Can you relate to these words from Scripture, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom. 7:19)? These Scriptures progress to teach a Christian how to escape such sin by setting the mind on the Spirit (Rom. 8:5-6, 13). The Spirit is Truth (1 John 5:6), and He came to Christ’s Apostles to reveal all Truth (John 16:13). Jesus said that God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17), and that Truth will set you free (John 8:32). Many Christians have come to this Truth and overcome temptations, and yet for others, the Truth can be incomplete.
There is always a way of escape from temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). Christians are to be transformed by the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:1-2), and they can overcome the slavery of fleshly desires and passions by setting the mind upon the Spirit (Rom. 8:5-6). Conquering sin is not about willpower, but a mindset.
“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Lust of the flesh consist of more than sexual immorality. Works of the flesh include jealousy, rage, divisiveness, drunkenness, wild partying, and more (Rom. 13:13-14, Gal. 5:19-21). Through Christ, you can be set free. The Scriptures says,
“For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:18).
Take up your cross daily to follow these words of Christ with your faith, and you will overcome your temptations. The Truth can also help you overcome stress and anxiety that often keep believers from doing God’s Will.
The love for Christ compels believers to die with Christ (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Those who love Christ keep His commands – all of them (John 14:21-24, 1 John 5:3, Matt. 28:19). This all requires a faith that is obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ starting with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:17). The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Gospel that saves believers (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Believers must obey this Gospel to be saved (2 Thess. 1:7-9). How? Christ’s Spirit teaches through the Scriptures that each professing believer must die with Christ repenting of their sins, be buried with Christ by baptism in His name, and be raised with Christ into the newness of life (Rom. 6:1-7, Col. 2:11-13). This is when a believer is raised with Christ being saved by God’s grace (Eph. 2:4-6). Having died and being raised with Christ, a believer struggling with addiction must be transformed by the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:2).
(1) Look at What Separates You from God.
- What harmful behavior is keeping you from being close to God?
- Do you think that you can be close to God and Christ if you continue to do this sin?
- How do you feel about allowing sin to live in you and rule over you?
* “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).
* “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Rom. 6:12).
* “Therefore subordinate to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (Jas. 4:7-10, cf. Acts 17:26-27).
* “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled” (Col. 1:21, cf. Eph. 4:17-19).
* “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:1-4).
* “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:9-10).
Other Scriptures: Mark 7:20-23, 8:36-37, Rom. 1:28-32, 3:23, 6:23, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 2 Cor. 5:14-15.
(2) Observe the Devastation of What Enslaves You.
- How do you feel after giving into the temptations? Do you feel impure, stressed, guilty and, or selfish?
- Do you foresee any stress that leads you to giving into these temptations?
- Do you think that you have been allowing yourself to be conned and deceived?
- What will happen if you continue sinful and evil behavior unto death or judgment?
* “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Heb. 10:26, cf. 1 John 3:4-9).
* “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” (Rom. 2:5, cf. 2:6-11).
* Jesus said, “Fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into Gehenna; yes, I say to you, fear this One” (Luke 12:5, cf. Matt. 10.26-28, Rev. 19:20, 20:10).
* Christ said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
* “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (Jas. 1:14-15).
* “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death” (Rom. 6:21).
Other Scriptures: Luke 4:1-13, Rom. 6:16-23, 7:13-25, Eph. 4:17-24, 2 Tim. 2:24-26, Jas. 1:14-16, 1 John 2:16-17.
(3) Realize and Relive Your God-Given Freedom.
- Has there ever been a time, days or weeks, when you were blessed, free, and distracted from these temptations?
- What was different and better about the time when you lived without this sin?
- Do you think the temptations will discontinue if you continue giving into them?
- Would it be better to endure the stress of these temptations or surrender into the same tiresome and destructive cycle?
- Should you expect yourself to stop giving into sin if you continue to surround yourself with temptations? What will you do?
* “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
* Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. [...] Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin’” (John 8:31-34).
* “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
* “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom. 13:14).
* “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Cor. 15:33).
* “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:5-6, cf. 12:2).
Other Scriptures: Rom. 6:1-15, Gal. 2:20, 5:16-24, 1 John 3:4-9.
(4) Draw Closer to God by Seeing a Better Life.
- How wonderful and better will life be like when you stop giving into these temptations?
- How would you describe God’s blessings and the good feelings that you will have when you stop doing this sin?
- How much closer will you be to God?
* “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
* “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-25).
* “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
* “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Rom. 8:14-15).
* “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32).
* “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
Other Scriptures: Matt. 11:28-30, Rom. 8:1-39, Eph. 1:3, Heb. 2:16-18, 4:15-16, 2 Pet. 2:9.
– What happens when we are transformed by the renewing our minds? When transforming our minds, our whole spiritual life must consist of drawing close to God by studying His Word, praying and praising God, and learning to serving and love others as God loves. This person is tired of evil in his or her life and has decided to seek help from God so that this sin no longer lives or rules over oneself. This believer sees the greater harm and evils from giving into temptations, and choose rather to suffer avoiding temptations. This faithful person sees temptations to be a deceptive and temporary escape exchanged for slavery, pain, stress, agony, guilt, and spiritual death. This Christian notices the successful patterns and times in one’s life when free from sin, and this person seeks to live like that continually avoiding temptations and living in the Spirit. This disciple of Christ will be motivated and compelled by the love of Christ and by the wonder of the blessings to live a life close to God with a pure heart, good conscience, and true joy.
The person, who is tempted by alcohol or drugs, will now overcome being committed and aware that the urge to drink is a deceptive trap. The one tempted with lust will resist being aware that giving in will not give freedom and release oneself from enslavement to sin. Someone, who maliciously lashing out at others, will not relieve stress this way, but realize that such behavior actually increases stress, pain, guilt, agony, and deprives life of real joy. The one tempted by using abusive profanity will set the mind upon the Spirit knowing the devastation of deception that lies behind such sin. Those repenting will stay away from temptations and continue to live a life avoiding all forms of evil. The one, who repents from slandering and defaming others, sees the love and forgiveness that God has given them, and therefore this person is compelled to rethink one’s state of mind. The one, who repents from stirring up strife for attention, admires the peaceful purity of the life that is in Jesus Christ. They are compelled by the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Even though each repentant person may stumble, they will not give up knowing that as long as they walk in the light, then the blood of Christ will wash away every sin (1 John 1:5-10).
May God bless everyone reading this and struggling with an addictive sin to allow the Word of God to overcome this sin from within the heart.
[**If you are going to be detoxifying your body from a substance go to an Emergency Room or a rehabilitation clinic. Detoxification can be very dangerous.**]