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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, May 27 2021

Overcoming recurring sin

Contrary to the world’s refrain to “follow your heart” we need to identify temptation, including what we are thinking and feeling, so we can take action to avoid sin.

Most of us struggle, at some time during our lives, with some sort of difficult-to-overcome, habitual sin. It might be excessive alcohol or some other substance abuse, lust, or even repeated wrong emotional responses such as jealousy, anger or greed.

Everybody has their “cross to bear,” and wrestles with habits and sins that continue to haunt us after baptism, when we made our commitment to God (Galatians 5:24; Romans 6:6). To be a dedicated Christian is to seriously address these sins and to yoke yourself to Christ, who overcame the world on our behalf (1 John 5:4-5), making possible the Spirit-led transformation we seek.

  1. One key to stay alert to temptation is to become aware of your feelings, and honestly evaluate the emotions that lead to sin. Sin almost always starts in your heart (Jeremiah 17:9). It is important to be honest about those feelings and even write them down if it helps reflection and the ability to identify the process.
  2. Once you have noted the internal circumstances or your feelings that result in temptation it is also important to note the external circumstances when you are most tempted. Often we find ourselves in those situations because we don’t pay attention to the small decisions we made along the way to get us there. We have to start to identify patterns of behaviour, feelings, people, places, times and other factors that are conducive to this sin.
  3. Additionally it is often helpful to share your struggles with someone you trust (James 5:16). It’s easy to rationalize things to yourself. Someone you trust and, very importantly will keep confidentiality, may be able to help you cut through the mist of subjectivity. They could also help you identify harmful patterns of behaviour, and even intervene if necessary.

These steps represent the beginning of the process toward complete repentance and learning to yield to God’s Holy Spirit. The process involves not just avoiding sin, but replacing it with the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-24). There are also probably sins in our lives we don’t even recognize yet, because God is working with us to grow and mature throughout our lives.