Guarding Against Temptation

This winter a rash started to form on my hands because of the cold weather. Once my hands were healed I noticed I was less careful to protect my hands by wearing gloves, which made a risk for the rash to return. This led me to think about how Christ can free us from sins that we are struggling with, yet because we expose ourselves to that sin we become bound to it again. For example Jesus can free a person from the spirit of lust, but if that person starts listening to lustful music or entertaining lustful conversations, it won’t be long before those lustful desires return. Once Christ frees us from a sin, we must continue to guard our hearts in that area of temptation. We should avoid/cut off anything that can open a door to that sin in our lives again.

Matthew 5:29
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

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Jesus Saves And Changes Sinners

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

There was a time in my walk with Jesus when my heart turned away from Him. It felt like I was in a deep pit that I couldn’t pull myself out of. I desired the things of the world more than I desired God, and I struggled greatly with sins like unforgiveness and lust to name a few. It was even difficult to go a short time without some evil thoughts passing through my mind. I was very overwhelmed by my sin, and it felt that no matter how hard I tried I could not turn away from it. During that time satan would bring thoughts like “You won”t change.” Or, “God doesn’t hear your prayers, why bother?” Or, “God doesn’t really care about you.” Well, Jesus Christ is faithful because in His timing He brought me out of that dark pit of sin and restored me. He turned my heart back to Him and removed my unforgiving and lustful ways. He also gave me more joy and peace than I ever had before.

You might feel like you are too far from God to come back, but He is very merciful and willing to forgive you. I can testify that no matter how deep you are in sin, Jesus Christ can pull you out of it and make you into a new person if you are willing to let your sin go. God has the power to draw you out of any evil that you may be entangled in.

Sin Drains Us Of Christ’s Power

The other day I had many ungodly thoughts coming into my mind, but instead of fighting against them I was passive and ignored them. When I went to pray I felt my prayers were very weak. Once I decided to repent and fight against those thoughts, I felt strength return to me in my prayers.

One thing we must remember is anytime we allow sin to fester in our lives, we are weakening spiritually. I’m not saying we will ever be perfect, but we will grow stronger in Christ when we deal with sin and repent right away. If there are certain sins/weaknesses that you continually struggle with, pray daily for strength to overcome in those areas. In moments of temptation you can use scripture to fight it. That is how Jesus did warfare when He was being tempted by satan (Mathew 4:1-11).

Repenting Before Prayer

Recently a friend of mine made an innocent mistake, and I reacted with a very rude attitude. Before I apologized, there was stiffness in our communication because I had not settled the offense between us. However, after I admitted my fault we spoke normally. This made me think about how Jesus views a person who prays to Him without first repenting of sin. Think about it, could you wrong someone and then turn around and speak to them like nothing happened? Would you really just assume they forgave you? Well then how could you approach God in that manner? How can you expect Him to forgive your sin if you disregard it?

Each time you pray, first examine your ways and confess your sins to Christ. For example, were you rude to someone earlier that day? Did you have a lustful thought? Did you lose your temper while driving?

Repentance means confessing your sin/fault to Christ and then forsaking that sin/fault. Also ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sins that you are unaware of. Living a lifestyle of repentance will help you maintain a close relationship with Jesus and make your prayers effective. The Bible says that God does not hear sinners when they pray. If you have specific sin which you frequently struggle with, pray daily for Christ to help in those areas. You can also pray and fast to be set free from specific sins. You may not always see change overnight but Christ will be faithful to help you as you persist.

John 9:31
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Psalm 66:18
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Sinning On Purpose

Hebrews 10:26-27
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

There were times in my life when I wanted to do something that I knew went against Christ’s Word (the Bible), but I did it any way. That is called willful sin, and it brought serious consequences to my life. Many people have the wrong idea that they can sin on purpose and make things right with God later, but such a mentality will actually lead a person to hell if he or she does not change their ways.

Are you deliberately disobeying Jesus in any way? Admit your disobedience to Jesus and ask Him daily for strength to live by His Word. God will help you to live a pure life when you ask Him and spend time with Him.

When We Ignore Christ

There have been many instances where I felt God’s conviction to change in an area of my life, but instead of changing my ways I made excuses and disobeyed Christ. “I tried but I can’t help myself,” or “I prayed so much but I’m still struggling,” were my common excuses. I didn’t usually see consequences right away, but the time always came when I surely paid the price. Has Christ been convicting you about a weakness or sin in your life? You can choose to ignore it now, but there will be a consequence to face later. I learned the hard way that just because God seems quiet does not mean He isn’t paying attention anymore! He did not change His mind about what He told you!
If you have tried and failed to change in an a certain area of your life, continue bringing your weakness/sin to Christ by praying and fasting until you see change. 
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:20 NIV)