How Do I Kick The Sin Habit?

In a very real way you are like a pawn in a huge cosmic chess game. Everything you need to know, not only to win, but to be a superhero in the game of this life (and the next one)is found in the Ultimate Book of Success—the Word of God!

Here are three foundational truths you must know to begin the journey of kicking the sin habit:

1. The Word of God (Living and written) is the ultimate and final authority when it comes to moral / spiritual truth (sin is a spiritual and a moral issue). 2 Tim. 3:16 says,

a. Written:  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

b. Living:  John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. ”

1 Rev. 19:13-14, “He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.”

2. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

2. You have three enemies:

The world, the flesh and the devil. Romans 12:2; Romans 8:5; Revelation 12:9.

3. You have three allies:

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

  • James 1:17  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
  • Matt 1:21 21  “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
  • Acts 1:8  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

God’s Word tells us there has been a battle raging for untold thousands of years between the forces of darkness and the Prince of Peace. The battle is for the soul of man. In this case, it’s yours!

You can be wrong about a lot of things, but if you are wrong about how to get delivered from sin, you are wrong enough to spend eternity separated from God.  

What is sin? 1 John 3:4 says, “Sin is the transgression of the law (KJV)”.  

The law that John is referring to is God’s moral law known as the Ten Commandments. 

Rom 7:7, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.'”

Why is sin a problem?

Prov 6:16-19, “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:  A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”

Isa 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”

John 10:10,  “The thief (Satan) comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “

What are it’s consequences?

Prov 8:36, “But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;  All those who hate me love death.”

Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death (eternal seperation from God), but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Overcoming sin is a two-part process—God’s part and your part:

Jesus died for our sins

Key #1. God. Deliverance from the guilt (past), the power (present), and the condemnation (future) of sin is a work of grace. A work of grace is something only God can do. 

In the New Testament the word “grace” is Khar’-ece. It speaks of the unmerited favor of God. But, it is much more than that.

Grace is the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; which produces an attitude of gratitude. Grace is defined as:

 1) Good will, loving-kindness and the favor of God. It refers to the merciful kindness of God by which He exerts His holy influence upon souls, turning them to Christ, keeping, strengthening and increasing them in Christian faith, knowledge and affection. It kindles in us the exercise of Christian virtue and moral excellence.

2) It is the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace.

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Here is the Word of God on your deliverance:

Isa 43:11, “I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior.”

Matt 1:21 21,  “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Cor. 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Eph 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Key #2. Your Part. A work of grace is something only God can do, paradoxically, your part must be factored in. Deliverance from sin is something God does in you and through you

Phil 2:13, “…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Mark 1:15 15,  “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.”

Repent means to change your mind, turn around and go the other way. Stop ignoring God and living as if He did not exist. In light of creation, no man will stand before God with any excuse for ignoring or denying Him (Romans 1:18-20). 

The Wonders of God's Creation

The Wonders of God’s Creation

Sin begins in the mind as a thought (temptation): 

James 1:14-15 says, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. “

To be tempted is not sin. Even Jesus was tempted, yet He was without sin.

Being drawn away speaks of being drawn away in your imagination.

Temptation crosses the line into sin when you realize what you are contemplating is sin and you continue to “entertain” or, dwell on those thoughts. That is when you begin to rationalize and justify committing a sinful act.

Here is a perfect example. There is a world of difference between seeing a woman and “looking” at her. In Matt 5:28, Jesus said,

“But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

You are the sovereign Lord over the universe of your mind and are expected to control your thoughts. 

Here is a foundational truth concerning your part in the equation of kicking the sin habit. 2 Cor. 10:4-5 4:

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Your mind is not a garbage dump; it’s a temple.

God wants you to set your mind on things that are pure and holy. Why?  All sin begins as a thought. The same is true of goodness. 

The well-known motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar put it this way,

“You are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”

In other words, you are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.

Prov 23:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

That is why God wants you to have a sanctified imagination. Your behavior (good or bad) is based on what you have allowed yourself to think and what you have chosen to believe.

Deut 30:19-20, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.”

