Overcoming Besetting Sins. 04/22/2014 (Evening thought)

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

This passage of scripture encourages us to look to God who alone can give us permanent and complete victory over those sins that usually trip us up. The passage also tells us that the process is not going to be easy, for cultivated or inherited sins and evil propensities have the tendency to nag at us, even though we we have been delivered by God's mighty power. All those who expect victory over besetting sins to be an easy road are sadly deluded, for the Bible tells us that mortal combat against these temptations must be waged through the power of the Holy Ghost, in order for victory to be maintained over the long haul.

This is what Paul was writing about when he described the fierce conflict being waged in the domain of  his mind between righteousness and those tendencies that clamored for the mastery. As a matter of fact, the Greek words that are used in the passage in Romans chapter seven and eight, actually describe a military campaign carried on by temptations and sinful cravings against our souls, that seek the overthrow of the Christian. Let's read:

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Now friends, because of the severity of the conflict, we are told that there is only one way in which we can live victoriously, and that's by constantly looking to Jesus as the Author and finisher of our faith. "The Author", meaning that Christ is the one who instituted it, and "The Finisher", meaning that He is the only one who can bring it to completion. One of the reasons why we need to understand how victory is gained is because former sins have the ability to resurface in our lives if we are not kept by the power of God through faith, and if we become weary in cooperating with Him in gaining the victory. This possibility is what Jesus was referring to after healing a man who had been physically crippled because of the indulgence of sin. Let's read:

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

Peter also reiterates the same sacred truth. Let's read:

2nd Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Furthermore, the activities of the devil in seeking our overthrow do not cease entirely just because Christ has given us a stunning victory. What actually takes place is that satan retreats for awhile to regroup his forces, with the sole purpose of launching a more severe and determined or complex attack. Let's read:

Luke 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

And so the Bible gives us very important instruction that's necessary for victory on a continuous basis, and we need to observe and follow the following scriptures very carefully, if we desire freedom from sin every day. Let's read:

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For 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. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Christ must be made our all in all every day, and we need to be girded with power from on high every moment, so that we would not make the fatal mistake of trusting to our own strength to resist temptation. God, and God alone can save us from ourselves, and He invites us to depend upon Him for the victory over besetting sins, for His promises to us are as sure as the sun rising in the east. We therefore end with a passage of scripture, pointing us to God, who alone can keep us from falling or retrogressing into former errors. Let's read:

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

May this promise be materialized in our Christian experience as we travel the straight and narrow pathway to heaven. "Good night" and God bless!