Dealing with Habitual Sin

The truth is that everyone sins and has specific “sin patterns” that we lean toward.  Maybe some of us struggle with pride, or maybe we take offense easily.  Maybe we entertain thoughts of lust, or maybe we live in a spirit of fear and overall negative thinking.  Maybe we dishonor our parents with our words and actions, or maybe we have an addiction to something – anything – other than Christ.

So many of us (maybe all of us – let’s just be frank here) pretend otherwise to those around us, even to the point that we fool ourselves into thinking that we are okay.  When the Holy Spirit illuminates our sin to us, we may very well be grieved by it, but if it is still habitual and recurring, we are unrepentant.  As “Relevant Magazine” reminded its readers recently, we so oft return to our sin like a dog returns to its vomit (Proverbs 26:11).
I have written this post to be intentionally straightforward.  This is not something to glaze over.  Sin is crippling and will always spiral out of control faster than you think it will.  We try to “ease” out of habitual sin, but Christ commands us to simply stop at once and altogether, because if you play with sin, you will lose.  (In some cases, I understand that a process may be necessary to break free.  In all cases, it requires perseverance, faith, and the desire for holiness.)
So once we recognize our heart’s sin pattern, how do we break free?  I don’t think there are “steps” per se, but there are security measures, if you will, that will help us all to honor God wholly.
  • Get yourself into the Word!  Even the devil knows that a supernatural shift happens when you ingest Scripture.  And take it a step further – talk to yourself constantly with verses that will help you overcome and stay that way.  Christians should be reflecting on Scripture day and night (Psalm 119:97).
  • Pray.  Sometimes we forget that God wants us to win in life!  If we ask for perseverance, strength, and disgust toward sin, He will give it to us (1 John 5:14-15).
  • Confess your sin to a trusted friend (James 5:16).  This is consistently ignored (out of our absolutely foolish pride) because we have bought the enemy’s lie that says we will be humiliated or shamed.  On the contrary, Heaven knows that confession leads to healing and freedom.  A godly friend will keep you accountable and encourage you!
  • Carefully guard what enters your thoughts, and be intentional about which thoughts you entertain.  The Bible is clear that all transformation starts first in our MINDS (Romans 12:2)!
  • Gain perspective.  See the bigger picture!  We have an enemy who is bloodthirsty for us… he will use whatever tactic he can to pin down God’s people and thus deliver a blow to the Kingdom of Light (Ephesians 6:12).  Don’t give him a foothold!
I believe that as God’s children, we are overcomers, and we inherit Jesus’ purity, strength, and holiness! Please don’t ignore any habitual sin in your life, and treat it very seriously.  But also treat yourself graciously.  Because our loving God keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5), we always have the grace to continue moving forward!  Every day is a new, beautiful day.
So much love,
Josh

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