Daily Living

Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Sin

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For many years as a Christian I struggled with the same sins over and over. This bothered me a great deal, why couldn’t I get past this? Why couldn’t I stop!? God why won’t you take this from me?? These are questions I asked myself repeatedly.

When I looked to scripture there were countless warnings against sin and even the specific issue of repeating sin. Proverbs 26:11 says “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” Here that behavior is referred to as foolishness, but elsewhere it is warned against with stronger words like in Hebrews 10:26For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins“. That sounds pretty scary… but notice the language in Hebrews… “sinning deliberately”, the Bible makes a clear distinction between sin that you stumble into and sin that you plan and carry out.

In this article I want to share some tips with you that have helped me overcome repeated sins from my past.

  1. Learn to hate your sin. Some Christians think we should never have hate in our hearts, but that is not true. Some hate is righteous, and we should learn to hate the things that God hates and love the things that God loves. Zechariah 8:17, Psalm 5:4-5, Proverbs 13:5 (Why does God hate sin? – answer here)
  2. Take sin seriously. In American today we live in a hyper-Grace world where Christians sin repeatedly, over and over… the same old sins again and again while they “rest in the Grace of the Lord”. If we love God as we claim to, it should grieve our hearts to sin against Him, and while YES his Grace IS sufficient… this should never be used as a “get out of jail free” card by Christians. Romans 6:23, James 4:17, Mark 7:20-23, 1 John 3:4, James 1:15
  3. Identify and avoid triggers. Every sin in your life is preceded by temptations which have triggers, in other words, something that sends your mind down the path towards sin. For example, I may be standing in the grocery check out lane and see a magazine cover with a scantily clad woman. This is a trigger of lust that I am well aware of, so I have trained myself to keep my thoughts and eyes elsewhere when I am standing in those isles. Triggers can be anywhere and everywhere, the more you can identify and avoid… the stronger your defenses to temptations will become.
  4. Confess your sins to another. The Bible has many verses instructing us to confess our sins to one another, the reason… sin thrives in darkness. When you bring your sin to light it loses most of its hold over you. This could be a very scary thought but once you do it, you will begin to experience freedom from those chains that bind you. James 5:16, 1 John 1:7, James 5:14-15
  5. Assemble and accountability team. Any Christian who struggles with continued sin, should have an accountability team, a small group of trusted brothers or sisters in Christ. Their job is to be there for you, when you need them. You should have them on speed dial and when you begin to feel the temptations overcome you… CALL someone. Some simple rules… they should ALWAYS be the same sex as you and they should be spiritually mature enough to loving and truthful with you… even when it hurts your pride. Lastly you need to be open and honest with your team about the depths of your struggle. If they don’t know the extent of the problem, they won’t be properly equipped to help you fight.

You might think I purposefully set out to create lists with 5 items, but this time it just happened LOL. If you have had success over repeated sin in your life, what are some of the ways you have achieved it? Would you share your ideas in the comments below so others can grow in Christ as you have?

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