How Do We Deal with Recurring Sin in Our Lives? – Part 5

As we all know, battling sin is hard and difficult work. While we may win some battles here and there, we won’t win the war in this life. We will continue to battle sin until the day we die. A constant battle with sin can become tiresome and discouraging. It can drag us down. I don’t want that for you. So let me provide a word of encouragement to the battle laden warrior of Christ whose soul may have grown weary from years of fighting.

A Word of Encouragement

(1) A constant battle with sin should assure you that you are Christian rather than discourage you.

John in his first letter says starting in verse 9 of chapter 1,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 Jn 1:9–10)

There isn’t a problem when we are willing to admit or battle against sin, rather the problem occurs when we aren’t willing to admit or battle against sin. When that occurs we should be worried, not when we are battling sin in our lives.

A constant battle of sin means we recognize it’s there and we are willing to deal with it, which is one of the marks of a true Christians. So constantly battling sin should assure rather than discourage you.

(2) Despite our sin, we are still used by God.

It is remarkable, but God still uses us despite the sin in our lives. He uses us to:

  • Spread the gospel
  • Preach His Word
  • Counsel the hurting
  • Care for the needy
  • And much, much more.

Despite the sin in our lives, God still uses us — imperfect vessels — to do His perfect work. When we see God using us, we should be encouraged because it means we are His.

So be encouraged when you find that you are battling sin. It not only reveals that you are a child of God, but it also means that you are someone God can and will use to do His work.


Returning to our question: How do we defeat recurring sin in our lives? We defeat recurring sin, the same way we defeat every other sin. After discovering what it is, we purpose not to hold onto it, and we attack it at the root, doing battle on the battlefield of our heart. Relying on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and using the weapons the Lord has given us. That’s how we battle sin.

So don’t lose heart. Continue to fight the good fight, knowing that those who are in Christ can win the battle because Jesus has won the war.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you encouraged by your constant battle with sin?
  2. Do you see the Lord using you to do His work in your life?


Post adapted from my sermon: How Do We Deal with Recurring Sin in Our Lives?


The Bible Project

Over the last several weeks I have been on a binge. No, not a Netflix or junk food binge, but The Bible Project binge. I just can’t get enough. Not only is it helping me understand the biblical storyline, but it is doing so in an interesting and engaging way. I want to commend their videos and resources to you. Below is their trailer. It tells you who they are and what they are doing.

After watching the trailer, head over to the app store and download the app: Read Scripture. It’s not only a great way to read through the Bible in a year, but it has The Bible Projects videos baked in. At the beginning of each book, and periodically throughout, there is a video for you to watch that helps you understand the book or theme you are about to read or, in the case of the theme, just read. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. The video highlighting the app is below.

How Do We Deal with Recurring Sin in Our Lives? – Part 4

Our battle against sin will only result in victory if it is waged at the heart level. Battling sin by removing the externals from our lives is only the first step in a multi-step battle. If we count our enemies retreat as a complete victory, we are going to be surprised when it regroups, rallies, and comes knocking again. The only victory we should settle for when it comes to sin is complete annihilation. The only way to annihilate our enemy is to wage war against it on the battlefield of the heart. How do we do that?

How Do We Battle Sin at the Heart Level?

The first thing we need to understand is that rooting sin out of our lives is not something we can do in our own power and strength. We need something more, someone, more.  We need the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

(1) We need the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

One of the things the Holy Spirit does is produce fruit in our lives. The fruit the Holy Spirit produces pushes ungodliness out.

For instance, pride dies as we grow in love and humility, anger as we grow in patience and self-control, sexual immorality as we grow in faithfulness, self-control, and purity of mind and conscience, love of this world as we grow in love for God and heavenly-mindedness. As these and other godly fruits grow in our lives ungodliness is pushed out.

Another thing the Holy Spirit does is bring to mind the gospel. The gospel message is simple the good news about Jesus’ death on our behalf, which repairs our relationship with the Father. A relationship we can’t repair on our own through our own works. Instead, we need someone who is perfect, who doesn’t deserve punishment, to die in our place to satisfy God’s wrath against us. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, who dies for us. Through His death, we can have life, if we repent of our sins and believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior. One of the works of the Holy Spirit is to bring this message to mind so that we constantly think about it.

The Holy Spirit bringing the gospel message to mind provides another way for us to battle sin. You may or may not be familiar with the term “preach the gospel to yourselves.” By regularly preaching the gospel to ourselves we keep Jesus’ work at the forefront of our mind. Remembering that He is the One who saves, sanctifies, satisfies, and fulfills. He is the One who gives us peace and joy, as He repairs our relationship with the Father. These are all things we are looking for in the world, but we will never find. The world and sin don’t and can’t deliver like Jesus.

Along with reminding ourselves of Jesus’ work, we must also regularly remind ourselves of the utter bankrupt nature of the world and the false promises of sin. We must remember that Jesus doesn’t fail us. Instead, He fulfills us. He always delivers on His promises.

Remembering these things about Jesus by preaching the gospel to ourselves should draw our affections away from the world to Jesus. As well as our desire to please Him should grow. Not to earn our salvation, but because of our salvation. Out of gratitude for what He has done for us, we should want to live for Him, bringing Him glory and pleasure.

(2) We must practice the spiritual disciplines and use the means of grace.

John Owen says,

“If we seek to correct an outbreak of sin in the soul, but neglect the basic duties that promote spirituality, we labor in vain.” [1]

In other words, we must use the weapons God has given to battle sin.

Our God-given weapons are what we might refer to as the Spiritual Disciplines and the Means of Grace. While these are two different things, they are similar enough to combine. The Spiritual Disciplines and the Means of Grace refer to:

  • Reading God’s Word
  • Memorizing Scripture
  • Praying
  • Fellowshipping with other believers
  • Participating in an accountability relationship
  • Hearing the Word of God preached
  • Attending a Bible Study
  • Observing and participating in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

While not an exhaustive list, hopefully, it gives you an idea of the weapons God provides us to battle sin.

Although we are given these weapons, I believe many believers fail to use them. Instead of brandishing God’s weapons and wisdom we attempt to fight sin with worldly weapons and wisdom, which is why we often do battle on the surface instead of the heart. Our attempt to fight sin using other means is why I believe many of us continue to struggle with the same old sins year after year.

Not fighting with God’s wisdom and weapons is like showing up to a gunfight with a knife. As soon as our opponent pulls his weapon we are a goner.

Not only, then, do we need the Holy Spirit at work in us, which means we must be a believer, but we also need to use that which God has given us — the Spiritual Disciplines and the Means of Grace. These weapons attack sin at the root killing it so that it doesn’t have the opportunity to come back. Employing these weapons is what makes it possible for us to remove sin from our lives, not just on the surface, but at the heart level.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you recognize and rely on the work of the Holy Spirit in your life?
  2. Are you using the weapons the Lord has provided?


Post adapted from my sermon: How Do We Deal with Recurring Sin in Our Lives?


[1]  John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, 50.