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How To Win Against Sin

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The Purpose of This Page

First, we wish to state up front that we do not believe that this will be a very popular page. Most people are afraid that we will advise them to stop doing something that they want to do. Actually, that will not be the case. We created this page for those people who write in to us (and there are quite a number of them) who want help in dropping a sinful habit. For those people, this page will provide the direction that they seek.

The Struggle

Any person living in this world knows what it is like to struggle with sin. The key to winning against sin starts at the foundation. One of the things we discovered over the years is that some of the people who believed they were Christians later discovered that they were not right with God after all. Therefore, we recommend carefully reviewing our “Getting Right With God” page first, and making sure that your foundation is in place. (Although at first glance many people think they already know most of the material, careful reading later reveals that they were never taught one or two points. This writer can personally attest that even after attending church for years and “being certain” that I was a saved Christian, later discovering and applying a few additional things made a big difference.) It is well worth the few minutes it takes to review the page.

The Guarantee

That said, one key is in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

This was written to people who had gotten right with God, and guarantees their ability to overcome sin.

Is This Really A Sin?

Another key is determining whether something is really sin. To determine if something is a sin for you, we advise asking yourself the following four questions:

  1. Does the Bible say that it is a sin? If the answer is yes, you need go no further—it is a sin.
  2. Does my conscience say that it is a sin? This is what we call a “matter of conscience.” Romans 14:1-15.6 (chapter 14 verse 1 through chapter 15 verse 6) discusses matters of conscience and uses food as an example. If people ask themselves “am I doing wrong?” in the first place, we suspect that their conscience is telling them that it probably is a sin for them.
  3. Will my participation in this activity cause other believers to “stumble?” Again, this is discussed in the Romans 14:1-15:6 passage.
  4. Will my participation in this activity hinder people’s perception of Christians? That is, will your behavior cause people to have a false view of Christianity? If it does, it is a sin for you.

    Note: Question 4 does not imply that you must wear the right clothing, hairstyle, and so forth to please everyone. It means that an “average” person must not perceive your behavior as being sinful. For example, you may think it is OK to tell a “little white lie” in a certain situation. This would be considered sinful in the eyes of a non-Christian, who would then use your example to classify other Christians as a bunch of lying hypocrites.

So What Do We Do?

The next key is asking yourself: do I really want to stop sinning? Everything hinges on your honest answer to this question. For example, some people may state, “I would do anything to improve my health.” Then, they avoid serious exercise and eat food loaded with fat, sugar, and salt. In this example, their actions betray what their heart (or mind) really wants. It is at this point that you must know that unless you really want to change, you will not have good results.

That said, there are several specific things you can do to avoid sin:

  1. Avoid “on-ramps” to the sin with which you struggle. For example, if you do not use an on-ramp to a freeway, you will not have an accident on the freeway. A real-life example of a sinful “on-ramp” is going to lunch alone with a co-worker, friend, or neighbor of the opposite sex.

  2. Make a vow to God.

  3. Memorize scripture relating to your sin that will help you. (See Isaiah chapter 55, verses 10 and 11 and Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12.) Some examples that apply to various sins include:

    • 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 11 and 12 (physical lusts)
    • Proverbs chapter 6, verses 32-35; Matthew chapter 5, verses 27 and 28; 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 18-20; and Hebrews chapter 13, verse 4 (adultery and sexual immorality)
    • Proverbs chapter 13, verse 3; chapter 15, verses 1 and 2; chapter 18, verses 6 and 7; chapter 21, verse 23; and chapter 29, verse 20 (mouth sin)
    • Proverbs chapter 22, verses 24 and 25; Matthew chapter 5 verse 22; and Ephesians chapter 4, verses 26 and 27 (anger)
    • Galatians chapter 5, verses 19-21 and Ephesians chapter 5, verses 3-7 (various)

    Plus some “positive” verses that help you follow God:

    • Psalm 119, verse 11
    • 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Although too long for many people to memorize, it is a short chapter and reading it every day for a month will benefit you greatly.
    • Galatians chapter 5, verses 22 and 23
    • Colossians chapter 3, verses 1-3

  4. Establish a “sentence against an evil deed.” It is easy to sin when we do not have to pay a penalty right away (see Ecclesiastes chapter 8, verse 11). Therefore, establish a “penalty” for every time you sin. For example:

    • A monetary penalty. Donate an extra $50 to a church every time you use an “on-ramp.”
    • Confession. Tell your transgression to your spouse, pastor, Bible study group, etc. every time you stumble.
    • Remove some privileges every time you use an “on-ramp.” Take away something you like: no TV for a week, stay off the Internet for a week, and so forth.
    • Volunteer some work. Every time you sin, volunteer an hour helping in your church, with a youth group, etc. beyond what you normally do.

Please realize that this is a relatively brief discussion of this subject. We hope that is all you needed! Still, if you would like to learn more, we also have the complete seminar dealing with this topic entitled “How To Win Against Sin,”. It is available on DVD and VHS video (NTSC format). If you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can get one directly from the church that produces them at the Tucson Community Church website. They also handle international orders.

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Copyright © 2001 by Clarifying Christianity (SM).
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

All information contained in Clarifying Christianity is a resource for questions dealing with Christian issues. It is not to be taken as Christian counseling. Seek a qualified Christian counselor for help with all such issues. If you choose to work with a Christian counselor, it is your responsibility to ask pertinent questions before you begin, to assure yourself of their qualities and abilities.