Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to Overcome Sin? Sinning Less in a Sin-Filled World – Part II

The question was asked as to how do we can limit the sin in our life or how do we avoid doing wrong especially when it’s in our DNA and it’s so easy?   

First and foremost; it has to be our decision.  We have to make a conscious decision to resist sin and temptation.  Resist the devil and he will flee from us, but if we entertain the devil; he will run to us and cause us to fall into that very thing we are trying to avoid.   

Whenever we entertain Satan by flirting with that guy or girl; gossiping with that friend or co-worker; speaking or acting seductively with the opposite sex etc; we automatically give the enemy a VIP pass to our lives.   

This is not to say that we will never make a mistake but we can’t use making a mistake to justify our actions especially when we know better.  Sin should not be practiced and certainly not habitual.  We shouldn’t intentionally decide to sin because that is how you feel.  I have often heard of saved couples moving in together to save money.   

Now, this is what I would call practicing sin or habitually sinning.  If you are a Christian; your desire should be to live according to the Word and the word distinctly prohibits this practice.  That is not to target just those persons but the same goes for those gossiping; indulging in alcohol; practicing lying, cheating, jealously, pride, wanting what someone else has etc.  The list goes on and on....

We have to remove every thought and desire that contradicts the Word so that our feelings/emotions will not overtake us.   Our feelings should be subject to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and we have to constantly stay in the Word (mediation and in prayer)  so that it can take root in our spirit and when our feelings/emotions rise up; we can put them in its place with through the Word of God.  

Our feelings/emotions should never be in control of our decisions.  With that being said; I am going to list three ways we can limit or avoid sin or wrong doing:

#1 Change Our Mindset (Thought Pattern or Process).  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5) – Adopt the mentality of Christ through the Word.   When we were a child (unsaved), we thought as a child; but now that we are gown (saved); we have to put away childish things/behavior (1 Corinthians 13:11) -Our thought pattern is simply no longer the same.  We have to weigh options and consider the outcome from a biblical perspective vice a society perspective.  What was ok then is no longer ok now. We are no longer of the world so we can’t think like the world (John 17:11). Our minds have been transformed (Romans 12:2).  We will always be confronted with evil (opportunity to do wrong/displease God),but we have to make up in our minds to do it God’s way.

#2 Change Our Behavior (Doing things and going places not pleasing to God):  Old things are passed away; all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17) No longer comfortable doing, saying and behaving in the same way.    

Listening to music full of profanity or sexual connotation should not be as easy as it was before.  Using profanity shouldn’t be the norm anymore.  Having sex outside of marriage should bring about conviction (guilt).  Be mindful of the places we go and the things we entertain.  Things that are clearly not in line with the Word of God should not be amusing to us.  We have to continuously rethink our actions and behavior concerning things in our life.  We shouldn’t be complacent in anything outside of the order of God.  Personal conviction at the least should be in our hearts when our lives are contradictory to God’s Word.

#3 Change Our Company (People we hang around or consider our friend) – Be not unequally joined with unbelievers (those that are habitually living a life of sin).  How can light live with darkness?  What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).  The answer to all of these questions is it’s impossible to have well maintained relationship with someone whose morals, values and beliefs are completely separate from yours.  Oil and water do not mix.  That does not only pertain to dating/courting and marriage but relationships and friendships with others.  

Your friends, colleagues, partners etc have to be on the same page as you or you will often run into unhealthy conflict.  That is not to say that you can’t talk to people that are not saved or living a godly life but when it is common practice for you to hang around these people knowing that their lives are completely different from yours than a self-evaluation/check at some point must take place.  

 We all should experience a personal conviction anytime we are outside of the will of God.  Just because Shawn and Lisa were your friends from grade school or close cousin; if their lives are going in a completely different directions than yours; perhaps, you need to refocus or rethink the closeness of the relationship.   

You shouldn’t throw them away or not ever speak with them but ultimately the relationships established should be healthy, fulfilling and godly and not formed or maintained by familiarity or kinship.  Something to definitely think about!!
Until til next time; Be Blessed!!!!

A4J Diva,
Treal Ravenel,
Co-Founder of Detour Movement Inc.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

How to Overcome Sin? Sinning Less, in a Sin-Filled World Part I

How many of us have heard over and over again to stay away from sin or blatantly to "stop sinning?"  How can we stay away from something that is accepted and so easily accessible in society?  Everywhere we go, we come across a form of sin or wrongdoing of some sort; rather it is at home, watching TV, amongst friends and family, at the store, on our jobs, or even at church.  It’s all around us.  We were born into sin; we have a sinful nature (Psalms 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”).  So there you have it; sin lives in our DNA.  It’s in our bloodline; our nature.   In knowing this; how do we stay away from something that lives within our physical body-our nature?  I remember when I use to harp on how hard it was to stop sinning.  I would make up all kinds of excuses like:  I am human, but God knows my heart.  How could I stop sinning being that sin is natural and God knows this? Shouldn't there be balance in my life; everyone sins here and there?  I can go on with the number of excuses that I would offer myself and people as to why I wanted to sin or just do wrong (anything that would displease God).  I knew that I had a choice and so I choose; that is to do what I “felt” like doing.  All too often; this is simply the case.  We do things because we can and because we FEEL like it.  We allow our feelings to take control and make the decisions for us instead of telling those feelings to shut up and align with the word of God.  We become subject to our moods and our emotions and have a tendency to just go with the flow, yet we sometimes lose sight of what we should be doing and just do what we feel. 

As I matured in God; I now see how ridiculous I sounded.  Instead of being honest with myself and others in realizing that I needed to be transformed and delivered; I played another card - my feelings - my will to do. God gives us FREE WILL and I for one took every advantage of it.  In that state of free will; we find ourselves constantly asking God for forgiveness and then offering up some form of repentance.  But how many of us even know or understand what repent really means?  Repent is to turn away from; to STOP doing, to cease from, but it is hardly used in the proper way.  We view forgiveness as repentance, but they are totally separate from one other.  Forgiveness means “The action or process of forgiving or being forgiven”; to have mercy upon ( Act 3:19 says “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”.  When the bible speaks of repentance, it is instructing us to turn from that thing or act completely in order to avoid certain ungodly behaviors.  I for one know that anytime I am lacking spiritual connection (fasting, prayer, studying/meditating, attending regular service etc); I become more accessible to sinning or doing wrong because I resort to operating in my feelings or my flesh.  Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Although I am strong spiritually; If I fail to constantly build myself, I will become accessible to sin.  So, how then, or what can we do to limit the sin in our life or to avoid doing wrong especially when it’s in our DNA and it’s so EASY?  Well, first……….  Tune in next time to learn more:  “How to Overcome Sin?"

Treal Ravenel
Co-Founder Detour Movement Inc.

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