As the old saying goes,

“Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”

Gal. 6:7-9, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

Here is the prayerful attitude we must adopt, it we are to be overcomers against the world, the flesh and the devil. Psalms 19:14:

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

The great commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength 

The most normal, natural, sane, rational, intelligent thing you can do as a human being is to love the God who created you, the God who sustains you, and the God who purchased your salvation with His own blood! 

The most abnormal, unnatural, insane, irrational, unintelligent thing you can do is to live as if God does not exist.

Mark 8:35-38, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

How would you feel if the people you loved denied you even existed?

Prov 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. “

Put on the full armor of God also called the armor of light

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions.”

The belt of truth 

Jesus was truth personified. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but by Me.”

He also said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

“Thou shalt not lie”  is the 9th of the 10 commandments.

Prov 21:6, “Getting treasures by a lying tongue Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.”

God hates lying. You should too.

The breastplate of righteousness. This speaks of guarding your heart. 

The Temple in Jerusalem had three sections. The outer court, the inner court,  and the Holy of Holies.

You are the Temple of God. Similarly, the outer court is your body, the inner court is your mind, the Holy of Holies is your heart.

Nothing impure or unholy can come into the Holy of Holies.

Prov 4:23,  Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Having your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

1 Peter 3:15, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Know why you believe what you believe. It gives you the confidence you need to live the Christian life in a non-Christian world.

The shield of faith.

Taking up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

There is a real being called Satan and in his realm there exists a demonic force committed to stealing, killing and destroying you. This is done primarily through deception. You are bombarded with temptation and deception on a daily basis by the world, the flesh and the devil.

When we love the world and things of the world more than the God who created the world, we have become guilty of idolatry—an abomination to God.

It is your faith in the promises of God that allow you to understand that sin always lies. It promises pleasure but it only brings pain. It comes as a mistress and becomes your master.

Here is what faith looks like. First from Joseph and then from Moses:

Gen 39:7-10, “And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”

8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.

Here is Moses from Heb 11:24-26,

By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

These men had faith that what God has promised (positive and negative) He was also able (and willing) to deliver. Another element of faith is on the opposite side is the fear of God.

You may think you’re getting away with something but I guarantee you there is at least one other person who knows.

Heb 4:13, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. “

And what is faith? 

Heb 11:1-3,  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Heb 11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

This is not blind faith. No man will stand before God with any excuse for ignoring or denying Him. The sun, moon and starts declare His glory. It take much more faith not to believe in God than it does to believe.

Put on the helmet of salvation. 

You must wear a spiritual radar cap. Anything that will not fit through the grid of Philippians 4:8 must be thrown back. Commit Phil. 4:8-9 to memory:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate (let your mind dwell) on these things.”

The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12-13, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Key #3 You and God working together 

This is seen perfectly in Gal. 5:22,

“The fruit of the Spirit is self-control.”

Christianity is more than a religion, it’s a revelation. God is a person and you can know Him personally! That relationship is established by prayer (you talking to God) and studying the Word of God (Him talking to you)!

Here’s how it works…

Deut 4:29-30, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Prov 2:1-5, ” My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;  Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.”

Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

James 4:7-8, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ”

Rev 3:20-21, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “

True spiritual power comes from prayer and meditation on the Word of God. This is the key that breaks the power of sin.

Ps. 119:11:  “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”

By value of prayer and meditating on the Word of God cannot be overstated. God’s truth shapes our character and guides our footsteps.

Ps 119:105, Thy word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”

The lamp shows me where I am. The light shows me where to go.

The Word of God is the foundation upon which your house must be built. Christ Himself demonstrated this principle of using the Word in spiritual warfare when He was tempted by the devil in Luke chapter four.

Prayer is not primarily the opportunity to improve your civil conveniences. It’s not about you changing God’s mind it’s about Him changing you.

Study the Lords prayer and it’s mostly about changing your perspective.  There are 68 words and 7 phrases.

The very first word is enough to keep most of us busy for a lifetime! It is not I but us. It is not me, it’s we. It is not yours or mine, it’s ours. The first word “Our” is clarion call to renounce selfishness. If God is your father then you are my brother. It’s more blessed to give than to receive, etc.

