Updated: Apr 3
***Before we get into the article, I have an announcement! I submitted an article to therebelution.com, they accepted it, and it's going to be published this Friday, April 1st. It's about how God cares for His children (us) and I'll link to it once it's out!***
“I’m a Christian, and I’m supposed to be set free from sin… so why do I keep sinning?
“Isn’t sin supposed to be less tempting now that I’m a Christian? Why do I still fall prey to it?"
“Christians are supposed to be like Jesus, but I’m not like Him because I keep sinning. Am I even saved?”
All of these are legitimate questions. All of these are questions that Christians, maybe even you, may wonder. I know I’ve wondered about them at times.
Your struggle with sin doesn’t mean you are a ‘bad’ Christian or aren’t saved. There are no good or bad Christians--all Christians have sinned and need to be reconciled with God (Romans 3:23).
You aren’t any less of a Christian if you struggle with sin. The fact that you’re struggling with sin actually shows you are a Christian. If you are actively trying to combat sin, that’s great. It means you don’t want to sin. It means you’re headed in the right direction.
If you don’t want to sin, but you’re not necessarily trying to combat it and feel regret because of it, your regret is also a step in the right direction. Feeling remorse for our sin leads us to repent of our sin, which is something we need to do before we can overcome it.
There was no guarantee in the Bible that when you became a Christian, Satan would stop tempting you. But there was a guarantee that God’s Spirit would be with you and help you in the trials you go through. In Acts, it says that the Spirit lives in and guides Christians. It also says that the Spirit has tremendous power!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Even if you’ve already been told all of these things, it can be hard not to doubt them. If you feel as if you are struggling with the same sin over and over, it can feel defeating. Know that you’re not alone. All of us struggle with sin at one point in our lives, though some people’s struggles may be more visible than others’.
Maybe you know your struggle with sin is legitimate, but you’re unsure of how to win the battle against sin. How do you overcome sin?
The answer is simple: you can’t - at least not on your own. Jesus can overcome sin, though. In fact, the blood of Jesus has already overcome the power of death and sin. And if you have faith in Him, His sacrifice covers your sin.
Jesus is the only one who has lived a sinless life, though he was tempted in many of the same ways we are. Satan tempted Jesus in Matthew 4, telling Him to prove His power.
Satan preyed on Jesus when He was at His lowest--Jesus had been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty susceptible to sin if I was as hungry as I imagine Jesus was.
But get this - Jesus resisted temptation by leaning on God’s Word. When Satan told Jesus to prove Himself and twisted Scripture, Jesus defended Himself with the correct interpretation of Scripture.
Knowing the Word allowed Jesus to recognize right from wrong, and since His desire to please the Father outweighed His desire to exalt Himself, He obeyed God’s Word. Relying on God’s Word was likely how Jesus said ‘no’ to sin every time He was tempted.
Since Jesus was able to live a life without sin, His ways of resisting sin must have been pretty reliable. And there must be a way for us to follow those same techniques. After all, Jesus told many people to “go and sin no more" (John 5:14, John 8:11). He wouldn’t command that if there was no way to accomplish it.
Jesus’ instructions are in the Bible, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Jesus, though He was without sin, still considered the Word of God necessary to His life. How much more necessary is it to our lives?
The Holy Spirit inspired the Words of the Bible, which makes the Bible perfect. The instructions in the Bible can help us say “no” to sin.
The Bible is effective if you read it, but even more effective if you actively seek ways to apply it to your life. Would you read an instruction manual and never consider applying what it said? Do you think people give sermons or teach lessons for you to simply nod your head in agreement, or you to take the things they said and use them to shift your life?
In the same way, we shouldn’t passively read the Bible, but we should seek to apply its instructions.
Prayer is another thing that can help us say ‘no’ to sin. The Bible shows that Jesus considered prayer important in His time on Earth--He set aside time for it, making it a priority.
Through prayer, we can talk to our Savior anytime we want. We can ask Him for advice, to lead the way, and show us how to overcome sin. Why wouldn’t we pray when it’s so powerful?
What sin have you been struggling with? Ask Jesus to overcome it in your life. This isn’t a passive prayer of “Please fix it, Jesus,” that makes everything turn out all right. Jesus will fix sin in your life, but you have to be willing to follow and obey Him.
Are you willing?