The Battle Within

The Struggle that is Sin

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand…Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6: 13-15)

Do you struggle with sin? Is there a secret in your heart or life that haunts you and makes you wonder how God can love you? Does it plague you daily? Are you in a constant state of trying to resist it because you know in your heart that it is wrong and that it would be a bad choice for you and for those you love? Is it something which you have tried to control and change, but haven’t been able too? Do you fear you are letting God down?
We are all born sinful. Sin is an inherited disease which has been passed down from generation to generation all the way back to Adam and Eve. God didn’t create us that way. He created us perfect and holy like Himself.

He didn’t create us to die. Rather He created us to live forever on the beautiful earth He had made for us. But Adam and Eve changed all that when they chose to listen to the devil rather than God. The devil is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)He convinced Eve to go against God’s will and it changed life for all mankind. Since the fall into sin all people must die someday.

But here’s the thing – God loved the people He had made. Because He loved them He provided them with an escape from death. He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die in their place.  Jesus is God – the second person of the Trinity, but He became a man for our sake. He lived a sinless life and He suffered the punishment we deserve for our sins when He died on the cross.
He was forsaken by God the Father and suffered the pain of Hell for all people. But He conquered death and the devil when He rose from the dead on that first Easter Sunday.  He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead (Colossians’ 1:18). In other words, He is the first man to rise from death – never to die again.
Jesus knows what it is like to be tempted. He was faced with the same temptations we are – temptations of heart and body. Jesus…was lead by the Spirit in the desert where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.

(Luke 4:1,2)

He knows what pain is. He suffered much physical pain during His trial, and at the cross. A crown of thorns was pushed into His head. He was beaten with a whip. Nails were pounded through His hands and feet. We can’t even imagine the suffering he endured at that cross.
He knows what it is like to be humiliated. He was spit upon and laughed at. He was stripped of His clothing. They took his clothes dividing them into four shares, one for each of them…(John 19:23)
He knows what it is like to be hated and an outcast. Even the people in His own home town rejected Him, possibly even members of His own family. Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor. (Mark 6:4)He was hated and rejected by the Jews, God’s chosen people. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.(Isaiah 53:3)
When you are tempted by the sin or sins that plague you daily, remember that Jesus knows what you are going through. He knows how hard it is to resist. He knows that the devil makes sin look wonderful and fun.
The devil knows how to lie and convince people they are doing the right thing when it is totally wrong and against God’s will. He has a way of telling the conscience to – go ahead and do it. You deserve to have a little fun and happiness in your life. He tries to convince us to walk away from the people in our lives who love us and who are counting on us, by turning our thoughts inward to ourselves. He makes us think about what “we” need in our lives and tells us it doesn’t matter who we hurt in the process.
So how do we overcome this daily struggle? How are we able to resist temptation and honor God? We sin so much that we can’t even remember and don’t even realize at times that we are sinning. How do we control the thoughts that go through our minds and the feelings in our hearts that go against God’s will for us?
The sad truth is that we can’t stop ourselves from sinning, but because of His love for us God has provided us an escape from the weight of sin that plagues us and drags us down to destruction. Because of Jesus we are holy. Our sins are blotted out. We are washed in the blood of the lamb. Through faith in the “Son” we are covered with His holiness. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
When your heart’s desire is something that you know goes against God’s will, don’t despair. Hold on to the cross of Christ who suffered your punishment for you. Go to a quiet place and pray. If there is no private or quiet place to go to, pray right where you are. Ask Him to help you resist the temptation before you. Talk to Him with your heart and with your soul and in faith that He will hear you. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)He will give you the strength you need to resist temptation. He will lift the weight of sin from your shoulders and provide a way out that is good for you and for all involved. God’s way will be a blessing to you and will give glory to His Holy name.
Remember that when you sin you are not alone. We are all sinners. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)No matter how much good we do, it can’t make up for the bad. But there is hope and forgiveness for the sinner, in Jesus. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness  (1 John 6: 9). These are not just empty words. I have seen God at work in my own life. He does answer prayer. He won’t let you down. Trust in Him. He will give you the strength to resist temptation. He will give you a new resolve to live your life for Him and to His glory. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6: 16-18)
Strive to win the prize. Live your life here on earth for the future. The here and now is very fleeting. It won’t last for long and it is a struggle at best. If you miss out on some fun or happiness here for Jesus sake, don’t worry. He will make it up to you. You will be rewarded.
Run in such a way as to get the prize…I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus…Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

(1 Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:14, Revelations 2:10)

Smile! God loves you! 🙂
By Christine – Gloria Dei!!

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