I was in a Christian discussion group on Facebook and someone asked: “For all we claim, why are we not able to stop sinning”? I told him that it is the lack of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christians.
This is absolutely true but that is not all the truth. There are also men who have got this Spirit initially, but could not put themselves together and walk in the grace given at the first stage of sanctification or salvation; and having abused this grace, they became the person they were before, without the Spirit and His power.
Other times it could also be because there was no real rebirth, but just a confession of sin. I wish that we had tears for our inability to please God rather than just the confessing of sins, that we may be truly saved. For a broken and contrite spirit, God will not overlook.
Brethren, bearing in mind that no one is an island of wisdom or knowledge, I write my message to the Christian Church about my own experience, with great hope and prayers that Christians who struggle with sin may find help.
Now, there are basically four(4) steps to overcome the urge to sin and commit evil after you have accepted Jesus.
True salvation comes with great power to overcome and say no to sin. But many have not been able to keep up.
Yes! There are many believers who still struggle with one sin or the other. Many still weep for themselves while some have become hardened. Some have taking a personal and spiritual back seat in God, others have concluded that perhaps it is a weakness they’d have to live or perish with.
So, preacher, what is the way?
1. Prayer is the Master Key
A man who prays stop sinning and a man who sins stops praying. – Leonard Ravenhill.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41
From the first stage and to the last stage of our Christian journey; form the initial repentance and salvation to the eternal salvation, prayer remains the master key for a Christian man and the Christian Church.
When we first repented and surrendered, we prayed. We must continue in prayers to remain saved because we were saved to pray.
The Potency of prayer to stop a man from sinning is an inexhaustible realty.
Jesus said to Peter, and now to us, “watch and pray” so that you will not fall into sin and the tempter overcome you.
Prayer to overcome sin, literally means asking God for help to overcome and live above that sin that is killing us. That sin we know from the bible, that it is wickedness against God, but we continue to find reason to do it; we need to ask for divine help from God.
In my own time I went for over 30 days fasting and praying to gain sanctification and freedom from the sin in me that was a hindrance.
I learned about the potency of prayer when I read a blog on how a man prayed and God spoke to him saying: “you will never go back to this sin again”. After that, I channeled all my heart to prayer because I have tried all my best but I just could not live above sin in me.
It could be any sin. It could be lies, deceit, sexual immorality, sexual perversions like homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, pedophile. It could be hate, slander, uncontrollable anger, malice, pride, haughtiness. It could even be the inability to forgive an offender or it could be darkness. You know it is wrong but you are unable to practice the opposite and say no. You are unable to have a heart that produces holy thoughts and fruits of holiness. You are not able to live above darkness. No matter what it is, prayer is the master key.
Brethren, go back to God, pray and He will respond if He sees the genuine passion and tears to be sanctified and freed.
It is the pure work of the Holy Spirit to form the sinless person of Jesus in a Christian man. To give us a spirit and a heart that has the law of God written all over it, such that even before we produce evil, we are already saying no!. We cannot help ourselves; at least I knew that I couldn’t help myself.
How did I pray? I cried in many tears and pains. Many times I asked God if He deliberately wanted me to perish in my sin. I cried “God is there hope for me”? I cried and cried until it was broken, absolutely broken. I gained control over myself and could say no! In fact, after I was sanctified from an unclean tongue, it seemed that my words were filtered through my heart before I would speak it.
Brethren the Holy Spirit is very great and Jesus is mighty to save all those who pray unto Him.
Now, was I able to keep up? Actually after God broke the seal of sin, he started to teach me how to overcome and not go back to that sin. Which leads us to –
2. God gives us the grace and we must work
Without grace we are NOTHING. Grace started all of this, grace was the reason Jesus endured until victory was born, grace gave birth to the Christian Church and we are saved, only by grace.
After giving me power to live above the sin that plagued my life, God started to teach me about grace. I did not just want to overcome that sin, I wanted to live a life of Holiness and absolute victory over sin as I was promised by the preachers and the bible.
Then God taught me that the saving grace of God does not kill our ability to sin but kills our inability to say no! Salvation grace convinces our spirit that what we do is wrong by sanctifying us. Then it empowers us to hate and run from whatever is called sin and trains the mind on the way to live a holy life.
It works in a way such that, even before we conceive sin, something in us will suppress our willingness to sin; this is the strength of salvation grace.
