“Even though I know that I am a Christian, I am still having problems getting victory over sin in my life. What’s wrong?”
We get this question quite often from listeners who are having a hard time with a particular sin in their lives.
We forget that we will not be glorified until we get to Heaven. We are living in an imperfect body, governed by an imperfect brain, and dwelling in an imperfect world. Our exhortation to holy living cannot be denied, and our example is Israel going into the Promised Land. When they crossed over Jordan, they immediately faced a battle! After winning that one, they faced another, and another, and another.
In the Christian life, we will always be fighting the battle of living in a manner that will please and honor the Lord. On that battlefield, we face three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are bound to lose that battle, if we forget that there is a three prong attack from our enemy. (1 John 2:16)
The first route of attack is the world. We do not want to be different from the world and we do not like the opposition and criticism of the world. As Christians, though, we must realize that we are not called to march to the world’s beat, and we are headed in a different direction. God told Israel not to marry or have anything to do with the inhabitants of the land they were to conquer, because they would wind up doing the sinful things that had caused the present occupants of the land to be condemned to death by God. Can we not learn that we, too, have been called to be in the world, but not of the world (John 15:19)?
The second attack comes from the flesh, that is, from the body in which we live. It has appetites and desires, that, kept in control and exercised according to God’s directives, lead to a happy, fulfilled life. However, the flesh, without limits, will lead one to excesses that destroy the body, and in the process ruin our relationship with the Lord. This can be in the area of eating, drinking, sleeping, satisfying sexual desires, etc. (1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23).
Finally, there is the arch-enemy of our souls, the devil. He opposes anything that is of God and anyone who would live for God. We are told to put on the armor of God to be able to do battle with him (Ephesians 6). The only way to victory is to fight by God’s rules, and to recognize that we will be in this battle until we are called to Heaven.