Question: “What is the key to victory when struggling with sin?”
Answer:The key to victory in our struggles with sin lies not in ourselves, but in God and His faithfulness to us: “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth (Psalm 145:18; see alsoPsalm 46:1).
There’s no getting around it: we all struggle with sin (Romans 3:23). Even the great apostle Paul lamented over his ongoing struggle with sin in his life: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:18-20). Paul’s struggle with sin was real; so much so that he cried out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24).
Yet in the next breath, he answers his own question, as well as ours: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25a). In this passage, Paul not only provides us with the very key to victory when struggling with sin, but explains the never-ending conundrum between our sinful nature and spiritual nature: “So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Romans 7:25b).
Earlier, Paul said, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin” (Romans 7:14). Paul is comparing our sinful nature, our flesh, to a slave. Just as a slave obeys his master, so our flesh obeys sin. However, as believers in Christ, we have become spiritual beings under the law of Christ; our inner selves are under the influence and ownership of God’s grace and the life of Christ (Romans 5:21). As long as we are living in this world, our sinful nature and fleshly desire will remain with us. But we also have a new nature in Christ. This leads to a struggle between what we want to do and what we actually do, as sin continues to assault our earthly nature. This struggle is a normal part of living the Christian life.
It’s interesting to note that Paul, the greatest of the apostles, declared that, of all sinners, “I am the worst!” (1 Timothy 1:15). Paul affirms the struggles we all have as we battle with sin and temptation in our lives. The struggles are real, and they’re debilitating. We grow weary from the never-ending temptations and in falling short of God’s glory. Paul, in essence, is telling us that we need not pretend that we’re untouched by our struggles. He’s been there. He understands. Though our efforts to do right seem desperate, we do have hope “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25;Hebrews 4:15). And He, in fact, is the key to our victory over sin.
A true Christian will war with Satan and his daily efforts to undermine us. The devil is the ruler of this world, and we are living “behind enemy lines” (Ephesians 2:2;Ephesians 6:12;John 12:31). With our focus on Christ, however, we will be able to cultivate a mindset that proclaims we’d rather die than do anything to hurt God. When we give ourselves to Christ totally (Matthew 16:24), Satan will flee from us. When we draw near to God, He, in turn, will draw near to us (James 4:7-8).
Our key to victory in our struggle with sin lies in the very promise of God Himself: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
As true believers in Christ, even when we “face trials far beyond our ability to endure” (2 Corinthians 1:8), we can echo the reassuring words of Paul, who declares, “God has delivered us and will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Finally, the psalmist gives us these words of encouragement: “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act” (Psalm 37:3-5).
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From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. What part of “no” do you not understand? Or better yet: What part of “do not” do you not understand? Who said those words? It’s probably not the person you thought it was.
The phrase got a wider audience when it was used as the title of a popular country music song in 1992 recorded by Lorrie Morgan:
What part of no don’t you understand?
To put it plain and simple
I’m not into one night stands
I’ll be glad to explain it
If it’s too hard to comprehend
So tell me what part of no
Don’t you understand?
There are other versions of this question, such as: NO MEANS NO! Or no thanks. Or no way, Hosea! Never. Nix. Not at all. Not on your life, etc.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. What did John mean?
Billy Graham is quoted as saying: “Our interests are in ourselves. We are preoccupied with material things. Our supreme god is technology. Our goddess is sex. Most of us are more interested in getting to the moon than getting to heaven. We are more dedicated to material security than to inward purity. We give much more thought to what we wear, what we eat, what we drink, and what we can do than what we are….”
He was right. We all have our worldly side or worldly desires that often capture our attention more than God or Christ.
II Timothy 4:10 “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.”
If Demas fell in love with his world then we can do it too. In fact, I think it’s a whole lot easier today to fall in love with the things of this world than it was for Demas. WE HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH!
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
God said clearly, “Don’t love the world. If you do, my love is not in you.” Wow! When and where do we cross the fence from loving God to loving the world? God knows and we all need to find out.
What is so bad about the world that we are told not to love it? Why is the world so evil?
1- The lust of the flesh
2- The lust of the eyes
3- The pride of life
I. THE LUST OF THE FLESH
For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
This worldly temptation deals with the fleshly appetites: food, sex, excess in various ways, etc.
Jackson Brown Jr. (American author best-known for his book Life’s Little Instruction Book which was a New York Times bestseller) said: I’ve learned that if you give a pig and a boy everything they want, you’ll get a good pig and a bad boy.
If we got everything we wanted in this world, we’d be in trouble.
A man said: While my wife and I were shopping at a mall kiosk, a shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by. My eyes followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining, my wife asked, “Was it worth the trouble you’re in?” This is just one temptation of this verse.
May and I enjoy watching TV’s DANCING WITH THE STARS. We have often commented on the dress of both the men and the women, but mainly the women and the lack thereof! Some of those professional female dancers don’t like to wear much clothing. I assume they think it enhances their dance, but in reality, it may only enhance the judges’ eye!
If we’re normal, we all can be tempted with the lust of the flesh. If we were put in the wrong place at the right time most of us would fall. We may be guilty anyway.
Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ’Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
The lust of the flesh deals with others things too.
Did you know there is a new Sonic drive-in on Cajalco road just down the street fromone of the houses I used to own? I know this probably does nothing for you but it does for me! They had a daily special while back which I liked very much. It’s a chicken strip basket with french fries, a cup of white cream gravy, a piece of toast, one delicious onion ring and a drink of your choice for only $4.31.
Again, I know that this might not turn your crank but it does mine. I happened to like chicken strips and these are just about as good as I’ve ever had. The fries are good. The gravy is good. The toast is ok but better when it’s dipped in the gravy.
