Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Struggle Against Sin


In today’s Christianese when we have a moral failing, aka sin, in our life, we say that we struggle with that issue. 

For example, my moral failing is gluttony.  I love food—I love gourmet food, and I love junk food.  There are very few dishes I dislike, and even less that I won’t outright eat. When I miss a meal, I get cranky and will bite your head off . . . literally.  That’s how hungry I get.

Needless to say, I’m overweight. 

I’ve tried diets and exercising, and when I first came to Christ, I was winning the battle and lost over 100 pounds.   Then when I got married, I took a job telecommuting to work via the Internet, so I could spend time with my family; my wife almost died during child-birth, so I was left raising an infant by myself while she was in the hospital; and when my wife recovered, her work schedule now frequently leaves me home alone with our son and the fridge. 

At this point the only time thoughts of diet and exercise come up is when my pants get too tight, and I have to go get the next size up.

I can look back and see how I’ve got to this point circumstantially, but the real reason why I’ve got to this point isn’t because of circumstances, it’s because of my own lack of self-control.  I’m losing the struggle against sin.

And I think anyone reading this can identify with me.  We all have areas where we fail; where sin wins the struggle and pulls us to our knees again and again. Lately, the scripture that has been coming to mind when I think about what we call “struggling” is found in Hebrews:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4)

That last verse really says a lot doesn’t it?  When we struggle, are we really resisting when we fall into sin over and over? 

That doesn’t seem like much of a struggle. The great cloud of witnesses “were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated”—Jesus resisted unto death. (Hebrews 11:35-37)

This is what the Bible defines as “struggling” against sin.  So, are we really struggling if we continue to sin, or are we just sinning?

The more I’ve thought and prayed about this, the less appeal food has had, and I think I’m on the road to victory and real resistance.  Won’t you join me in true resistance of sin in your life even to the point of suffering if that’s what it takes?

Featured Non-Profit

This month a Christian non-profit that is worthy of support is being featured every post until Christmas.  The criteria for being featured are that they bring glory to God, they are financially accountable, and finally they must have a mission that includes one of the following: reach the lost, empower believers, or help those in need in the name of Jesus Christ.


Today’s featured Non-Profit is the North American Mission Board.

Particularly I would like to focus on the disaster relief element of the NAMB.  If you’ve ever been in a disaster scenario in America or around the world, you’ll no doubt recognize the yellow insignia of the Southern Batist’s Disaster Relief group.  While they have many operations in disaster relief, one of the main things they do is setup feeding units for those without food and clean water. 

My home church has two of these units that can be called into action at any time and feed upwards of 40,000 people a day.  Tell me that’s not awesome.

What’s even more awesome is that they do it all in the name of Jesus Christ and give all glory to God.  They evangelize in word and deed, so that the Lamb of God may receive the reward of His suffering.

If you would like to support the NAMB, you can follow this link.

See the video below for more about what the disaster relief team does:

5 comments:

Emily said...

Here by way of Use it on Sunday again. My sin struggle is the same as yours! Food has been what I've used when I'm happy, sad, angry, lonely, etc for most of my life. I've written about it quite a bit on my blog and the more I write about it and see it in the context of God's word the more able I am to resist that sin and control my body and build new habits. So thankful His Spirit in us makes us able...

nmpreach said...

Amen! Thanks for this great reminder of pressing on to be holy. I wonder if we really know what it means to struggle? Hmmm. Thanks!

Lisa notes... said...

Praying for your struggle with food. I struggle too, though few would guess it by looking at me. I love food more than I should and I constantly fight the urge to eat more. The struggles aren't always visible. But may our victories in Christ be visible and honoring to Him.

Last April when tornadoes blew away homes and all electricity in north Alabama for a week, I ate a few meals compliments of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief at a local Baptist church near my home. What a wonderful ministry!

Andrew Bernhardt said...

There are various sins I struggle with... some more so than others. Sometimes the struggle is hard when it's in a 'gray' area, i.e. something not a sin in itself, but it gets in the way of doing the right thing ('...whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin').

I like certain computer games, but they take up too much of my time. So a couple weeks ago I deleted them off my computer and (knowing my weekness) threw out the install disks so I wouldn't be tempted to reinstall them.

I still get the desire to play those games sometimes, and I expect that desire to fade slowly (just as the desire to smoke lingers after quitting). But totally removing the software helped to make the path a little more level for my feet. I just need to do the same for my other areas of temptation.

stephen porter said...

Thanks for the comments all.

Emily, I'll pray for you too!

nmpreach, I have a feeling we don't, not really.

Lisa, amen. I'll be praying for you too.

Andrew, I did the same thing with my cigarettes, video games, movies, music, and books long ago, and it was easier than the current struggle. But I know I've God on my side, so victory is assured once I start truly fighting.

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