Yesterday we talked about temptations and sin, and today we are going to talk about becoming an overcomer! So, I now know that I have a problem with sin, and I understand what happens if I continually allow sin to rule over me, but now I have to prepare for battle. If I don't want my sin to lead to death, I have to be ready to fight.
A friend once explained sin to me like a owning a pet. Imagine you come across the most adorable baby dragon you have ever seen. I mean, who doesn't want to own a sweet baby dragon. You feed this dragon and take care of it, you LOVE this baby dragon. It's your's, you own it, and you keep it close because it makes you feel good (I won't deny the fact that sometimes sin just feels good). The more you feed your baby dragon, the more it grows, until one day it's bigger than you, it's stronger than you, and now it's in control, and this baby dragon you loved so much is now full grown, and ready to devour you.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. James 1:17-25
So what are we to do?
First we have to consider the payment for sin. What will this sin cost us? Well, ultimately it will cost us our lives and the judgment of God. I honestly believe that the only way you can ever care enough about God's judgment on your life is to truly understand who God is, and who you are. until we have a clear idea of how beautiful and amazing God really is, and how wonderful and awesome (yes awesome, as in I'm in awe of something) Jesus' death on the cross is, we will NEVER be able to allow God's judgment as a reason not to sin. Why?
Think about our relationship with our parents. If the only way you see God is as an authority figure who is heavy handed, and always angry with your many sins you will naturally want to rebel. If however you actually see God for who he is (a loving Father, who gave his Son and essentially himself for you (a sinner who is unworthy), how can you not be moved by that love?
He doesn't want you to sin because he loves you! He knows that your sin leads to death, and he wants life for you, and abundant life at that! When you learn who He is, and what He has done for you, you can't help but love Him more. That's why the song is called Amazing Grace... because the songwriter got a real glimpse at His creator and savior.
So how do we build this relationship? There are really only a few ways to do that, but thankfully anyone can do it.
1. READ YOUR BIBLE!
Book studies are wonderful, and God can speak through them, but He promises to speak through his word. His word is where He will reveal truths and secrets that you can't get from any other book. The Bible isn't a rule book for Christian living, so don't see it that way. It is the ultimate love story, and it will unlock the mysteries that will change your heart forever. We would be wise to understand the power of God's word. Think of the temptation of Christ. The Son of God used the Word of God to fight Satan himself.
For it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 1 Timothy 4:5-6
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17
When we pray it not only allows us to have communion with God and grow a personal relationship with Him, it also reminds us of who He is and what He has done for us, which again reminds us of His love for us. When I pray I have started using the A.C.T.S outline. Which is Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. I remind myself and praise God for who he is, and what I adore about him. I confess my sins and remind myself of who I am. I thank Him for all he is doing in and around me. And I ask for more wisdom, strength to fight sin, faith to believe, and love for Him. I also try to remain silent for a bit and listen to anything He may have to say to me.
If you listen, God will speak.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
3. The Church (Other believers and service)
Iron sharpens iron and when one falls down the other is there to help him up. When you have an accountability partner and are active in service you are more likely to hold yourself to higher standards than you would alone. Not only that, but then you have even more people praying for you, people who can help you understand the Bible, and you are surrounded by people who love you and want you to grow in Christ.
This one can be tricky because I don't believe this one can really help you apart from the first two. I consider church and serving a bonus to to reading and praying. Ultimately without a strong relationship with God a great church and accountability group can do nothing for you because the relationship you share with the Lord has to be a personal one, but even if you're not there yet, the church is still an awesome place to be. I know it seems contradictory, but I don't mean it to be.
I guess it's just my way of saying, keep the first thing first because there are plenty of Christians in church who do not have a personal relationship and are not growing, so if you could only choose one of these things to focus on, start with reading your Bible.
View 31 Days Through The Book Of James here.