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Struggling with Sin

February 7th 2010 18:55
The Many and the Few

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"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

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This is a simple plea to take God seriously. PLEASE. Our lives will last 70, 80, maybe even 90 years... unless of course we die sooner. And then eternity begins. God is so good; he loves us so much. PLEASE, take him as seriously as he takes you.
Yet, many continue on their way. Even many religious people continue to draw near to God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him (Titus 1:16).
PLEASE, read and consider what Jesus said. PLEASE, notice it includes even those who call him Lord. Our actions declare what we really believe. PLEASE, consider what Jesus says about the "many" and the "few"...
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt 7:21-23).
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matt 7:13-14).
PLEASE consider.



Struggling With Sin

"Struggling with sin" is a phrase that is used rather lightly in many religious circles. What does it mean to "struggle" with something? The word "struggle" means to "fight against"; it means to "strive, put forth effort in order to not give in". It does not mean or imply that the one who is struggling is on the losing side of the struggle. And yet, many believers when they say that they are "struggling" with sin they mean that they are committing sin(s) even while trying not to. They mean that they have struggled and then they were defeated by sin. And so perhaps the word "defeated" rather than "struggling" more accurately describes such people. Sadly, many people accept such "struggling" (actually defeat) as a way of life. They have not truly struggled so hard that they have suffered any great deal striving with all their might not to give in to temptations (Heb. 12:4).

An example would be appropriate here. I have spoken with many young men who say that they "struggle with" lust. Actually, they mean that they fight against it a little, but end up giving in to their lusts. They claim that they are trying not to sin. (See the article, "I Try".) But in reality they watch commercials that promote lust; they watch movies and television programs that encourage lust; and they listen to music that contains all sorts of sexual lyrics. Can they actually say that they are trying to overcome lust? Will God believe them when they say that they tried? Make every effort to enter the kingdom of heaven through the narrow door, Jesus says, because many will simply try but not be able to (Luke 13:24).

We are not saying that a Christian will have no struggles with temptation. We are saying that when a Christian is tempted, he must love God more than the temptation. Fighting against the temptation must be "worth it" because he would never want to do something to grieve God. A Christian desires to make sure that he is fully submitted to God to resist the temptation; the devil will then flee (James 4:7). For we are promised that no temptation will be too difficult for us because God himself will make a way for us to stand up under every temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). We may suffer or struggle and it may be difficult, but we can overcome. There is HOPE! Even Jesus suffered when he was tempted (Heb. 2:18). Remember the Garden of Gethsemane!

Many people lose heart because they have "blown it" too many times. Put your faith in God! BELIEVE that you can and will overcome because of HIM. Don't rely on establishing a good "track record" before you have confidence. Believe today! Know that your belief entails a love affair with God--so much that you will do ANYTHING for him. But don't believe the lie that "struggling" is the same thing as "sinning". It is not true. Struggling against sin does not mean that you are displeasing God. Struggling against sin is one of the main evidences that you hate sin. So, struggle and be victorious through the glorious power of our great and mighty God.

A wholehearted Christian is someone who struggles against sin and then gains the victory through Christ who gives him strength. Christians do struggle with sin...and then get the victory through faith. The "struggle" of the Christian is not a vicious cycle of try-fail, try-fail, try-fail,... No, the struggle of the Christian echoes the sorrowful, yet rejoicing cries of the Apostle Paul, "we faced trials far beyond our ability to endure" (2 Cor. 1:8); "God has delivered us and will continue to deliver us" (2 Cor. 1:10). "Now thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ" (2 Cor 2:14).

Perhaps you are convicted by God. Perhaps there is sin in your life that you cannot seem to give up. Do not lose hope. (See the article, "If Any Man Sin".) Rather, repent and get rid of everything that hinders you (Heb. 12:1-2). Ask God to give you a revelation of the LOVE that he has for you. BELIEVE! Truly submit to God. Resist the devil and do not give your temptations a foothold.



"I Try"

While witnessing to people and open-air preaching and handing out tracts, many people ignore us or mock us. Some people tell us that they already know about God. These people said that they already went to church and that they were "fine." We have asked such people if they obey God. Their reply was usually, "I try" or "sometimes." We also often asked them if they still continued to sin (1 John 3:6, 9) and their reply was quite similar: "I try not to, but of course everyone sins." These people who said that they were "fine" did not really have much evidence for being "fine" in God's sight. In fact, the best reason that they had for the hope the was supposedly in them was their church attendance. They obeyed God sometimes and resisted sin sometimes...but is this what a Christian life is like? Do Christians obey their LORD sometimes? Do they still do the devil's work sometimes? No, this is not the fruit that identifies a Christian. Since we encountered many people who seemed to have a false hope that they would be saved, the Lord led me to write to you about "trying" to please God vs. actually pleasing Him.

"Someone asked him [Jesus], 'Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?' He said to them, 'Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to...you will stand outside knocking and pleading, "Sir, open the door for us."...But he will reply, "I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!"'" (see Luke 13:23-27).

Jesus said that many people will try to enter the Kingdom of Heaven but will not make it. They will "try." They will not be able to enter, however, because they were "evildoers."

Some will say, "But I just can't help but sin." The Word of God says to you: "In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your own blood" (Heb. 12:4). How hard do you really struggle against sin? Don't tell God that you can't have pure thoughts, but then you watch all kinds of impure television programs. Don't tell God that you can't help but lust, but then you listen to all kinds of music that promotes lust. Don't tell God that you just can't help but sin when he tells you that "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him" (2 Peter 1:3). It is God's power that gives us the ability to please him, but you need to struggle and strive with his power working in you (Col. 1:29). This is why in Luke 13:23-27 that Jesus told his listeners to "Make every effort." This is not a game. Don't just "try", make every effort. Be diligent. Find others who are diligent. Labor together out of love for your King. Exhort one another DAILY so that you aren't hardened by sin (Heb. 3:13). Take this seriously!

Some of you might say that God is all-forgiving so he will forgive you when you keep on sinning against him. Look at your own attitude toward sin! Some of you think that because you call Jesus "Lord" and have acknowledged him as "the Savior" that this will allow you to keep on sinning, but still be forgiven. But Jesus said, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46). You might feel "safe" because you supposedly know the truth. However, the Bible says that if you persist in going your own way, God will never be willing to forgive you even if you feel safe now (Deut. 29:19-20). Jesus came to destroy sin, the works of the devil, so don't fool yourself.

I don't want any of you to find yourself standing before God saying, "Well, Lord, I tried to obey you." He may very well say to you, "If you really tried, then why didn't you obey me; I gave you everything you needed; you could have done all things through Christ, but since you continued to do evil...Away from me, you evildoer!" Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father" (Matt. 7:21). Only those who do the will of God (not those who try to do the will of God) will enter the kingdom of heaven. "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Heb. 10:36). So my question to you today is: Do you obey God or do you merely try to obey God?

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9-11).

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