As Christians, we are to avoid sin. Yet, how can we avoid sin if we don’t fully comprehend what it is? An easy way to think of sin is the concept of missing the mark. If a sports player aims for a goal and misses, he does not get any points. They missed the mark of what they were targeting. Sin is going in one direction but straying off course to the side and not continuing in the direction we intended to go, with the result that we do not get the goal that we planned to hit. When it comes to personal sin, sometimes the big sins, the ones we try hardest to avoid are not the greatest threat to our joy. It may be the sin that is just underneath the surface, the ones we consider acceptable, that are sabotaging us. These often go undetected but have a more significant impact on us than we even know. Here are six of the most common sins and how to fight them.
Fear is one of the most popular weapons that the enemy uses against us. Worry, anxiety, and fear can overwhelm us with a thick shadow of darkness, controlling our every move and decision. The Bible tells us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10). While countless verses remind us that we do not have to fear with God, we tend to be fearful, a lot. We are always afraid to make decisions or to step into dangerous situations because we are unaware of the outcome. This is not what God intended for the church. The love of God and our faith in God should cast out all fear. A great way to combat the sin of fear is to remember and draw strength on God’s faithfulness. God is standing with you. Maybe you cannot see Him today, but He is right there. If you remember that God is next to you, you can approach your fears differently.
We love comfort. We like things to stay the way we like them. Who really wants to be forced out of their comfort zone? Yet, we cannot disciple to others when we are hooked on being comfortable. Too many people in the church turn comfort into an idol. When this happens, it is so easy for small differences of opinion on insignificant matters to cause people to fight and things to breakdown. One great way to combat the sin of comfort is to challenge it. There are also many verses about stepping out of your comfort zone in the Bible. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but the power, love, and self-discipline.” As we battle our fears, we can stand in God’s truth, that fear is not of God.
As Christians, we are chronic worriers. We are often convinced that we can handle everything on our own, which gives us a false sense that we are in control when only God is in control. The Bible tells us, “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Our Heavenly Father does not call us to carry this heavy burden. God takes care of us.
When speaking to His disciples, Jesus gave us two reasons why we should not worry. First, He says that we should not worry because of who we are. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet Your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26). If He takes care of the birds, will He not take care of us? Jesus is ultimately telling us that when we worry, we diminish our value. Next, we should not worry because it gets us nowhere. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27).
Worrying is like putting on the brakes and stepping on the gas simultaneously. A great way to take on worry is to combat it with prayer. “Do not be anxious about anything,” The Bible tells us in the book of Philippians chapter 4, “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We often associate gluttony with weight and food about it is so much bigger than just that. Gluttony is truly a condition of the heart. When we are gluttonous, we try to find everything we can to fill the void that God is supposed to fulfill. This takes our focus away from Jesus, the One we truly need.
One of the best ways to combat gluttony is to practice self-control. Also, understand how you view or treat what you are gluttonous about is part of your relationship with God. It is not just about your will power. Conversely, it is about how you view God and His work in your life.
We Christians often fall into the trap of taking God’s love for granted. As a result of this, we lose the passion we once had regarding our relationship with God, and we begin to take His love for granted. Spiritual apathy, coldness or indifference can affect even the sincerest Christian. Sometimes these feelings can replace the fervor we once felt for the things of God. If we lack this passion when it comes to our relationship with God, how can we expect to enroll others into having a relationship with God? One major cause of spiritual apathy is sin in a believer’s life. When David sinned, he felt disconnected from God (Psalm 51:11). As he confessed his sin to God, David prayed for God to “renew a steadfast spirit” within him and requested, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12). A believer who feels spiritually apathetic should confess any known sin and ask for God’s cleansing and renewal.
Too often, we think that lying is acceptable if nobody knows that we committed the lie. The more we lie, the less weight we believe these lies hold. Yet, God desires more for us because He cares for us. Lying is not okay, even if we think we will not get caught. As Christians, we are set apart by our love and commitment to Christ. We are called to live up to a higher standard.
What makes these six sins so detrimental is that so many of us do not even realize we’re committing them or believe these sins don’t carry the same power of other sins. However, this could not be further from the truth. These sins sabotage our ability to disciple others. The definitions of sin in the Bible are not simply arbitrary does and don’ts. Instead, they show us the spiritual principles by which God lives, the same standard of conduct He expects us to live by. Christ’s teachings help us understand why it is a sin not to do what we know we should do. It really comes down to whose will is most important in the lives of those in the church: Is it our will, doing what we want to do, or is it God’s will, doing what He thinks is most important? God’s will should always come first.