the struggles that we’re working to overcome, particularly believers of our faith who can walk alongside us. James 5:16 commands us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other pray for each other and pray for each other so that you m ay be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” While feeling alone makes us feel vulnerable, we can always remember that we were not created to walk through life alone. We are meant to love and serve one another and in doing so, we find blessing and strength.
Resist the Devil and His Empty Promises
As Christians, we need to be aware of the reality of the presence of evil. As we struggle to stand firm in our faith, we must realize that our enemies are not merely human ideas, but real forces that come from the powers of darkness. The Bible says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The most effective weapons we have against the devil are our faith, wisdom and knowledge about God and His Word.
Each of us can learn the healthy practices of confessing our sins. We may not be good at it right away, but we can make it a point to practice the things mentioned above. May the Lord help us to confess daily to Him and also to spend longer times with Him to clear up our sins and to restore and strengthen our fellowship with Him.