“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:8 a NLT)
Yesterday, we looked briefly at the issue of sin. We used an example from the Bible of a woman who had committed adultery and was brought to Jesus, whose final words to her were “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11b NLT) Do you understand that’s essentially what the Lord says to each of us upon our confession of faith and the beginning of our walk with Him?
Yet, I’ve seen across the years an increasing reliance upon the doctrine of grace to deliver us from what the Bible clearly says is sin. What are we really talking about here? Habitual sin. We too often convey to new believers: “Just do the best you can, but if you can’t control your urges, don’t worry about it, we’re all human. God will forgive you.” Yes, of course, God forgives the cry of a repentant heart, but therein lies the issue. If there’s little or no desire to turn from the sin in our life, we’re living a lie to believe God will tolerate a life of sin under the guise of a profession of faith.
In 1 John 2:6 says: “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” (NLT) Can any of us do that? No, but that’s no excuse for not striving to live more and more like Jesus every minute of every day. That’s our goal, but if our mindset is: “Well, I know I can’t help but sin, so I guess it’s okay. I’ll just ask for forgiveness, and everything will be fine.” What you think about comes about!
If all we can think about is our next fix, or our next view of pornography or our next sexual affair, etc. then that’s the road we’re on and it’s not the road that will lead to life. The Bible says: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 NLT)
Am I suggesting we have to be perfect? Of course not. What I’m suggesting is we stop depending on our own willpower or discipline to do in our lives what only the Holy Spirit can do. After overcoming death and the grave, Jesus told His followers: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:8 a NLT)
That word “power” is the word from which comes our English word, “dynamite.” I can’t discipline myself in my own strength to avoid sinful habits, but I can, with Paul, declare: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13 NLT) The battle with sin is a battle that is fought and won in our mind, in what we choose to use as our point of focus. Focus on sin = defeat! Focus on God’s Word, and the promises He gives us to live a victorious life = VICTORY!
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3: “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning, and to destroy false arguments.” (NLT) This is not only how we pray for others, it’s how we defeat the enemy in our own heart and mind. Our goal is to grow in our likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29) and we can’t grow in Him and be positive influences to reach others for Him, if we can’t get our own minds out of the gutters of sin.
That’s one of the many reasons we really do need each other – to pray for one another, to love one another, to walk closely with one another in the strength of Christ Jesus. When one of us is weak, we can reach out to a stronger brother (if you’re a man) or sister (if you’re a woman) in the faith to support and help us through the rough times. We need never be alone in our walk with Jesus.
Blessings, Ed 😊