12 Witnesses

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3 Steps to Breaking the Chain of Sin

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Breaking Sin's Chain

All of us deal with sin.  Some of us deal with a particular sin that cripples us or seems to dominate our struggles.  For me, it is a small hand full of sins that always seem to be nagging at me.

Here are three Biblical steps I’ve learned that have helped me grow more victorious through the years:

 Ask God for help with your sin

It’s so obvious, and yet, I observe that believers practically live as though God forgave their sin on the cross, but it’s up to them to deal with their failures in this world.  Forgiveness to be dispensed when we see God after we die.  We make a mistake when we believe that God is passive in the pursuit of our spiritual freedoms.  He has no desire to simply leave it to us to overcome what we’ve never overcome in our lives, and never will, by our own strength.

Ephesians 1:15-2:10 teach us that the immeasurable greatness of God’s power, the power that raised Christ from the physically dead, is at work in us to raise us from the spiritually dead.  We don’t have power over sin, but God has all power and intends to use it for our freedom.

The first thing we must do is go to God, be honest with ourselves about our inabilities, and throw ourselves on His mercy.  The entirety of the Gospel declares that He will answer that prayer.

Filter out what reminds you to sin

It’s not a new observation to say that our culture bombards us with temptations large and small.  Still, that doesn’t stop us from allowing things that point us toward sin to become “normal” in our lives.  It’s amazing how much we allow that we would never openly proclaim.  On a deeper level, we recognize that certain things are triggers.  How we agree to let them have prominence in our lives is another question altogether.

Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22-24 to flee youthful lusts, but to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.  A better picture of repentance from sin is not found in Scripture, as the command to pursue godliness in replacement of sin is passionately encouraged.

Talk to other Christians about your sin

If there was ever something widely encouraged and yet widely forsaken within the body of Christ in America, this must be it.  A rare few of us have “accountability partners” and others meet with small groups.  Most believers in the west do neither and those that do often struggle with the transparency that is necessary for these groups to be effective.

And that is for good reason.  We gossip.  Especially in the church.  All of us have either been the victim or seen a friend victimized by the rumor mill.  If we are to really see the benefit of being a part of the body when dealing with sin, we are going to have to risk betrayal in order to get to the power that is unleashed when faithful friends gather to intercede on our behalf.

James tells us in his epistle to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16 

When we are weakest, our friends can intercede and ask God for the power that we need.  When we don’t know how to pray, our Father will answer the prayers of others.  This may be the most crucial, least employed weapon against sin we have.


Minimum for the Growing Disciple

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So I was reading 2 Peter yesterday and was impressed at the force Peter uses to call for disciples to continue growing in their relationship.  You can read it for yourself:  2 Peter 1:2-15.

For a disciple to continue to grow steadily, I think he or she needs four things daily:

  1. Introspection – It’s vital that we calm our mind and ask God to show us who we are in relation to who He is and what He is doing in us and around us.
  2. Prayer – Including worship, confession, thanksgiving, supplication (prayer for yourself) and intercession (prayer for others).  Mostly we just do the last two.  The first three are where real intimacy happens.
  3. Bible Study – Not just a cursory reading of the Bible, but investigation and meditation.
  4. Scripture Memory – Not only is this prescribed by God’s Word, but it is practically helpful.  It is giving the Holy Spirit tools for guidance in every day situations from the mundane to the crucial.

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