WE DO LOVE OUR FOOD! We all love some kind of food. In fact, sometimes we love it too much!
Do you eat to live or live to eat? Many people live to eat food and many times a day. And living to eat could well be a part of the lust of flesh, especially, if it controls us.
Did you read about that 600 lb. woman who wants to weight 1,000 lbs.? Donna Simpson, 42, of Old Bridge, N.J., already tips the scales at 600 ounds but says she won’t be satisfied until she’s up to 1,000 – to grab the title of world’s fattest woman. She eats 12,000 calories a day!
Philippians 3:18-19 “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.”
I don’t think we want to be categorized with the enemies of the cross! However, we can become something of an enemy to the Lord if we allow the lust of the flesh to control us!
II. THE LUST OF THE EYES
For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
A gentleman mugger has been jailed despite his elderly victim’s pleas for him to be let off because he was so polite. The pensioner told the court in Salzburg, Austria, that she had not come across such a well mannered criminal for a long time.
The man grabbed the old woman’s bag and ran off but returned when he noticed she had fallen to the ground. “When he saw me fall, he came back. Criminals just don’t do that any more,” she said. “He was very neat and well mannered and asked me not to report him. He said he was really sorry, but was just desperate for money,” she told the court.
The 27-year-old, who has not been named, then helped his victim search for her keys which had fallen out when he grabbed the bag. Police arrested the well mannered mugger after being called out by a passer-by who had witnessed the incident. He was jailed for two-and-a-half years despite the pensioner’s testimony after it was revealed it was not his first offense.
INTERESTING STORY. We all know that stealing is wrong and stealing is a matter of lust of the eyes. It’s the idea that we want what someone has and if we can’t get it by paying for it, we might steal it. SOME WOULD.
The lust of the eyes deals with money and materialism. Both grab our hearts and minds. Some people live for making money and others live to spend money…that is, on material things. Both are the lust of the eyes. Some hoard and some spend.
Most of my life I’ve been spender. I’ve been spender out of necessity: food, clothing, shelter, transportation. However, there have been times when I’ve spent and didn’t need to spend or didn’t really have the money. THAT’S THE LUST OF THE EYES. Buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. Or something like that.
A few years ago I was on a Corvette kick, that is, I thought if I could find a decent Corvette for a decent price it would be a decent thing for me to have! But I never did find one. Most are far too expensive. To buy a 1997 to 2004 Corvette will cost around $20,000 up to $35,000. And that sort of killed it for me.
Occasionally, a person might fall into a good deal. My friend Michael Best didn’t tell me about a good deal on a beautiful Red Corvette in his town of Oxen Hill Maryland. I was sick when he told me about it since I missed out on it.
I think it was a 1998 model, in excellent condition, with only about 50,000 miles on it. He said it sold for around $15,000. Had Mike told me about it I probably would have drove asap to Maryland and bought it.
I am now thankful I didn’t buy it, because I want to be a better steward with the Lord’s money, meaning what He has given me.
The lust for either gaining money, making money, and keeping money OR spending money on material things that we don’t need is the lust of the eyes. And it’s also idol worship!
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I Timothy 6:6-10 “6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
III. THE PRIDE OF LIFE
16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. THE MESSAGE reads: wanting to appear important.
The pride of life deals with or can deal with fame. Most of us will never be tempted this amount of pride, because we’re just not that talented. We’ll never make it in Hollywood but some have
and we wonder what happened to their faith.
I think Denzel Washington is a good actor. Did you know that his daddy was a gospel preacher? Denzel Washington was born in Mount Vernon, near New York City, in 1954. His mother, Lennis, was a beauty parlor-owner and operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem.
His father, Reverend Denzel Washington, Sr., was an ordained Pentecostal minister and also worked for the Water Department and at a local department store, “S. Klein”
Washington and his wife, Pauletta of 26 years, attend the same church as actress Angela Bassett at LA’s West Angeles Church of God.
Washington’s big break came when he starred in the popular television hospital drama, St. Elsewhere from 1982 to 1988. He was one of a few actors to appear on the series for its entire six-year run.
In 2000, Washington appeared in the Disney film, Remember the Titans, which grossed over $100 million at the United States box office. AND he was nominated and won an Oscar for Best Actor for his next film, the 2001 cop thriller, Training Day, as Det. Alonzo Harris, a rogue LAPD cop with questionable law-enforcement tactics.
As far as I am concerned, Denzel Washington went downhill when he played in that movie (and some others) because of the horrible language that he used or had to use to do the part. That makes me think less of Denzel Washington as a Christian man.
And it also makes me think that he did it for money and fame, which is a part of loving the world. And I don’t want to be too hard on him, because if I were in his shoes I might be far worse! Let the truth be told I was in worse shoes than his, I compromised in the worse way in falling in love with the world. I probably still do when it comes to living my life by these new standards, but we have to immediately repent and stand for righteousness when conviction hits the mind and heart.
Fame or attention can come in many areas or arenas even if we are not in Hollywood.
I think many preachers are tempted in this area, particularly those in large churches or are in TV. These preachers get a lot of attention and adulation and praise. And pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
However, we all can be tempted in this area when we do something good and we are praised or patted for it. We like attention but IF IT’S GOOD, IT’S FROM THE LORD. Even when it seemingly comes from us. He alone is the author of good in our lives.
I Peter 5:5-6 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
All of us can fall into the sin of pride, desire for fame, desire for praise and accolades.
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
One time a man said at a church meeting, “Mr. Chairman, I move that we move the world.” Instead of letting the world grab us, we need to move the world by living the Christian life, by letting our lights shine, and by preaching the gospel of Christ!
Instead of being in love with the world, we need to be in love with the God who created and the Savior who died for us. This world will pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever. How’s that for a deal? Do not love the world!