Today I want to talk about a dangerous subject. I want to suggest to you that you can defeat any sin in your life.
Why is that so dangerous, you might ask?
First, because that message is spiritually opposed. The Bible says that we have an Enemy that has malicious intent against us. One of the ways that this Enemy works is through lies, and boy is he good at it. One of the lies that he masterfully convinces us of is the idea that we are stuck in our sin. That we will never defeat it, that it has mastery over us. Even the Enemy can't keep you from believing that you are forgiven of your sin (and for some of you, he has!), he at least wants to keep you from believing you have the power to stop.
Second, because that message is easily distorted. The Bible says that only the work of Jesus can save us. Sadly, whenever we read or hear about the need to overcome our sinful behaviors, we quickly think that we need to do so before or in order to be saved. Ironically, it is because we are saved that we have this power to defeat our sin. So let me say it as clearly as I can, and don't you ever forget it: You do not defeat your sin so that the power to be saved is yours, rather it is because you are saved that you have the power to defeat sin.
Finally, because it can be devastatingly discouraging when you fail. Think about it. If it is true that you can defeat sin in your life, and you struggle to do so, how likely is it that you will have self-diminishing thoughts? You will think something like, "There is obviously something fatally wrong with me," or "I must not be saved if I can't over come this," or something equally devastating. If you make that agreement, you are just a hop, skip, and jump away from quitting entirely. Some people quit battling the sin, which is life-sabotaging enough, but others go as far as to disqualify themselves from Christianity.
So, it is dangerous to speak of our ability to defeat any sin in our lives. But it is also necessary.
Peter says that "you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." Who wouldn't want that? Dangerous or not, for any of us who follow Christ, we will move right into it, and "make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control." (2 Peter 1:4-6)
For the Christian, is it so hard to believe that the power that defeats death at the end of your life is the same power that defeats sin in the midst of it? Evidently so. But for those of us who want to mature in Christ, it is a mandatory move.