“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” — The Apostle Paul, Romans 7:15.
Christian, have you felt inadequate? Doing the things you should not do and not doing the things you should? Well, from the above quote, the Apostle Paul, writer of roughly half the New Testament had the same struggle.
As Christians, we are not sinless, yet often those around us expect us to be, and often we hold ourselves to an equally high standard. We find ourselves with the desire to do the right thing, yet many times doing the exact opposite.
Again, Paul had the same inward struggle. Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
It does not look like we should beat ourselves up too much when we fall; after all, Paul had his struggles. However, one thing can lead to another; a person cannot become an alcoholic if he never takes the first drink.
God though, hates sin, at any level; from something we deem minor to mass murder, He hates transgression.
God provides a way where we never have to sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
We do have a choice to make when temptation comes our way; we decide to sin or not to sin, to obey God or follow our direction. But, within our choice, we can rest assured that God is faithful. God is faithful because He will not place us in a situation where the temptation is greater than we can bear, and if that is not enough, every time temptation comes God will provide an out, “a way to escape.”
Three basic things cause us to fall — “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” — 1 John 2:16. God is more powerful than all three of these things put together. Christ was made sin for us, and the blood of Jesus Christ can wash away every sin.
Once we place our faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, salvation occurs, the Holy Spirit moves into our heart forevermore, and God starts working on keeping the power of temptation from being overwhelming (John 1:29; John 3:16; Revelation 1:5; Ephesians 4:30; Romans 8:9,11; 1 John 4:13; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
The key to sinning as little as possible for the Christian is to remember that “God is faithful.” He will not allow us to be tempted more than we are able to bear and with every temptation provide an avenue of escape.
Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13. Being able to recall God’s faithfulness when tempted will make it easier to say no to any temptation. The more Scripture you love and commit to memory will make sinning more difficult. Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
The near impossibility to memorize something is a stumbling block to many. Again, remember that God is faithful. As a Christian, you have the Author of the Scripture, the Holy Spirit, dwelling in your heart. You will not remember everything you read, and it will require some effort on your part, but it will be easier than you think. God will not provide a way for you to accomplish something (in this case, resisting temptation), and then make one of the steps in doing so impossible for you to do (the memorization of Scripture).
Prayer is another critical element of resisting temptation. We do things because we like to do them.
If you are continually doing something you know, God does not want you to do, ask God to make said activity disgusting to you. God hates sin, and we will not stop sinning until we hate it as well. The reason something is tempting to us is that we enjoy it. Ask God to take the enjoyment out of it for you.
Will you ever be sinless this side of heaven? No — but because of God’s faithfulness, we can strive toward that goal (1 John 1:8-9; 1 Corinthians 9:25).
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County Indiana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail: 410 S. Jefferson St., Rockville IN 47872. Pastor Johnson is available for revivals, prophecy conferences, and other speaking.