Struggling against sin seems like an uphill battle. We take a step forward only to take two back. We struggle with the same sins over and over. Sometimes believers think they can either fully remove the battle of sin from their lives, or they think there can be little or no progress against the habits that tempt them daily. Yet, God’s Word shows a much more realistic vision of how to battle sin in our lives. Here are five blessings God gives us to help us fight sin:
1. Abide in prayer.
Praying to God—asking for his mercy and aid—is the surest way to resist temptation. Prayerfulness attaches one’s heart and mind to Christ Jesus through wonderful conversation with God, for without his Spirit we have no hope to succeed. Prayer pushes the temptations to sin out of the mind by helping us direct our thoughts to praising, loving, and pleasing God (1 Thess. 5:16–18; Matt. 26:41).
2. Abide in God’s Word.
God’s Word is the only sure, steadfast rock upon which to build the house of life. Without God’s revelation in the Bible, we will never know what the will of God is for us and how Christ has saved us from the guilt and power of sin in our lives. His Spirit is a down payment affirming we have been granted power to flee sin (Eph. 6:10–20; James 4:7).
3. Abide with God’s people.
People need each other for their growth in sanctification. God uses elders, ministers, older Christians, and a diverse community of faith to be examples for us, showing us the way to go and how to fight sin. We need each other more than we realize. No person is a rock or island. People can build their friends up or tear them down (Heb. 13:1–17; Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 15:33).
4. Abide in faith.
Faith in the promises of God is necessary for the strength to battle sin and temptation. Without the promises of the gospel, any attempt at holiness is futile. When acting from personal strength, pride and vanity arise in the place of former sin. Only faith in the gospel’s promises humbles and strengthens us for the battle we face daily (John 15; James 1:2–6).
5. Abide in virtue.
Walking in the path of virtue trains the heart for future virtue. It may seem counterintuitive, but practicing virtue, even from impure motives, is good and necessary. A heart that trains itself in holiness is strengthened by the Spirit to continue in the way of Christ when temptations speak to our hearts. When the heart is filled with gratitude, it will be more difficult to listen to the lies of the devil concerning God’s goodness to us (James 1:16–27; 2:14–26; 3:13–4:10). God sent his Son to free us from slavery to sin and grow us in holiness. Rejoice that sin no longer has the power to rule over you, since you belong to Christ!
The more empty and hollow we feel inside, the stronger the guards we place to keep others from finding out who we really are.