An End to Habitual Sin

Daily Devotional.
InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley

Thursday, December 2, 2010
Read | Ephesians 6:10-11

Children and Parents

 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”[a]
4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Bondservants and Masters

   
5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

The Whole Armor of God

   
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

A Gracious Greeting

   
21 But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.
23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Satan looks for weak spots in a believer’s life where he can set up a stronghold. Once his fortress is established, he knows that the person will justify it, defend it, and keep adding bricks to it, one sin at a time. The appeal can be so strong that we return to a habitual sin even after confessing before God. Satan whispers, “One more time won’t hurt,” and we fall to temptation again.

Just as in medieval times when armies warred over high rock fortresses, a sin stronghold is usually the ground for a skirmish. We might expect the fight to be primarily between God and Satan, but that’s not the case—the Lord can knock down the Devil’s walls instantly. Instead, the struggle goes on within our spirit: Do we want God to break our habit or not?

Giving up habitual sin is hard. The sinner finds comfort, pleasure, and/or satisfaction in the practice. Hot on the heels of those emotions, however, are guilt, shame, and despair, which drive a person to plead for help. But holy God cannot cleanse unrighteousness until people genuinely repent. True repentance means that a believer sees a sin for the wickedness that it is and turns his back on it. And we turn away as often as it takes—one time, a hundred times, or every single day for the rest of our lives.

Just thinking about giving up a sinful habit brings some people to the brink of despair. They want to be free of a stronghold, but the thought of resisting temptation makes them feel weak. Here is good news: the Holy Spirit’s power is enough to enable any believer to walk away. That includes you.

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About jams4JESUS

I... 'will seek [First] the LORD my God, and I will find Him if I seek Him with all my heart and with all my soul.' Deut. 4:29 I... 'shall love the LORD my God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my strength.' Deut. 6:5 I... 'Trust in the LORD with all my heart, And lean not on my own understanding; In all ways... acknowledge Him, And He shall make my path straight.' Proverbs 3:5-6 I... 'remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you' 2Tim. 1:6 I... 'thank God, whom I serve... without ceasing... I... remember YOU in my prayers night and day,' 2Tim. 1:3 I... am to 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to God' Phil. 4:6 I... KNOW: 'I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.' Phil.4:13 'My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.' Phil. 4:19 'My GOD will never leave me, nor forsake me.' Heb. 13:5 JESUS so loves me, this I... KNOW
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