The struggle of sin
Paul calls our sinful nature stubborn. He explains that whenever he wants to do something, he ends up doing the opposite. The evil he doesn’t want to do comes easier than walking in holiness. Paul confesses that his inner nature delights in the law of God. It desires holiness, but a struggle exists between remaining sinless and fulfilling the desires of the sinful nature (Romans 7: 13-20). This struggle is still present in many, if not all, lives of believers. Paul’s letter to the church in Rome reminds us that the battle is something to be expected. No one can free themselves from the hold of sinful nature. When Christians don’t appreciate this truth, they will try many methods to solve sin but fail every time.
Romans 6:6-7 “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.”
When Jesus died on the cross, we also died with Him. His death on the cross broke the power of sin in our lives. A dead man is not able to sin. The sin of lust, anger, and any other sin was crucified with us on the cross. We do not have to live in sin because the cross achieved victory over sin. Unfortunately, many misunderstand what this means, and when we are faced with temptation, we quickly resolve to fight to our own ability.
Surrender to Jesus
Many Christians begin with a sincere desire to obey God. They are excited to put effort into obeying and following Jesus faithfully. As this struggle continues, the believer drowns in doubt and does not know what else to do. They end up feeling that they are not asking God strongly enough. The frustration results in a lack of peace and hopelessness. Many of us fail to understand that after we “died” on the cross, we were also resurrected with Jesus. And it is Him who lives in us. Therefore, if we can let Jesus live His life through us, we will see victory over any kind of sin in our lives. When we surrender to Jesus, then we can fight the battle fully dependent on Him.
A rich man built a five-room house and settled in the estate alone. Every night a thief would come and beat him up. The man tried to fight back by all means, but it was futile. One day he heard people talking about a man who kept others safe. The name of the security expert was Jesus. He found him and hired his services. When he brought him home, he got access to one of the rooms and asked him to fulfill his task faithfully. At night the thief came again and beat up the man. The tycoon woke up furious at his new employee. However, Jesus quickly responded, ” I protected the room that you gave me access to. The other four rooms were protected by you. ” How many of us are fighting a losing battle because Jesus is not at the wheel?
How does sin grow?
Sin starts with temptation through the spirit of lust. In the garden of Eden, Eve desired to be clever than God. When the enemy presented the opportunity to fulfill her desires, Adam and Eve sinned. The bible records that Adam was present when the devil was wooing Eve. It means if we are not careful, we too can fall into the trap of Satan.
A small boy is tempted to steal cookies when he desires to eat the pastries. The temptation comes when he knows that the cookies are hidden in the cupboard. This is the first stage of sinning. At the stage of temptation, the sin has not been committed. Jesus was tempted, and you also will be tempted. But He lived righteously despite the temptations. It is after we fail the temptation that we sin. We sin when we act and yield to temptation. After his mom’s cookies, the small boy now acts on the desire and commits the sin of stealing. This is the second stage of our fall.
Thirdly, sin has wages. There is payment for every effort and labor put in. Paul in Romans writes, The wages of sin is death, and God’s gift is eternal life (Romans 6:23). With sin, you get what you deserve. All sinners, without exceptions, deserve death. Instead, God offers the alternative, what we can not earn. A gift of grace and eternal life. We receive this gift in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
Death refers to our spiritual separation from God. Isaiah rhetorically asks, “do you think God’s hand is too short to save you?”. He answers the question by letting us know that only our iniquities can separate us from God. The young boy in our story now has to face the punishment of stealing. In conclusion, when our evil desire meets an opportunity to act on our impulses, we sin. When we sin, we receive the wages of death- we are separated from God’s presence. Adam and Eve got a taste of death after eating the forbidden fruit. God chased them out of the garden of Eden. God wants to have a beautiful fellowship with you. He has promised that nothing will harm us if we stay surrendered to Him.
Through our baptism into Jesus, we have overcome the power of sin. Paul encouraged the believers in Colossae to put to death their sinful members (Colossians 3:5). Let us look at some practical ways we can put to death the sinful deeds of our bodies.
- Resist the Devil
Our first response is drawing near to God as we resist the devil. Moving our hearts closer and closer to God illuminates His love toward us. The more we know His love, the more we can effectively resist every temptation the enemy throws at us. The devil flees when we resist him. (James 4). Satan mostly preys on believers who are full of self-doubt and don’t know their place in Christ, and thankfully Scripture says that God has put all things under His feet and He will crush Satan shortly.
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father but are from this world.
1 John 2:16
The devil can not conquer a resisting believer. Strong and cunning as he might be, he scampers when a believer resists him. Your God-given mission now is to reinforce the victory already won and to demonstrate just how miserably defeated Satan already is!
2. Using the word as a weapon
When Satan tempted Jesus, He did not engage him in an argument. He rebuked the enemy by direct resistance. Jesus knew that the word of God is the sword of the spirit. Physical battles are waged with physical weapons, but spiritual battles require spiritual weapons to win. The weapons we use against the devil are not carnal. It is not our eloquence, our tone, or our ability to withstand pressure. Our weapon is the word of God.
The adversary may try to lord himself over you or harm your life. However, he is simply instilling fear in your mind through empty threats and deception. He doesn’t want you to use the weapon of God’s word. The bible tells us not to provide him a foothold he can use to gain greater access. We can only do this through surrendering to the word of God. God’s word, once sent, must accomplish the purpose for which He sent it. Never forget that the only legitimate place for the devil is right under your feet! Jesus accomplished a total, complete, and perfect work through the Cross of Calvary and His resurrection from the dead.
3. Our love for God exceeding Our love for sin
Many among us think that we can only overcome sin through legalism. Do not do this and do this kind of lifestyle. Legalism may work for a short time, but we would get tired. However, the love of God is able to compel us to stop living for ourselves and live incessantly for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
Our love for Christ is sufficient to break the power of our sinful nature at its foundation. God uses his love to expel sin in us. We are able to tap into this supernatural power when we remain rooted and grounded firmly in Him. You will be more than a conqueror through Him who loves us if you hang your entire faith-weight exactly here on His love.