I work with teenagers, which means I get asked a lot of questions.
“How far is too far?”
“South Park isn’t all that bad, is it?”
“Am I old enough to date?”
And the big one:
“How do I stop sinning?”
I’ve been a Christian for almost ten years now. And from all of my time spent in the bible, all of the thousands of sermons I’ve heard, and the countless books I’ve read, I have managed to condense all of the teaching on the subject of overcoming sin into two simple guidelines.
Want to overcome sin in your life once and for all?
1. Stop looking for steps to overcoming sin
We often think that there is some secret we have not yet learned, some rule that has not yet been given, some work that has not yet been performed, that is the key to unlocking victorious living. When we look for something new, we take our eyes off of what has already been done.
While hanging on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” That means the work has already been done. Jesus isn’t going to come back and do something extra to help you. It isn’t necessary. Grace is more than sufficient for all of our needs. Everything we could ever need was paid for on the cross.
Which leads us to step two.
2. Stop sinning
It might sound too good to be true, but it really is that simple. Just stop sinning.
Do you remember what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery?
“Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
As far as He was concerned, she was more than capable of ending her sinful lifestyle. And she didn’t even have the Holy Spirit living within her. How much more capable should you be?
The fact is, every time you or I sin it’s because we made a conscientious decision to do so. Sure, the devil may have dangled the carrot in front of us, but you choose to reach for it. And guess what? God already told us how to overcome satan:
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
We also need to stop blaming our “sinful nature.” After all, God said the sinful nature has already been dealt with:
“Know this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans 6:6)
That means there isn’t a little guy inside of you forcing you against your will to do a bunch of things you don’t want to do. We like to think that there is, so that we are able to sidestep any personal responsibility for our actions. But that little guy inside you who supposed to be pulling all of the strings? The bible says he was crucified. That means dead. Isn’t that a relief? Your sinful nature has been killed off.
So… you can’t blame the devil… you can’t blame the sinful nature… I guess that just leaves you.
You already have everything you need to overcome sin in your life. There isn’t some special formula you need to discover to rid yourself of sin once and for all. There also isn’t something important you need to do. All you need to do is accept that Christ’s work was sufficient, and choose to live it out.
When we claim that we need something new or something more to overcome sin in our life, our words betray our lack of faith. Grace is a complete work; there is nothing more to do. And when we say otherwise, what we are really saying is that we don’t really believe that Jesus was able to free us. When we make excuses, what we are really saying is that Jesus wasn’t enough.
So there you have it. The only two steps you will ever need to overcome sin in your life.
- Stop looking for steps to overcoming sin
- Stop sinning
You already have the power. You have already been given the authority. Right now, you have the ability to stop sinning once and for all. That’s what God said. Just believe that He meant what He said, and start living it.
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
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