Laying Aside Besetting Sin
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus.…” – Hebrews 12:1-2. Besetting sin is part of the Adamic nature inherited by man. Besetting sin may also be as a result of a habits that we developed during our old way of life. It require more grace and discipline to overcome.
There is a story of Four ministers who went for a retreat. As they sat around the fire talking, one pastor said, “Let’s all share our besetting sins. I’ll go first. My besetting sin is that every so often I slip away from the office to the race track and bet on the horses.”
The second pastor volunteered, “My besetting sin is that I keep a bottle of wine down in my basement. When I get really frustrated with my deacons, I sneak down there and have a nip of wine.”
The third pastor gulped and said, “My besetting sin is that I keep a punching bag at home. When I get mad at somebody in the church, I go home and think about that person as I hit the punching bag.”
They all turned to the fourth pastor and asked, “Well, what is your besetting sin?” He hesitated, but they coaxed him. Finally, he said, “My besetting sin is gossip. I can’t wait to tell others our discussion here, can’t wait to get home!”
The struggle with besetting sins
We all struggle with besetting sins. They’re like a piece of furniture that you keep hitting your shin against. At some point, you would think you would learn to avoid it. Examples of this are Moses, with his explosive temper, and David, with his weakness for women. These devoted men of God walked humbly and persistently in the will of God. When they grew weak in faith and weary in their warfare against evil, their besetting sin reared up its ugly head to challenge them. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
What is a besetting sin to one person may not trouble another at all. Sometimes this sin, or persistently assailing evil. It is quite obvious to others, while in other cases it is hidden in the heart and known only to the individual and God.
Way that lead to victory over besetting sin
The goodnews of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ is that, There is a way which, if carefully followed, will bring us complete victory over the besetting, soul-trying sin. Titus 2:11-14 said “For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world, Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One), Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds. [Deut 14:2; Ps 130:8; Ezek 37:23.]
There is a place in God for all who have His Spirit to live where sin is not practiced at all.
Matt 1:21 said “you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from a failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].
This state of holiness is known as consecration, or entire sanctification. Such believers as these are designated by Jesus as “wise virgins”, and by Paul as “without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing”, and by John as “the bride of the Lamb”. the author of Hebrews, after telling of the faith of Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and many others, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).
Steps of How to overcome Besetting sin
The first thing to consider in how to overcome besetting sin is to note the change, or transformation, that takes place when a person is saved. The Bible describes the natural man as “dead in sin and trespasses” (Ephesians 2:1). As a result of Adam’s fall into sin, man is born spiritually dead. In this state of spiritual death, man is unable and unwilling to follow and obey God. Habitual sin naturally follows a man that is unwilling to obey God. Natural man sees the things of God as foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14) and is hostile toward God (Romans 8:7). When a person is saved, a transformation takes place. The apostle Paul refers to this as the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). From the moment we place our faith in Christ, we are in the process of sanctification.
“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). When Paul says, “Consider yourselves dead to sin.” He is telling us that, in coming to Christ, the power of sin has been broken in our lives.
Test your love for God: The Bible teaches that most of our sins stem from the fact that we love ourselves more than we love God. We love ourselves more than we love others. Any man who commits adultery is loving himself more than he loves God, his wife, his children, and even more than he loves the other woman. If you try to overcome sin by loving yourself more, you’re simply feeding the source of the problem! The answer to overcoming sin is to deny yourself, not to love yourself (Luke 9:23).
No matter how honestly you confess your sin, and no matter how firmly you decide against your sin, your willpower does not innately posses the quality and kind of power you need to overcome. The power you need is the love of God
“The love of Christ compels us. . . He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
The love of Christ is the power that moves us to cease living for ourselves. Love of Christ enable us to begin living for Him. The love of Christ alone is of sufficient power to break the strength of sin. Its most foundational level, at the level of our natural inclination to live for self. Again, Paul says: “We through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. . . faith energized by God’s love” (Galatians 5:5-6, author’s translation).
God’s love is the vital energizing factor in the victorious Christian life. No other power will do, because no other power can do.
If you know that you’re easily tempted in certain situations, avoid those situations! When you’re tempted by drinking, don’t go near bars. If you’re tempted by lust, don’t go to bookstores where pornography is sold; don’t go to movies with sex scenes. If you’re tempted when you travel alone, make arrangements to be accountable. Plan your free time with things that will build you in the Lord. Knowing that we’re vulnerable, we need to plan not to sin! adopt the attitude of Joseph who, when tempted by Potiphar’s wife to come to bed with her, left the room so quickly that he left his cloak in her hands (Genesis 39:15).
We simply must make every effort to run from the things that tempt us to sin, including access to food if we are given to overeating, and access to pornography if we are tempted to sexual sin. Jesus tells us to cut off our hand or pluck out our eye if they “offend” us (Matthew 5:29–30). This means removing from our lives anything, even those things close to us, if they tempt us to sin. In short, we have to change the habits that lead to habitual sin.