Overcoming sin can be as simple, as obeying Jesus who told a man recently healed, "SIN NO MORE", yet it is not usually that simple. Apparently in this man's case stopping sinning affected his healing and not having more physical problems. Overcoming sin can help with many blessings from God including eternal life. When someone asked Jesus about what they should do to have eternal life, Jesus first response was "KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS" and then clarified by mentioning some of the Ten Commandments. Some Christians have made up teachings to discount or eliminate the law and the commandments but Jesus says the law will not change until "EARTH PASS AWAY". In case you have noticed, earth is still here. When we consider blessings from God, the greatest blessing is to have eternal life. Many want God's blessings and yet they do not want to give up their favorite sins to receive them. Please be clear that just because God has blessed you at times does not mean that He has changed His mind about your sins or now approves of them1.
Another time when Jesus was saying that what comes out of a person "contaminates spiritually", He mentioned some of the same commandments and he mentions other sins like "evil thoughts". Yes our evil thoughts can range from unforgiveness and anger to lust and X rated fantasies. Evil thoughts may provide some private entertainment but with God, nothing is private. While society debates about online flirtation being infidelity, most flirtation involves some "evil thoughts". A person may say that their flirting does not involve evil thoughts rather is just having fun yet if the person receiving the flirting develops evil thoughts, they have been caused to sin. Jesus tells us it is very serious if we cause someone to "sin".
Another favorite sin for some Christians that Jesus mentioned is "fornication". Many develop teachings about this sin to accommodate their lustful desires. Some translators will translate the Greek word as "sexual immorality" or "sexual sins" which could be an attempt by the translators to make the translation less confrontational with today's lifestyle. However it appears that the most correct translation is "fornication", and "adultery" which is different is also mentioned in the same verse. Fornication refers to sex between unmarried people whereas adultery involves at least one married person. In our very effective wedding ministry that frequently helps people involved in the sin of fornication, we meet people who are getting married who will volunteer that they want to stop "living in sin". Others who identify themselves as Christians will say they are "common-law married". When Jesus told the woman at the well, "Really you have had five husbands. But the man you live with now is not your husband", the statement clarified that there is marriage and divorce and that shacking up is not marriage or common-law marriage. "Fornication" is a sin and it can hinder blessing from God just like other sins.
A sin Jesus also talks about is "saying bad things about people" which frequently may be considered slander or gossip. In many Christian churches if people stopped gossiping, there would be noticeable silence. In the world many, so called TV "news" programs wouldn't have anything to talk about if they didn't gossip.
Another sin that Jesus mentions is "pride". Our society frequently encourages pride as a good thing. Jesus is very clear that if we want to follow Him we need to "deny" ourselves. Eliminating pride or denying ourselves is not an encouragement to have low self-esteem but rather putting what God wants ahead of what we want or desire, like Jesus did. Eliminating our pride and personal desires and putting what God wants first in our lives will help in eliminating sins like fornication, stealing, evil thoughts, selfishness, anger, saying bad things about people, wanting what others have, failing to honor parents, worry, not telling the truth, adultery, etc2.
# 1 acknowledge
As we become aware of the danger of sins and how they affect receiving blessings from God and contaminate us spiritually, our first step is to acknowledge them. We live in a society where even people caught in the act of a crime will say they are not guilty. Taking responsibility for one's behavior is not as common as justifying one's behavior or blaming someone else. One time a man told me his wife of many years divorced him for committing adultery but that actually he was "raped". He was a large man who looked like he could defend himself and the more he talked, it became obvious that what he called "rape" was that the woman made herself available to him for sex. He was not willing to take responsibility for giving in to his lustful response. Unfortunately for most to overcome sin it is not as simple as being obedient. If a person takes responsibility for their sins and acknowledges that they are sins, they have just made the first step in overcoming them.
Example worry: Jesus says, "do not worry". Some would suggest worry or thinking negative is not a sin and yet Jesus says, "do not worry" and when He says "do not murder" they have no problem calling it a sin. When we worry or think negative we do not trust or have faith in God. When we worry we are usually thinking selfish. To overcome worry, we need to admit we worry or think negative and that it is a sin, since we are being disobedient.
