Have you heard the song "Sin Will Take You Farther" (Cathedral Quartet in 1995)? The chorus says "Sin will take you farther than you wanna go. Slowly but wholly taking control. Sin will leave you longer than you wanna stay. Sin will cost you far more than you wanna pay." How true this is! The devil uses enticing things to grab our attention and if we accept his temptation then we will be caught in his trap. Sometimes though, it is not the devils' temptation but our own evil desires that mislead us. What is sin and how can we flee from temptation?
1. Sin is disobedience to God
Any sin, an action, a word, a thought, is disobedience to God. God has told us how we are to live, what we are to think, and how to overcome evil, therefore when we sin we are going against what God has said. As the bible states, even an evil/sinful thought is breaking God's commandment, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28) & " Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer" (1 John 3:15). We are called to live obediently and wholeheartedly for God. We cannot serve two masters, either we serve the world and its evil or we serve God and His holiness.
2. Sin breaks God's heart and puts distance between Him and us.
When we sin we are not only disobeying God, but we are putting a block between Him and ourselves. The more we sin without repenting, the farther the distance becomes, and the harder our hearts turn. We are to turn from our sin, repent, and draw close to Jesus.
3. Sin poisons the person, the witness, and the church.
Sin does not only harm the person who commits it, but it harms the person's witness/testimony and causes disunity in the church. The church is not just a building you attend on Sundays and maybe Wednesday nights, it is the bride of Christ. If you are saved, you are representing the church. The church is one body and each Christian is a member of that body. We all are unique and have different talents and skills but we are attached to one unit and therefore are called to live in unity with each other and be of one mind. When you sin, you are bringing disunity to the body of the church and if sinning openly, you are causing others to stumble, and non-Christians to turn away. We are the temple of God, our bodies are to be presented to God as a living sacrifice, clean, and pure. We cannot accomplish this on our own, it is with Jesus' power, the Holy Spirit's guidance, and mature Christians who hold us accountable, that we are able to stand firm, resisting temptations and evil desires.
How to repent & flee from temptations:
1. Come to God with a grieved and repenting heart
The first step to getting close to God and fleeing from temptation is to repent. We have to humble ourselves before God, confess our sin and our evil nature to the Lord and have a broken heart over our sin (not over the consequence of our sin, but the hurt it causes God and the destruction it does). We are to fear God with a holy and respectful reverence, proclaiming His holiness and love. When we truly come to God with a grieved heart and repent of our sins, He readily forgives us and wipes the stain clean. God nevermore remembers the sin we committed and we get to start fresh, how amazing and wonderful!
2. Pray & Read God's Word
We cannot flee from temptation and live a godly life until we pray and seek God's help daily! As humans, sin is in our nature so if we depend upon ourselves to resist evil, we will only fail time and time again. We have to seek God and communicate openly with Him about everything, asking Him to fill us with His power to resist evil, turn our hearts from sinful desires to only desire Him. Also, our sinful nature is NOT an excuse to sin or to say "well I was born this way". On the contrary, God has given us the tools and everything we need to resist temptations, turn to Him, and live a godly life. Any struggle you face, any addiction you have can be overcome! Seek the appropriate means (Christian counseling, Christian addiction programs, the advice and accountability of wiser and mature Christians, etc.), use the tools God has given you, and pray! If you want to hear God, you have to read His Word. God speaks to us through the Bible. It is the living, breathing Word of God. Make time to read and meditate on His Word. When you mediate you are patient, quiet, and open to what God wants to tell you. Keep a journal to write down what He says. Communication is not a one-way line, if you want to communicate with God you have to also listen and hear what He is saying.
3. Participate in a Community
Humans were never created to be by themselves. God saw that Adam did not have a suitable partner, so He made Eve, a helpmate for Adam. We are made for community and fellowship. Yes, there are times when we need solitude, or quiet and in those moments it is okay for us to rest and recharge, even Jesus did this. But in life we need people, we need friends. Community helps keep us on the right track by making us accountable, it allows us to grow wiser and stronger, to help others who are facing struggles we have already overcome, and to encourage one another. Make sure you are in a godly community and be very careful about who you spend your time with, trust, and listen to! As the bible says, "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm." (Proverbs 13:20). Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
4. Trust & Obey God
Flee from the devil and his arrows of attack! To flee means to immediately turn in the opposite direction and run! Don't ponder, don't wait, don't give temptation time to weasel its way into your mind and heart! God never tempts us, but He will test our faith. When we go through difficult seasons in life, it is to grow and mature us and mold us into the people we were created to be. Trust God and follow His ways. Obey God's Word and encourage others in their walk. Be a light in this dark world, uplift others, strengthen others, and by doing so, you will be uplifted and strengthen. When you focus more on encouraging and helping others, you have less time to think and worry about yourself. When you focus more on God's Word and your relationship with Him, you have less time to stumble into sin and fulfill fleshly/worldly desires.