Friday, July 8, 2016

Overcoming Habitual Sin

Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men,12 training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, 13 awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior[a] Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. RSV
   Sin does not play favorites. It works its way into everyone's life without regard to age, race, or economic status. Regardless of the form it takes, sin always tempts us to choose our own way over God's way. Rebellion is harmful and addictive, and repetitions of sinful behavior lead to more of the same, until the action is so ingrained in our lives that we cannot stop We become enslaved to it.
  The descent into a pattern of disobedience begins in our minds. Once our thinking is involved, the influence extends to our behavior, eventually progressing until we are more entrenched than we ever imagined. Deception permeates the whole process. We tell ourselves there is no harm in what we're doing - after all, other people behave the same way.
   Sin's demands keep increasing, and yet its benefits are only short-term. Eventually, we experience emptiness instead of satisfaction, pain in place of comfort, and loss rather than gain. Habitual sin splits our mind and emotions. Then we spend less time meeting our responsibilities and more time satisfying cravings. Our care and concern for others diminish, too. Over time, feeling of guilt and entrapment can take their toll and lead toward self-destruction.
   Faith in Jesus Christ sets us free from the domination of sin in our lives. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the power to say no to the habits that control us. The road to freedom starts with confession, followed by an admission that we cannot stop on our own. Committing to follow God's direction is next. The struggle may be fierce, but in Jesus, victory is assured (1 Cor. 15:57).
Stanley, Charles F. In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. February 2016. Atlanta. page 33.

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