Every time we give into the temptation to sin we develop the habit of sinning. A habit is defined as a “settled or regular tendency or practice, especially that is hard to give up”. When we are used to a particular sin, we will find it extremely hard to give it up. And the longer we have been sinning in a certain area, the harder it will be to stop. On our own we are powerless to completely stop sinning. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to break the power that sin has in our lives. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we are slaves to sin. Romans 6:19 tells us to offer ourselves as slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:19-23 “I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And we are to retrain ourselves to be godly. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Romans 8:13 “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
Because habits are developed through frequent repetition, we must consistently say no to wrong behavior and exchange our ungodly ways for Christ’s righteousness. The more we give in to sin, the harder it will be to stop. And the opposite is true that the more we choose godly behavior, the easier it will be to live rightly.
One way to retrain our minds is to spend time each day in prayer and reading God’s Word. Also, be very careful what you are putting in your mind. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Another habit to be broken is the habit to give in”just this once”. Remember, Ephesians 4:27 “do not give the devil a foothold.” And in Song of Solomon 2:15 “it is the little foxes that spoil the vine”. Compromise on little issues leads to compromise on bigger ones. And the more we allow sin in our lives, the harder it will be to remove that sin.
So that leads us to the third point which is to never let an exception occur. Never give in, no matter if it is a one time thing, or seemingly insignificant. All sin is sin in God’s eyes. We must seek to be holy in all areas of our lives.
Lastly, don’t be discouraged by failure. Proverbs 24:16 “Good people might fall again and again, but they always get up. It is the wicked who are defeated by their troubles.” A failure is someone who gives up and stops trying. Please don’t do that! All have sinned and fall short of God’s goodness. But God graciously forgives and leads us to righteousness.