Looking in the Mirror: How to Overcome Sin

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Looking in the Mirror

How to Overcome Sin

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Looking in the Mirror: How to Overcome Sin

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What would it be like if we looked in the mirror and saw all our past mistakes staring back at us? There is a popular catchphrase used to explain who we are as people that states, “You are the sum of what you have done.” Thankfully, as followers of Jesus Christ, we can choose whether or not this is true. We have the awesome opportunity to change the reflection, to leave our old lives behind and become new creations with our Savior living in us! (Ephesians 4:22-24 Ephesians 4:22-24 22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
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).

With the approach of the Christian Passover, we are mindful of our sins, knowing that Christ died to redeem us and to grant us access to forgiveness (1 John 2:2 1 John 2:2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
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; 1 John 4:9-10 1 John 4:9-10 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
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). In Paul’s writings, we are told to examine ourselves leading up to this day to ensure we take the symbols of Christ’s body and blood in a worthy manner. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
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). Are we ridding ourselves of poor behavior? Have we repented of our sins?

During this period of self-examination, we may indeed find ourselves looking in the mirror and seeing many sins staring back at us. However, we do not have to let that be our permanent reflection. Here are a few steps to aid a Christian in overcoming sin:

1. Discover what’s right

One cannot overcome sin unless it can be recognized for what it is. We are told in the Bible that obedience to God’s ways reveals what sin is (Romans 7:7 Romans 7:7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet.
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). But besides the basic Ten Commandments, God doesn’t list the “do”s and “don’t”s in a checklist format. Discovering the difference between right and wrong takes time and effort. We need to have our noses in the Bible and diligently searching God’s instructions (Proverbs 2:1-5 Proverbs 2:1-5 1 My son, if you will receive my words, and hide my commandments with you; 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry after knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shall you understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
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Jesus Christ’s life and earthly ministry in the gospels are the foremost example for us. We can learn the right way to act in many scenarios just by reading about his life, because He Himself faced many of the same temptations for sin that we do (Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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). We know that to follow His example is to do what’s right, for He is the way we should go (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
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2. Get help

We should never feel like we are alone (Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
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). Even Christ had His Father by His side throughout all of His ordeals (John 8:29 John 8:29And he that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
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). Similarly, we should reach out to God should we need help. The obvious way to do this is through prayer. What do you want to change? Who do you want to be? What is causing you trouble? All these questions can and should be laid at the feet of our loving Creator. God will certainly answer and guide us in how to overcome (James 1:5 James 1:5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him.
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We are also instructed to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the faith for support as well: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 James 5:16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
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). There is nothing like knowing someone is praying for us during a trial. But what about when we are trying to overcome a sin? This is why many addiction rehabilitation programs assign accountability buddies to help keep on track and to provide support.

3. Show you’re serious

Nothing tells God, “I’m really serious about overcoming this sin,” than afflicting ourselves with fasting (Psalms 35:13 Psalms 35:13But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into my own bosom.
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). Not that God needs motivation to help us, for He does that out of His own love. But imagine a parent teaching a child how to tie their shoe. It will not help that child if the parent does it for them every time. But if the parent sees the child trying and struggling, then they lend a hand. Fasting is one way to show that we are dedicated to learning the right way.

This type of dedication to overcoming sin can also be shown by how we react to wrong when we are faced with it. We are supposed to run the opposite direction and hate evil (Amos 5:14-15 Amos 5:14-15 14 Seek good, and not evil, that you may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as you have spoken. 15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
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1 Thessalonians 5:22 1 Thessalonians 5:22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
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2 Timothy 2:22 2 Timothy 2:22Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
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). Christ even tells us that we are to take extreme measures to overcome sin, even if it means sacrificing something in our lives (Mark 9:43-49 Mark 9:43-49 43 And if your hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if your foot offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if your eye offend you, pluck it out: it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched. 49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
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We can often feel overwhelmed in the face of our many sins and flaws, but it doesn’t have to be so. Self-examination during Passover preparation is not a time to feel guilty, but a time to overcome and rejoice! Jesus Christ’s sacrifice has opened up a door before us to move forward into righteousness and everlasting life! Let’s take that door, so we can look in the mirror and see the reflection of our Savior.