Overcoming Internal Sin
Overcoming sin can be difficult but often there is peer pressure help from public exposure. Usually we do not like others to be aware of our sins. Internal sins are usually private and frequently only the person and God are aware of the sin. Internal sins may include such things as being " angry", having "lust", failing to "forgive", or just having "worry". In addition to these obvious internal sins, we can be guilty of sin when we are personally disobedient to God. Internal sins are not a problem in society where many might consider them a victimless offense. No offense is victimless if the person committing the offense is the victim and the victim offends God. 1
Recently I was disobedient to God involving my fleshly desires. I had a scheduled appointment at the car place to check out a warning light with their computer. They said it would take about 45 minutes so I said I would wait. From years ago, I knew their waiting area involved a glass-covered place with donuts. Before I went, God told me not to eat any donuts (He cares about my health). That morning as I went into the waiting area, I subjected myself to an internal sin by looking at the donuts before I sat down. At first I was good as I sat there reading the paper but I kept thinking how pretty and delicious a certain donut covered with pink icing looked. Finally, I convinced my self that one wouldn't hurt. As I took it, I noticed a delicious looking blue berry donut under it. The pink one looked good but it was not that tasty. Everyone knows blue berries are good for you, and it tasted better and then I noticed a large one on the bottom covered with chocolate. Since they took time to wash my car, eventually I ate the chocolate one. Yes, I repented of the internal sin that turned into an external sin (although I was the only one who knew I was sinning). A few days later when I returned to have the part installed that they discovered I needed, I succeeding in not looking at the donuts at all. - a side note: praise God all the repair work was covered under a "life time warranty" so both trips costs nothing.
How do we overcome internal sins? James was probably advising from experience when he wrote, "submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you". Resisting the devil is not thinking lustful thoughts about pink donuts or entertaining angry, unforgiving thoughts about another person or a politician or a rival school or an enemy country, etc. Jesus guides us to "love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you". Every time we give into temptation or entertain internal sins we make it harder to resist the next time. Stay strong in resisting even temptation thoughts and remember Jesus has given us "authority to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you". Use that authority and resist by the power of Jesus' "name". 2
1. Mt 5:22, 28; 6:15, 25 (NKJ)
2. Jas 4:7 (GN); Mt 5:43 (IC); Lk 10:19; Mk 16:17 (NI)
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A Psalm for reflection "I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin." Ps 119:11 (TL)
Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
God stated in Genesis 2:24 and Jesus quoted it in Mark 10:8 (NIV) that when two people get married " the two will become one ". Functioning as one and being a team of two that works together is one of the main things we help people accomplish in our workshop. From God's viewpoint, it appears He treats married couples as one. In the story of Job, Satan was not allowed to kill Job and all of his family members were destroyed but not his wife (Job 1-2:9). To become one spiritually, it is good for a couple to talk about their spiritual views. If you have different views it is good to discuss them and may be a good time to use the Speaker Listener Technique. Unlike most discussions in your marriage, just because you as a couple agree doesn't make it correct before God. It is good to support your opinions with what Jesus or God said. It is good for you to have family prayers together, worship God together in the same church, and even share a ministry together. That may sound heavy but I knew a couple who had no children and had been married over twenty years who helped in the nursery together in a large church. That was a nice way to share a ministry together.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage ("all things are possible with God", Mark 10:27 NIV). From God's viewpoint it appears He treats married couples as one. In the story of Job, Satan was not allowed to hurt Job and all of his family members were destroyed but not his wife, who did not appear to be a supportive spouse. For you to function as one as a couple does require both of you to make an effort. You should develop your personal relationship with God, as that is an individual thing. In addition to praying for your spouse and encouraging them to be closer to God you can live your life as a good example. It may be hard to encourage your spouse to get closer to God, if you do not set a godly example.
When a spouse calls "time out", it is an opportunity for a couple to calm down before continuing the conversation at a later time (anywhere from an hour to no later than the next day) using the Speaker Listener Technique. Initially after calling time out it is an opportunity to take authority over the enemy and pray for the marriage. Example:
"In the name of Jesus I command you demons to shut up and leave our marriage and not return"
"Thank you God for helping our marriage be in Your will and guiding us in our relationship, in Jesus name, amen."
When a spouse will not cooperate, you can still take authority over the enemy and pray for your marriage.
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