Fight the Good Fight!

Therefore…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Throw off every sin, and run the race for Jesus. That’s easier said than done!MP900438620[1]

As a psychology instructor, I know how easy it is to tell people what  they should be doing. But that doesn’t mean they do it, or that I am good at following my own advice. Often, the real problem isn’t not knowing what is right, but doing what is right.

This is a dilemma for many of us as Christians. Jesus died for our sins, giving us the forgiveness we so desperately needed. But that is only the beginning. We have to keep on turning away from the sin and temptation that daily entangle us. That is where the real battle is waged!

Forgiveness is only the beginning!

John Owens says that believers, who are freed from sin’s condemning power, ought to make it their business to mortify the indwelling power of sin.

Today, we don’t hear much about mortifying sin, but Owens reminds us how important the fight against sin is for all Jesus’ followers. Let’s explore one of Owens’ thoughts, and see how we might fight the good fight of faith. Owen’s says:

“The problem is, if we are not killing sin, sin will be killing us.”

The only way we can grow our faith and deepen our devotion to God is to make more room for God in our lives. If we want to have more room for God, we must work to give less room to sin. That’ means limiting sin’s influence.

Even though God’s grace offers us forgiveness and frees us from sin’s condemnation, sin is still in us, working to entangle us in the deeds of MP900314229[1]the flesh. Paul wrote in Romans 7:19 that the sin at work in him kept him from doing the good he wanted to do, and drove him to do the very things he didn’t want to do.

If sin is always acting, and we fail to do all we can to stop its influence in our life, we too will fall victim to the strife, envy, rage and destruction it causes.

To help us resist sin’s allure, and to minimize its influence over our lives, God gives us a new nature and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit acts against sin, strengthens our new nature, and helps us escape the world’s polluting influence. Wise Christians submit their wills to the leading of the Spirit, and use what God has given them in their daily battle with sin.MP900400238[1]

Let’s all strive to follow Owens’ admonition. Let’s do more than talk the talk. Let’s walk the walk! Let’s do the work of Christian living, using the tools God has given us to fight the good fight and run the race of faith!

Adapted from John Owens: On the Mortification of Sin in Believers.

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