Habitual sin – How can I overcome it?
For the believer, it is important to note that the power to overcome habitual sin already exists within you through the Holy Spirit. Overcoming sin is possible, even when it is not easy.
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But how can we overcome a habitual sin? First, we are called to pray regarding all things, including our attempts to overcome sin. God knows our desires and honors our requests to live holy lives before Him.
Second, replace old habits with new, positive habits. Ephesians 4:22-23 teaches, "to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds." One new habit can include listening to Christian music when tempted to fall into a habitual sin. The songs can then focus your heart on God and what is right.
Third, recognize that overcoming a habitual sin usually takes time. Your sinful habit likely formed over weeks, months, or even years. To overcome this sin may take a similar amount of time. Experts note that new habits usually take 30 days to begin feeling natural. Expect at least this long for the new habits you choose to start feeling normal and to become a replacement for bad, sinful habits.
Fourth, find others to help you. The body of Christ is designed to help you grow. Find a friend, minister, or counselor to walk with you through the change process and you'll discover encouragement and accountability that makes the process more beneficial and successful.
Fifth, grow in God's Word. When you are reading and learning God's principles, there is usually less temptation to live in sinful ways. It has been said a tattered Bible belongs to someone who isn't. This statement does carry some truth. Those focused on learning God's truth are less likely to be walking in sin.
Sixth, invest your time in serving God and others. When you are busy helping others in need, you have less time to follow through on temptations to continue habitual sins.
Seventh, get or stay healthy. Many of our temptations are more powerful when we are tired or are not thinking clearly. One of the best defenses against sin may simply be a good night's sleep! Whenever possible, take proper care of your body so you are more alert and can better stand against temptation.
God's power is in you and God is for you in overcoming habitual sin. Do not be discouraged. God will help you through the temptations you face to sin today.
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