We have been learning in our quest for holiness that even though we have been delivered from the power of sin, we still struggle with the temptation to sin. Romans 7:21 – 23 explains this very well, “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Our heart’s desire is to live for God, sin-free. However, we struggle with the sin which is actually dwelling in our hearts. Mark 7:21-23 “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Our “heart” is where we make decisions for good or evil. It is where our conscience resides. Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’ ” If our hearts are not given fully in submission to God, sin will have its way and turn us toward evil. We must stay in God’s word to remain submitted to Him. But, only reading without applying is not enough. We must take what He says and use it to change our way of thinking. James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
So we have to be on alert and constantly guard our hearts. Prayerfully ask God to reveal to you any hidden areas of sin that need to be dealt with. Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” And the way God reveals to us what is in our hearts that is offensive to Him is through His word. Did you know that The Bible is alive? It is! It is the living word of God. This is how you can read a scripture one day and come back to it at a later time and receive a personalized meaning that you did not see before. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
At this point I would like to encourage you not to become discouraged over your lack of holiness. Satan is known as the accuser and one of his tools is discouragement. Revelation 12:10 “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.’ ”
Another tactic of Satan is to deceive our minds. Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” We are deceived into believing we are immune to a particular temptation. We hear of someone struggling with a certain sin and think we are not going to allow that to happen in our life. This is dangerous thinking. 1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” We must also guard ourselves from being dragged into another’s sin. Galatians 6:1 “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
We are also moved into disobedience when we question what God says in His word. This is what cause the first sin in the Garden of Eden. Eve questioned what God had said and disobeyed His direct commands (Genesis 3:1-5).
Stay alert and on guard. Do not let sin gain mastery over your life, and do not give the devil a stronghold with which he can have victory in your life. Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”