In our prior installment, How Do I Stop Sinning? Overcoming Your Worst Sins, Beginning And End detailed a Biblical method for removing your most pressing sins from your life. In this article we will provide another Biblical strategy to truly attacking and conquering the sinful lusts that plague your life the most. If you truly want to stop the sins that you have such a tough time dealing with – the same sins that will make you question how you keep backsliding and committing them over and over again – God’s Word provides a model for resisting the temptation.
The Temptation of Jesus Christ In the Wilderness – A Model for Spiritual Warfare
When The Lord Jesus Christ commenced his earthly ministry, He was immediately tested in a direct confrontation with Satan:
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:1-4.
The Devil Knows Your Weakness
Do not doubt for a moment that the war you are in fighting is personal. The Bible calls the Devil a “…a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour..” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan wants to destroy you, your family and your testimony. So, it is no coincidence that you keep encountering situations that lead you down the same dark road of sin against God. Satan will tempt you where you are weakest. In the case of The Lord, it was no different.
Fasting And Prayer – A Mighty Weapon In Spiritual Warfare
Many commentaries on the Matthew 4 account start by noting that Jesus would have been incredibly hungry at that time, making the temptation to supernaturally transform stones to bread that much more difficult to resist. However, while The Lord was indeed hungry, He was spiritually strong after 40 days of fasting. And that is the first weapon seen from this account: fasting and prayer.
Too often we as Christians underestimate the dynamic power of fasting and the commands to do it as clearly stated in Scripture. When the prophet Daniel wanted to repent for the Israelites who were captive in Babylon for 70 years, he fasted:
“And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:” – Daniel 9:3-5.
When Queen Esther had to go before the King of Persia to try and save the Israelites there from a plot to exterminate them all, she told Mordecai that it was time to fast:
“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.” – Esther 4:16-17.
Knowing her life was on the line this courageous woman made sure the proper spiritual preparation was carried out before her mission for God’s people.
Fasting demonstrates your sorrow over your sin. It is a plea to God’s mercy by showing that bread alone will not satisfy or sustain us. It is only God’s Spirit that can bring change and fasting is a humble, remorseful acknowledgment of this truth to the Creator.
Fornication, adultery, racism, pornography, anger, or jealousy are powerful temptations that can leave us feeling ashamed, dejected and hopeless. Have you ever fasted to stop sexual sin in your life? Have you ever fasted to repent for the pain you have caused others because of sins you keep repeating? If you want to break the cycle of sin in your life fast and pray for God’s mercy and strength to no longer be a slave to sinful rebellion.
”Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. ” – Joel 2:12-14.
Memorize Targeted Scripture
”Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” – Matthew 4:5-7.
At each of the 3 temptations from Satan – The Lord Jesus Christ responded by quoting the Bible. Memorizing Scripture is one of the most powerful ways to build up spiritual strength, focus on God’s Word and feed your spirit over your rebellious flesh. But notice that in each challenge The Lord responded to Satan with a verse that specifically addressed the temptation before Him.
If you are serious about removing a sin in your life, memorize the verses of Scripture about that specific temptation. Search the Bible for accounts of those believers before us who faced those challenges. There are many online and mobile resources to help you find verses by category or search term and apps that can help you memorize them.
Do you want to stop acting out in anger? Memorize 10 of the many verses in Scripture about anger and wrath. Do you want to cleanse your mind of sinful, perverse thoughts? Fill it with the many passages on purity and chastity. The Book of Ephesians says that when Christians put on their spiritual “armor of God” that you are to carry: “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Study and memorize the verses that address your worst temptations and sharpen your sword, Beloved.
Do Not Let Pleasing Others Keep You In A Sinful Rut
”Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” – Matthew 4:8-10.
Satan literally offered Jesus the opportunity to rule the world. It was the ultimate diversion tactic – the chance to be King on Earth without going to the cross – which was Christ’s mission. The only way to combat this offer was to see the world with the Heavenly perspective – not the world’s. It is God and God alone we worship, not Satan.
Now we may never have the same offer but know that many eliminating sins in many instances comes with a social cost. You may not be able to hang out at the same places or associate with the same people. It may mean you are not as cool or “lit” in the eyes of your friends on social media. It may lead to broken friendships. It may mean ending a sinful intimate relationship. Standing for Christ may lead others to despise you unjustly. And these are the temptations of worldly “glory” the Devil wants to use to keep you in sin.
In these battles, stand on God’s promises. When you are born again with the Spirit of God indwelling you, you are in this world but not of this world. You are here to serve, glorify and magnify the King of Kings, and Lord of Hosts, Jesus Christ. The Precious Redeemer who saved you from Hell. Do not let the peer pressure and worldly benefits hold you back from obeying God. Do not let the opinions of the unsaved scare you into conforming to the world in sinful pride. Use “the shield of faith.”
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-17.
You can have friends who are unsaved. You can participate in activities with those who are not believers. But do not let their actions, words or views bring you into rebellion against The Lord.
Fight the Good Fight Against Your Sin
“Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” – Matthew 4:11.
In all these struggles, remember that you are not alone. God will be there to strengthen you and comfort you. But it is our task as believers to give God space in our lives for His Spirit to work and bring the change we need. To be our strength, when we are weak. If you are sorry for your sin – repent. Fast and pray, study your Bible and commit to heart and live with the faith and perspective of a child of God and not the world.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7.