 The better you know the Word of God the better you know the God of the Word.

The principles and the promises of Joshua 1:7-9, apply to us as well as they did to Joshua,

“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The next crucial step to kicking the sin habit is to cut sin off at its source. Consider the words of Jesus in Matt 5:29-30,

“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

Jesus is speaking figuratively rather than literally. The fact is, sin is pre-eminently a matter of the heart not the eyes or hands.

Jesus is saying in essence, whatever the source of sin in your life is, cut it off whatever it may be. If it’s a friend or even a close relative, cut him or her out of your life. It’s better to go to heaven with no friends (where you will have myriads of them) then hell where there will be none. If you have a problem drinking, stay away from liquor stores and bars. If you have a sin problem, cut yourself off from its source.

Prov 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. ”

Rom 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. “

Live in light of eternity

Matt 6:19-22 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Mark 8:36-38,  “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Heb 11:24-26, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.”

1 John 2:17, And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Obedience requires humility:

Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

In the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament, humility is an essential characteristic of true piety. God humbles men in order to bring them to Himself.

 I Kings 21:29,  “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days, {but} I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s days.”

2 Chr. 7:14, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

In Ps. 18:35 (28, 22, 36) humility is ascribed to God Himself!

“Thy gentleness [or condescension] hath made me great.” Of “him that hath his seat on high” it is said, “[He] humbles himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth” (Ps 113:6).

It is in the humble heart that “the high and lofty One . . . . . whose name is Holy” dwells (Isa 57:15; ef 66:2).

The prominence it (humility) gained in Christian thought indicates the new conception of man in relation to God, to himself, and to his fellow-man, which is unique to Christianity. It by no means implies slavishness or servility; nor is it inconsistent with a right estimate of oneself, one’s gifts and calling of God, or with proper self-assertion when called for.

But the habitual frame of mind of a child of God is that of one who feels not only that he owes all his natural gifts, etc, to God, but that he has been the object of undeserved redeeming love, and who regards himself as being not his own, but God’s in Christ. “He cannot exalt himself, for he knows that he has nothing of himself. The humble mind is thus at the root of all other graces and virtue. Self-exaltation spoils everything.”

There can he no real love without humility. “Love,” said Paul ‘vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (I Cor 13 4).

The first of the Beatitudes was to “the poor in spirit” (Mt. 5:3), and it was “the meek” who should “inherit the earth.”

Humility is the way to true greatness: he who should “humble himself as this little child” should be “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”; “Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Mt 18:23).

Humility is characterized in this passage, as a willingness to subordinate selfish desires in order to accomplish the greatest good. It is not a lack of character, but an evidence of it.

 Matt 11:25, “At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.”

Ps 37:10-11, “Yet a little while and the Wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there. 11 But the humble will inherit the land, and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.”

Prov 29:23, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.”

Isa 66:2 “For My hand-made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

Prov 8:13, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.”

Pride (and the devil) is the driving force behind sin. The essence of sin is self-will. Self will is driven by pride. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Pride is why many people are not satisfied with the house they live in (Hebrews 13:5).

It’s why people won’t say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong, please forgive me.”

It’s why you talk to your wife in an unkind manner (1 Peter 3:7).

It’s why you pretend to be closer to God than you really are (Mark 7:6).

It’s why you spend money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need (John 12:42-43).

Pride is why people refuse to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15).

It’s why wives don’t respect your husband (Eph. 5:33).

It’s why people refuse to admit when they’re wrong.

Pride is an act of self-will (Isa. 14:13-14).

Pride is why we won’t ask for help.

Pride can be the driving force to succeed or to be noticed by men (Phil 1:16).

Pride says life is lived best by looking out for number one (Phil. 2:3).

Pride is why some men can’t say the words, “I love you.”

Pride is why Christian’s don’t share the Gospel with unbelievers.

Pride is why people don’t want to believe.

Pride is like cancer. Often times, you don’t know you have it until you have a problem or it’s too late.

More later (God willing).

 

 

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