How do you battle sin? How do you 'kick' a bad habit? You, personally, how do you do it?
The New Year is often full of resolutions. We find areas in our lives that we insist on changing. Most of them center around self-discipline. I am going to exercise more. I am going to lose 10 pounds. I am going to stop doing this, start doing that, pick up this hobby, drop that hobby... basically, we are going to work on disciplining ourselves. Is that the approach we take to sin?
Is struggling with sin really a matter of lack of discipline? How are we taught to combat sin and sinful habits in the Bible?
Nearly all of the references in the Bible to dealing with sin tell us to run. They don't tell us to stand and fight. They don't even instruct us to have self-discipline. They tell us to run. Run. Flee. God even says He will provide a way to escape... not a way to fight, but a way to get away.
There are times we approach sin like we are in some self-help program trying to make us a stronger person. Instead of fleeing alcohol, we are told to stand defiantly in front of the bar and say, "Ah HA! I have conquered you. You have no power on me." We step into the bar and take our seat and order a water. Look at us. We sure must be strong, sitting at a bar and ordering water... yep, we've beat alcohol alright. Problem is, every day we sit in front of that bar we are more likely to fall.
That is how it is with sin. You can't beat it by standing defiantly and sticking your tongue out at the devil (pride anyone?). Instead, we are told to run. Doesn't seem very victorious to turn tail and run, does it? Isn't running a sign of defeat? Not to us. Running is a sign of faith and trust.
See, when we focus on 'beating' a sin, our focus is on the sin. We, essentially, have our back turned on our only Help and are trying to duke it out ourselves. But, when we run, we run into the arms of Christ, and though running may be a sign of weakness, we know that His strength is perfect in our weakness. It's a different approach, indeed, but we lead a different life. We have different motivations, different goals, different priorities. We are a peculiar people, and God calls this people to run, to flee from sin, as Lot did from Sodom. To pack up, move out, and never ever look back.
How do you need to run, this year? Maybe you need to cut ties with some unGodly friends. Don't trick yourself into thinking that you are stronger because you hang out with them. More than likely, they are undermining your faith. Eventually, you will fall. Maybe you need to unplug the TV. Unplug the computer. Radical? maybe, but isn't our faith a radical faith? Doesn't God call us to forsake all and follow Him? When it comes to sin, we are to throw it aside and run away. That might mean leaving some people or some things behind... but is anything too high a cost for a better relationship with Christ?
Are you willing to run.