#2 want to overcome
The second step is to want to overcome the sin. Some people enjoy their sins like "evil thoughts" and consider them like what society calls victimless sins. When spiritual contamination may prevent us from receiving God's blessings and could ultimately result in spending eternity in hell, we are the victims of our sins, so they are not victimless.
Example worry: Some do not want to stop worrying. Some may say they are just concerned or justify their negative thinking by explaining how good it is to be cautious. We need to want to stop worrying and thinking negative.
#3 turn away
If we have a desire to overcome our sins and we want to "Turn away from your sins" or repent, we need to do it. We need to make a conscious effort to stop worrying and thinking negative and trust God more.
#4 ask for help
The next step is as Jesus says, "pray that you will not be tempted. Your spirit wants to do what is right, but your body is weak". Praying means to ask God to help us be free of the particular sin. Remember Jesus recommends we pray daily, "please don't bring us into temptation and please rescue us from the evil one". Like with worry example, we need to pray daily for God to help us not be tempted to worry and to not give in to the old habits of worry.
#5 take authority
Remember if we have difficulty overcoming a sin like it is an addiction, that demons may be involved and it can do no harm to take spiritual authority over them in Jesus "name". Persist in praying and working at overcoming the sin until free. Have no doubt that demons love to keep people from trusting God and following God by worrying about stuff3.
1. Jn 5:14 (KJ); Mt 19:16-19; 5:18 (NKJ)
2. Mk 7:20-22 (ET); Mt 18:7; Jn 4:18 (IC); Lk 9:23; 22:42 (NKJ)
3. Mt 6:25-34; 19:18 (NI); Mt 4:17 (GN); Mk 14:38 (IC); Mt 6:13 (ET); Mk 16:17 (IC)
note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations
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A Psalm for reflection "I confess my sins; I am sorry for what I have done." Ps 38:18 (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
To refresh what you have learned in our Workshop or entice you to experience our Workshop
"Remember, all marriages can be better, if you use what you learned."
There are many kinds of stress. Events you can see coming, like a visit, events you cannot see coming, like a sudden illness and ongoing stress, like a job. Stress can affect your body like interfere with sleep, it can affect your mind like make you more irritability and it can affect your relationships like increase arguing. To be set free from stress, first focus on everything good that has happened to you from your earliest memory and as you write them down, praise God for each event all the way to present. Then make a second list and write down every unpleasant memory from the earliest to present, including what is causing the current stress. As you start over from the beginning of the list, imagine that you are handing each subject to God with Jesus' help. If you need to forgive, say, "I forgive ____ in Jesus' name, amen." If it is an on going problem like your job or your marriage as you give it to God, thank Him by saying, "Thank You God for taking this _______ from me in Jesus name amen." As you give everything to God remember that Jesus said, " Give to God what is God's" Mk 12:17 (NI). Everything belongs to God, even the bad stuff and He is more than capable of disposing of trash or cleaning up problems. As you use Jesus' help by using His name remember that Jesus said, "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" Jn 8:36 (NI). If your spouse is a source of stress, forgive your spouse and give your spouse to God. God is more than capable of improving your marriage and helping your spouse become less stressful in your life. Once you do that and your spouse upsets you, complain to God (not your spouse) and seek God's guidance.
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. Jesus said, "all things are possible with God", Mk 10:27 NI). The above teaching on being free from stress and other memories does not require a spouse's support. If your spouse is a source of stress, forgive your spouse and give your spouse to God. God is more than capable of improving your marriage and helping your spouse become less stressful in your life. Once you do that and your spouse upsets you, complain to God (not your spouse) and seek God's guidance.
Hi Followers of Jesus,
An Opportunity Has God blessed you with a verifiable miracle that would bring honor to God's name? We want help you honor and praise God by providing you an opportunity to share your personal healing miracle story on our Jesus Center website and if there is a picture that relates, putting it in the Personal Healing Miracles picture album on our Jesus Center Facebook page relating it to your story. (See details to include in your personal miracle story)
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