I believe that it is God’s desire that we are completely free from the power sin holds over us! We do not have to remain a slave to sin forever. There is freedom. We understand the need to surrender to the Lord, it’s a simple solution, but why is that so hard?
Galatians 5:16 (ESV) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
I love how the New Living Translations puts verse 17
Galatians 5:17 (NLT) The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
The struggle we face is to stay surrendered throughout every moment of every day. To do this we must have faith. If we don’t really believe God has set us free then it is impossible, but God has set us free and it is possible!
I think one key to staying surrendered is digging into His Word and really studying the living Word of God! We don’t like the word “study” because it reminds us of school and work, but the study of God’s word should be something we delight in. I love Psalm 119 because it’s all about a love for the instruction from God!
Psalm 119:1-3 (NLT) Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
Don’t you want to be joyful? There is joy in being a man or woman of integrity! It’s so wonderful when who you say you are and who you actually are when no one is around are the same person. It’s such a joy to obey the Lord.
Psalm 119:9-11 (NLT) How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
His word is amazing! And it is through His life giving word illuminated by the Holy Spirit that we are able to overcome sin! His word also gives us another piece of crucial advice for walking in freedom from sin.
1 John 1:5-7 (NLT) This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
I mentioned this on Monday in Overcoming Sin, we are NOT in the fight alone. We all want to be strong, but the fight against sin isn’t won by strength, but surrender and that means coming clean. Living in the light is hard because it means all your mess is exposed. It’s a humbling experience, but until it is out in the open it still holds power over you. However, once light is shining in the darkest parts of your life you can truly begin to deal with it and you’re not alone.
The fight against sin is best fought within the context of community and accountability. We all need people in our lives that we can be brutally honest with. People who can ask us the tough questions and pray with us when we stumble.
Maybe you’re thinking that sounds nice, but you don’t have anyone in your life you feel close enough to be that real with. Can I gently encourage you seek someone out. Find a spiritual leader or someone in your church you look up to, someone you know you can trust and ask them to lunch and choose to become vulnerable. You need this. We all need this.
We are sometimes hesitant because we fear judgement. We don’t want to disappoint people, or have them think less of us. Listen, take my word for it as a Pastor, we won’t think less of you, but more of you. It is so much better to humble yourself and come clean than it is to keep on struggling and carrying around the burden of your sin. Bring it into the light and begin to walk in freedom.
One final advice to help in your journey to overcome sin.
Don’t give up.
It doesn’t always happen over night, but if you purpose in your heart to keep studying God’s word. Keep praying and pressing in. Keep being honest with your your accountability partners, you will find strength in the Lord to walk in the victory Jesus won on the cross.