I don't know about anyone else, but it makes me angry when I sin. Paul sounds alot like me in Romans chapter 7. He says, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." He also writs that he sees "in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am!" Paul hated that he couldn't stop sinning even though he was following God. He doesn't excuse his sin, but he shares his struggle with the church in Rome.
It's hard sometimes to fight against sin. Sometimes we downplay it as something less serious than what it is. Other times we feel trapped; like we don't have any other choice but to sin. Whatever the case may be, we sin. And if we are Christians eventually we will hate it. David was a man after God's own heart, and once he was finally convicted of his sin with Bathsheeba he was broken. He cried out to God in Psalm 51, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions." David begs for mercy.
Many will often think that the church is supposed to be perfect. The difference between the church and the world is not that we are without sin. The difference is how we respond to sin. The world is okay with sin. The world doesn't think twice about it. Even if they know they are wrong, they would rather be free to do whatever they want to do and whatever makes them feel good at the time. Christians or the church hates sin. When we sin, we regret that we have sinned against God. We are actually sorry for the sin, instead of being sorry that we got caught. I'm a pastor, and I sin. Every single Christian in this world still sins. The difference is that we are trying to avoid it and we are regretfully sorry when we give into its temptations.
Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members that that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away." Now is Jesus calling us to gouge out our eyes and chop off our hands? Not exactly. He's calling us to do whatever is necessary to keep ourselves from sinning. He is pointing out that sin will kill us and we need to cut out whatever is causing us to sin. So what is the best way to avoid sin? How do we kill sin in our lives?
Paul tells us in Romans 8 to live or walk in the Spirit. If we walk with God and seek the things of God, then we won't sin. Am I saying that we are not walking with God when we sin? Exactly, when we sin we walk off the path that God is walking down with us. We walk off and God calls us back. Sometimes He puts things in our path in an effort to get us back on track. In Ephesians 4, Paul adds that we are to "put off (our) old self, which belongs to (our) former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of (our) minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." Paul's point here is that we can't be more holy by trying to avoid sin. If I spend every day worrying about what sin I'm going to have to avoid, then I'm never going to accomplish anything. Paul encourages us to put on the new man, that is made in the likeness of God. So by allowing the Holy Spirit to control us and by seeking to do the good things that God has called us to do, then we will naturally avoid sin because God's will and work never leads us to sin. When Jesus told us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation," He wasn't implying that we were led into temptation by God. A better way to understand that is we should pray, "keep us from leading ourselves into temptation."
Above all Jesus tells us not to worry about anything but seeking His kingdom and His righteousness. The two greatest commands that we have are to love God and to love people. So if we just stick to those things, we won't sin, but when we do, we must remember 1 John 2:1. John writes to us that we may not sin, "but if anyone does sin, we have and advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." So though we strive to avoid sin, we will fall sometimes, but when we do, it is important to remember that Jesus stands on our behalf ready to forgive us and defend us before God the Father.
In light of avoiding sin, what are some practical ways that you have found that help you avoid sin? What are some verses that you memorize that help you resist temptation? Share and comment below or on the Facebook page.