Theme of the Week: Christ Formed in You
Bible Verse: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5 ESV
Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:17; Philippians 3:12-14; Colossians 3:5; Romans 8:13
Lots of us think we can tame sin. We may think we have evil under control, that we have tamed sin, rendering it harmless enough to share a peaceful, mutual coexistence. But sin will never be domesticated. It is a wolf, not dog, piranha, not a goldfish. Evil is untameable. It is our enemy—opposed to us in every way. At every moment, sin is wired to destroy.
Killing sin, involves the habitual rejection of sinful desires, motives, thoughts, and habits in our lives. If we are to kill sin we must oppose it consistently. We must habitually fight its impulses and make every effort to weaken its power over us. The following three strategies are not exhaustive, but I believe they will be helpful.
1. Yield Yourself to God
The denial of self-rule for God’s rule is square one in the fight against sin. As Jesus himself said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Putting sin to death starts here.
2. Aim at the Heart
Sin is a heart matter, not just a problem of behavior. Stomping on the fruit of sin—the sinful behavior itself—won’t kill the tree. If we focus only on sinful behavior and not on the motives and desires that generate the behavior, we will become hypocrites and fail to grow in holiness.
3. Replace Sin with Grace
Repentance involves not just turning from, but turning to. So, an effective and practical way to apply this to the sins you are fighting, is to determine to kill each specific sin by cultivating the particular virtue which best counters it. Kill lust by loving others in selfless purity. When tempted to leer at someone of the opposite sex, turn your eyes and pray for them instead. Crucify self-centeredness by serving those around you. The only way truly to get rid of vice—and not just temporarily deflect it—is to displace it with virtue.
What are your areas of greatest temptation? What are some specific things you can do, not merely to avoid committing those sins again, but to weaken sin’s hold? How will you replace your sinful thought patterns and behaviors with those that are virtuous and Christlike?
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