Why do we struggle with sins we have already repented of?
[Darris McNeely] A Beyond Today viewer has written in, asking, “Why do I struggle with sins that I’ve repented of and how can I overcome sin?”. This is a very common question and it’s a very common condition, because Christians throughout the ages have struggled against themselves, against the pulls of the world, and matters that are arrayed against us, causing us to fail – what we think – in our efforts to be a faithful Christian. It’s a very important matter to understand. What is important is realizing that the process of conversion, and this path upon which we have begun when one repents and confesses their sin, and in faith accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, begins a process – a lifelong process – called conversion, or overcoming. We’ve talked about this many times on our Dailys and even on our Beyond Today television program, to help us all understand this process of salvation.
But it is a journey and it is a lifelong effort, and overcoming – dealing with the struggle against sin – is something that we have to understand is a daily, yearly, lifelong prospect for us in this process of conversion. Don’t give up hope. Don’t give up heart on this. One of the most encouraging and helpful passages is what we find in Romans chapter 7, beginning in verse 14 and continuing on in a lengthy passage to verse 25, where the apostle Paul gives a very personal detail in his own life of how he too struggled with sin. When he wanted to do what was good, he did evil, and when he resisted evil he found himself having to even give in to it. And he worked and worked to deal with that and overcome that in his own life, and he comes down to a point in this passage where he really gives us the key. In verse 25, he says, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, so with the mind I serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:14-25 Romans 7:14-25 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
American King James Version×).
Paul gives us the answer there – that it is the help of Christ, His life, the life of Jesus Christ within us, through the Holy Spirit, that we have the ability to not only continue with the struggle against sin, but then to eventually overcome the sin and to get a handle on it and even master it. There is hope. There is confidence.
Perhaps it begins with understanding what is said in 2 Corinthians chapter 10, and recognizing here, verses 4 through 6, that our struggle is not against the physical, but it is a spiritual struggle (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
American King James Version×). Our weapons, then, have to be spiritual if we’re going to overcome the struggle against sin. And the weapons are really at our disposal. They are very obvious.
Let me give you three keys – three very simple steps to take. All of us as Christians need these and to implement them, to enable us to struggle against the sin and to eventually, overcome. Number one – pray to God. Pray to God instantly. Be instant in prayer, as Paul put it, when you are tempted. And rely on God in faith to give you the help to resist the sin. To pray instantly before God.
Number two – Pray regularly. Pray regularly in order to maintain a relationship with God. Pray on a daily basis. Pray several times a day. Go to your knees, ask God for that help. But be in the regular habit of prayer to be able to deal with the challenges that are going to come to us.
And then thirdly, put your mind into the word of God. Study that word.
Pray instantly, pray regularly, and study the word of God to have that mind in us, laboring in the word of God. The struggle against sin can be something that we get a handle on and actually over a period of time, even begin to see that we have made progress. Don’t give up heart. Don’t lose hope. It can be done. It can be done through Jesus Christ in you.
That’s BT Daily . Join us next time.