Someone’s been stealing your stuff.
No. Not your neighbor…or your cousin….or that person who stole that thing from you that time.
This thief is not even a person. It has however been around for a very very long time. Biblically speaking, this thief was caught and judged at the cross of Jesus Christ, but the blasted criminal still has a remnant lurking around looking for prey.
The thief I speak of is SIN and it's been robbing you of your God-sent mission by keeping you continually focused on it, rather than on Christ (who already dealt it a death blow).
Are you aware of what the Bible says the Christian’s attitude towards sin should be? (I speak of personal sin here, not other people’s sin, or sin in culture. Your sin. My sin.) The scriptures call for us to treat sin like a thief, a trespasser who’s invaded our home and is preoccupied with stealing, harming, and destroying everything and everyone we hold dear.
Such an intruder is not to be toyed with. You have only one option in your reaction, MAKE WAR!!
Before walking you through how to do this battle, I should point out that as a follower of Jesus Christ, you’re waging warfare from a position of strength, not weakness. Spiritually speaking, you’re already immersed in the person and work of Christ (His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection) so that you have a completely new heart in you that is capable of resisting sin. This brand spanking new heart is what cries out within you in those moments when you deeply desire to walk with Jesus and honor Him with your life.
However, this great “treasure” (your new heart & nature in Christ) is still incarcerated in a “jar of clay” (your weak body and will). The reason you struggle with sin even after coming to Christ is because your “unredeemed flesh” remembers what life was like before Christ and wars daily against your new nature in an effort to return to it. That’s why in one moment you’ll deeply desire to know Jesus by studying His word, but end up the next moment on YouTube, for hours, feasting on mindless entertainment. That’s why in the middle of pouring out your heart in worship, you’ll suddenly picture in your minds eye an image that has no business being in that most holy place. New Nature. Weak flesh. Ask Paul, he’ll tell you all about it.
So what are you to do about this? In the words of pastor and author John Piper, Christian hip-hop recording artist, Tedashii, and in the spirit of Romans 8:13, you as a follower of Jesus Christ are to MAKE WAR by choking that sucker to death!!
Sound violent? Well, you should see what sin is capable of.
Here’s your hope in battle though. It’s not by your own strength that you “put to death the misdeeds of the flesh”, but it’s by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within your new heart that you wage this war. According to Ephesians 6:17, your weapon of choice for killing? "The Sword of the Spirit."
Wielding the sword of the Spirit (which by the way is a reference to the word of God, the Bible) requires maadd skill. In other words, it’s simply not enough for you to quote a Bible passage in the midst of temptation, or simply say, “NO! I don’t want to do that!” Rather, you have to redirect your heart and mind to a word from God from the scriptures, especially a word of scripture that offers a promise that is greater than the fulfillment the tempting sin is promising. Then follow it up by believing by faith the promise of God’s provision in that moment (what His word says He will do). When you activate God’s word by faith in that moment, you not only make war, but you will have severed the root of that sin in that battle. That’s what spiritual warfare is!
Here are two situations and two passages that can serve you well in times of war.
When hardship or shortage of resources tempt you to cheat or steal in some form or shape, remind yourself of God’s promises in 1 Chronicles 29:12, “Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.” (NLT). Believe this to be true. Hold on securely to the promise of God’s provision and press on as if you believe He will provide. In so doing, you break the power and pull of that temptation.
When sexual temptation draws your affections and you’re beginning to lust, remind yourself of God’s promises in Psalm 1:2-3, “…Blessed is the one…. whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither, whatever they do prospers.” Believe this to be true. Hold on securely to the promise of God’s provision and press on as if you believe He will provide.In so doing, you break the power and pull of that temptation.
Sometimes, in the heat of temptation when you don’t feel like trusting in God’s word, reach out to a friend, even if it’s via text – “Hey man, I’m struggling, can you please pray for me? Or gimme a call and read a word of scripture to me.” Sometimes you just need backup!
Listen, this is not about waving a magic wand to make all your sins disappear, this is about DAILY wielding the sword of the spirit, the power of Holy Spirit, through the word of God, activated by faith, to take charge in your battle. No one stumbles into godliness. You have to hustle and grind, as in, DAILY, you not only resist sin, but you press into Christ, more and more, (and when you fall back in to sin), you repent and press in some more, deeper and deeper into Christ, until His Spirit within you loosens, weakens, or completely breaks the power and the hold that that sin has over your life.
You might have failed a thousands times, but listen, God’s word says in Lamentations 3:22-23 that, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new [each] and every morning;”
So, failed a thousand times? Okay. You sinned. Now, get back up. Repent. Make some changes and put some healthy boundaries around you. Then pick up the sword of the Spirit, and make WAR for the thousand-and-oneth time! Whatever you do, DO NOT STOP FIGHTING, DO NOT STOP MAKING WAR, but press on towards the prize that’s already yours in your high calling of God through Jesus Christ.