When we accept the call of God, we are expected to change our ways. To overcome sin means to repent of it. The Greek word for repentance is metanoia, which literally means, to change. As we repent of our sins, we need to change our old evil ways and start living a righteous life.
We already know why we need to overcome sin, but how exactly can we do that? Thankfully, the Bible tells us how. If we are going to overcome sin, we need to read what the Bible say about the subject. So let me share with you some points to remember when overcoming sin.
Point no. 1: Identify the sin
We need to specify the sin that we want to overcome. We must identify the ROOT CAUSE and start from there. It is the very first thing we must do. We cannot stop sinning if we don’t know that we are sinning in the first place. Thus, it is very crucial that you know what sin is.
Sometimes, we have secret sins that we don’t even know. We need to ask God to reveal it to us. If we do ask God, be prepared. Seeing our sins can make us uncomfortable. If we acknowledge our sins, then we are on our way to overcoming sins.
Point no. 2: Avoid the cause of sin
The best way to overcome sin is to withdraw from temptation. Avoiding the triggers of your sin can go a long way. The more you get closer to temptation, the stronger is its pull. The Bible tells us, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12).
If you think that standing in front of the magazine stand tempts you to buy pornographic materials, then by all means, avoid that place. If you think that your friends cause you to gossip, then by all means avoid them. When confronted with sin, we must run the opposite way – not toward it! (Amos 5:14-15; II Timothy 2:22; I Thessalonians 5:22).
The point is, no matter how strong you think you might be, you will eventually fail when you are constantly exposed to temptations.
Point no. 3: Have the will to overcome the sin
Identifying the sin is easy, but having the willingness and willpower to overcome sin is more difficult. For one, change can be very painful especially when the sin is deeply ingrained in our lives.
Talk is cheap. Even if we tell ourselves that we want to overcome a sin over and over again, that’s useless unless you have the will to really do it. Changing our sinful habits does not come naturally. It is a conscious effort that we all need to do. Therefore, if you want to be successful in overcoming sin, then you must make a commitment to do so.
Point no. 4: Remember the deadly consequences of sin
One of the best ways to develop the willingness to overcome sin is to know its NEGATIVE effects. Sometimes, we get too short-sighted and only focus on the temporary pleasures sin has to offer. However, we know that at the end of the day, sin has its negative effects that far OUTWEIGH the initial pleasure it can give!
Think about it: sin has its short-term, long-term, and eternal consequences. At the final analysis, sinning is not worth it. It is better to endure for a moment and be deprived of the pleasures of sin than to suffer its deadly consequences in the future.
Point no. 5: Set your mind on the reward of overcoming sin
You need also to identify the rewards of overcoming sin. If we endure and overcome sin, God will grant us eternal life, membership to His family, rulership in His Kingdom, and joy that never ends!
Now, are you willing to exchange those rewards for a brief moment of sinful pleasure?
Keeping God’s reward in mind will help us to be motivated and inspired to persevere in our quest to overcome sin.
Point no. 6: Humility is needed to overcome sin
You can never overcome sin if you are full of pride. Proud people can’t sincerely say “sorry.” They are the ones who don’t see the need to identify their sins, overcome it, and ask for forgiveness.
Humility enables us to have a teachable attitude. We need to recognize our GREAT dependence on God and the realization that we are nothing unless God grants us repentance. Without humility, we cannot let God control our lives and mold us according to his will and purpose.
Point no. 7: Replace sinful habits with righteous habits
You don’t eliminate habits; you only replace it. If we are going to overcome sinful habits, we must replace it with righteous habits. It is the most effective way to overcome sin.
When I was in college, I got addicted to playing demonic computer games. One day, I decided to quit, but I wasn’t successful in doing so. I still found myself playing computer games with my friends. So what I did was I talked to my friends and made a commitment not just to stop playing computer games but also replace it with a good habit. That good habit is playing basketball. So instead of playing computer games during our free time, we agreed to play basketball. Over time, we forgot about computer games and eventually love to play Basketball more.
This is just one of the many examples of replacing sinful habits with righteous habits. Be creative and learn how to do this as well.
Point no. 8: Seek godly counsel
Overcoming sin does not have to be a one-man battle. We can always obtain the help of our church leaders, ministers, and pastors. God has given them wisdom and they can certainly give you sound advice on how to overcome sin. Since they you know you, they can give you a more specific and personalized step-by-step solution to your problem.
Your spouse, family, and church friends can help as well. Find someone whom you trust and you know who live a godly life. More often than not, they also have gone through the process of overcoming sin and they can give you valuable insights.
Point no. 9: Ask God’s help
We need to realize that we cannot overcome sin by ourselves. We can only do our best, but most often than not, our best is not sufficient. WE NEED GOD’S HELP.
Through prayer and fasting, we can become more spiritually strong in conquering sin. However, these can also be not enough. There is one thing we must all do as Christians to fully tap into the Power of God, which is the Holy Spirit.
If we have the Holy Spirit in us, we gain extra power from God to overcome sin. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are able to be stirred from within and develop the VEHEMENT zeal to avoid sin and stay away from sinning.
The Holy Spirit only comes through the process of baptism. We need first to recognize our sins, repent of them, accept Christ’s sacrifice, be baptized by God’s minister, and let hands be laid upon us. This complete process helps us to be granted with God’s Holy Spirit.
Point no. 10: Never give up
There are sins that we can quickly overcome, while others can be more difficult. The important thing is that we don’t give up. If we are constantly struggling to overcome a sin, it means that we are still Christians who are alive and kicking. The greatest tragedy that may happen is when we stop overcoming and we just let sin consume and destroy us.
We may stumble from time to time in our Christian walk, but we must never give up. It is not about how many times we fall, but how many times we get up. So persevere and continue in our Christian walk.
Develop the habit of overcoming sin
Overcoming sin is a lifetime endeavor. As long as we are humans, sin is bound to happen. But this does not give us a license to continue sinning. God sent Jesus/Yahshua to pay the penalty of our sins and we must not waste that. God is merciful, but at the same time, just. He knows our hearts and He can see its every intent. He is merciful enough to forgive our sins and just enough to deliver judgment to those who don’t exert the effort in overcoming sin.
Just like what the saying goes, “Just do your best in overcoming sin, and God will do the rest!” Develop the habit of overcoming sin and eventually, you will become a highly effective Christian.