Thursday, June 17, 2010

Make WAR against your sin...

How do we fight against sin?  We name it for what it is.  We need to recover a Holy hatred for sin.  Here in a world that is ever-increasingly hostile towards Christianity we need to see sin for what it is.  That is pride.  Pride that tells us that we know better than God and prompts us to choose our own way over His.

An inadequate view of your own sinfulness is spiritually debilitating.  So I want to give you some practical and Biblical principles that will aid you as you grow in Holiness and as things inevitably tempt you or test your faith.

1.) Don’t underestimate the seriousness of your own sin.  This is the very reason that most people tolerate sin in their lives and give in to temptations.  If they saw sin as God sees sin, they could not continue to live indifferently to it.

Sin violates God’s holiness, it brings His discipline, it destroys our joy, and it causes death.  Jeremiah Burroughs said that “even the smallest sin contains more evil than all the torments of Hell.”

The more you understand your own sin, the more you will appreciate God’s grace and the more you’ll treasure Christ.

2.) Purpose in your heart not to sin.  Daniel 1:8 - But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; …

Daniel’s refusal to eat the King’s food had nothing to do with the consumption of rich food or wine.  There were two problems with the King’s menu.

1.) It must have included foods that were restricted by Mosaic Law.

2.) The meat had probably been dedicated to idols and false Babylonian gods.  To eat it would be to recognize or confess that you believe in those idols.

Daniel chose to let God be his influence.  He purposed in his heart that he would trust in God and not the world.  So many times the world offers what people think is best when in reality it is only more distractions and deceptions from Satan.

Daniel was influences by what he had learned from the Word of God.  He knew that what the world offered would defile him and so he chose to trust the Lord even though it would go against all popular opinion and open him up for persecution.

Look at what Ephesians 4:17-24 tells us about how a right influence of Christ helps us respond to testing and temptation.  So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,  18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;  19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.  20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,  21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,  22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,  23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,  24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

You need to make a solemn vow in your heart to oppose all sin in your life.  All temptation.  One of my favorite Christian Hip-Hop songs is called ‘Make War’ by Tedashii.  In it he talks about our walk with Christ being walked in obedience to Christ.  Making war against lust, pride, hate… all sin in our lives.

Psalm 119:106 - I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.

Unless you have that serious a determination in your life, you will find that becoming entangled in sin will be a very easy thing to do.

In fact, it is that type of boldness and earnest heart that is at the root of all holy living.  Until you make that kind of conscious commitment to following Christ, you’re going to continue to battle the same sins over and over and over.

3.) Don’t rely on your own strength for this, but God’s.  To truly pursue holiness requires that we take action on what we’ve purposed in our hearts.  Any action we take must be taken in the power of and under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot rely on our own strength.

We are called to mortify our sin.  It is the painful and effective discipline of rooting out and putting to death sin in our lives.

Romans 8:12-13 - So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—  13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Colossians 3:5 - Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

You need to resist the first hint of an evil desire.  Don’t toy with sin.  James 1:15 - Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

The time to stop sin is at its conception, not after it has been born grown legs and is running rampant through your life.

1 Peter 2:11-12 - Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Proverbs 3:5-8 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.  7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  8 It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.

God blesses obedience.  Not necessarily with financial prosperity or calm existence, but with refreshment and an unexplainable joy and peace in our soul that can only come from trusting in Jesus as our Living Hope!  A peace and hope that we can only have in Jesus because our sins, our infinite transgressions against a Holy God, have been forgiven and that we will one day be with Him in Glory even though life on earth will be hard.

1.) Let Christ be your image that you pursue.  Colossians 1:27 - to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

2.) Live by one standard, the standard of God.  We find that standard in His Word.  Daily check your life out against the Scriptures and pray that God continue to renew and transform you. 

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