It’s the end of another year, and too many of us are wrestling with the same sin issues we faced at the beginning of this year. Another 12 months have passed, and we’re still losing the battle. If that’s where you are, take some risks to do something different in 2018:
- Be honest: admit that the sin controls you. Until we admit reality and take responsibility for it, we’ll not find victory. Don’t be afraid to confess your idolatry, as that’s what continual sin is.
- Make sure the rest of your spiritual walk is in order. I know it sounds basic, but we can’t separate victory from hearing God through His Word and talking to Him in prayer. It’s hard to break sins of commission when we’re committing sins of omission.
- Decide in faith that 2018 will be different. If you’ve already decided that you’re never going to overcome this temptation, you can rest assured nothing’s going to change. Faith must trust and believe in the God who changes us.
- Confess your sin to somebody that matters. Everyone matters, of course, but sometimes we limit our confession to somebody who (a) is losing the same battle or (b) has no spiritual influence in our life. Talk to your pastor or your small group leader. Or your spouse.
- Get somebody else to fight the battle beside you. If you’re fighting your sin issue alone, you’re not likely to win. God designed us to need other people – like those who know our weaknesses, love us anyway, and hold us accountable.
- Pray every day the way Jesus taught us to pray about temptation: BEFORE the temptation comes (Matt. 6:13). If you pray about temptation only after you’ve lost the battle, you’ve missed the point about what Jesus said. Ask God to guard you from the enemy’s arrows before he launches them.
- Take any and all needed steps to overcome the sin. Jesus was using hyperbole when He said to gouge out your eye and cut off your hand if necessary (Matt. 5:29-30), but His point was clear: half-hearted efforts to defeat sin won’t work.
- Thank God for every moment and day of victory. Rejoice as the Spirit empowers you to say, “no.” Praise God each time you walk away from the temptation. Worship Him.
- If you do fall, don’t settle in the sin. Confess it. Trust God to forgive you. And immediately get back on the path of obedience.
I pray that 2018 will be different for you.