But brethren, grace will not do our own part. We have to work with that grace and continue to remain in it; just as it is written: “watch and pray“.
Praying is not enough. We also, do the watching and God does the answering of prayers.
The inability of Christians to work with this grace is why men who were initially saved would later fall back into sin. And any man who sins, is a slave of sin, and has no part in God’s kingdom.
The song writer wrote:
Oh, let me feel Thee near me;
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
And shield my soul from sin.
‘The world is ever near’ is the realest part of the hymn. Salvation of the gentiles is not the same with that of the Jews. The salvation of the Jews will be eternal because they’ll be saved at a time the devil would be bound up in the bottomless pit and no one will lead them astray. But as for we gentile Christians, because the world of sin and wickedness is ever near, we need to fight to finish strong.
The bible, talks about judgment to those who break the ‘eternal covenant’, or the covenant made with all the people. This signifies a falling away from the Holy covenant or a going back to the old life after men are saved.
The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Isaiah 24:5
Therefore we have work to do. Our work is not to abuse the grace of God. Our work is not to get our hearts hardened again. Our work is not to crucify the Christ for the second time. Our work is to watch out for areas through which sin may try to grip us again and run from it. Our work is to be vigilant and guard our hearts so that evil will not grow in it.
But how do we effectively run from sin?
3. Walking in the Spirit and living the life of a child of God
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16
Any Christian who does not live a Spirit controlled life is bound to fall back into sin and out of salvation. Just as the bible has said: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” Romans 8:14
Therefore, there is need for Christians to be people whose ways and life is controlled by the Holy Spirit. There is also, need to do things and live in a way that ensure that the presence of God is abundant in ones life to control them in the first place. For it is only when the presence of God is available that we can walk and be led by the Holy Spirit.
We must give ourselves to spiritual exercises like praying, fasting, bible reading, evangelism, worship and song. These are the things that keep men burning for God and would attract an abundant presence of God. These things also creates the consciousness of a spiritual calling unto God.
Believers must be spiritual people, alert and always vigilant that we are not alone. For in Him we move, in Him we live and in Him we have our being. That awareness will teach us to fear God even in secret places.
There must also be a strong friendship with the Holy Spirit. How do I mean? We must not wait until we are in our prayer time before we can have a chat with our Father.
It could be in a public transport, a class, wherever. There we may shut our eyes for 2-5mins or so, and whisper one or two words to our God. It could be thanksgiving, it could be questions or anything. This act makes God happy and He sees us as more than worshipers, but also, true friends of God. It is part of living a spiritual life.
I have done it many times and God seems to reply me faster. One of the positive side is that I would become conscious of God’s presence. And when I become conscious that He is there with me, would I not also be careful not to sin against Him? Truly, as believers, we must learn to live all our days as men and women of God’s Spirit; that is a way to live above sin.
4. Pray even more
‘Pray even more‘ or “give me more sanctification and cleansing” is the greatest of all, just like prayer is the greatest human deed.
As we continue to pray, and ask for more purity and grace, more grace is given and strength is renewed. Just as it is written:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Brethren we don’t wait for God by folding hands; we wait for him by dwelling in the secrete place of the Most High, under the shadow of the almighty. It is where strength is renewed, it is where men who faint not when others faint are made.
Therefore, when we see signs that we are delving back to that sin, or signs that the flesh is coming back, we must not wait until we fall and the guilt surfaces. We must go back to more praying and asking for more sanctification, strength and grace. We must not stop praying until we are graced and strength is refreshed.
This is why a praying Christian man should be able to live above sin; that is, if he understands what true praying is about. These days, prayers are mostly about destroying alters that may or may not exist; but true prayers that transform men, we know not how to pray. God will help us all.
Therefore, until we die saved or we meet with the Judge of all the Earth on His own Day as saved people, we must continue to pray for more sanctification and more grace to remain saved and spotless.
For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world (sin is inclusive). And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. – 1 John 5:4
Therefore, Christian man, don’t let them teach you weak-point theology and grace as its cover. Do not settle for preachers who teach you an imperfect Christianity because they live in sin without true experience of salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit to save from sin. I do not say that men can be 100 percent as perfect as God, but with the sanctification and saving power of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, we can grow in holiness and overcome that bondage of sin that does not allow us be close to God. Remembering one thing, that without Holiness, no eyes shall see God.