A number of years ago in my Christian experience I backslide and fell into willful and known sins. I struggled for around three years in a cycle of willful sinning then repentance only to fall back into willful sinning again.
I wept, I cried, I tried, I struggled — only to fail over and over and over again. Some times I got so discouraged I quite trying. I cry now even thinking about that terrible time in my life. And oh I praise Jesus for setting me completely free!
Today I was sharing in London with a backslider of what real victory in the Christian live is and he asked me how I got victory over sin. The short answer was by faith in the life, death, resurrection, and sacrifice for sins made by Jesus Christ, and my being recovered from my backsliden state through conversation.
I would hold that the Bible teaches that any one that is committing willful or know sins needs to be converted. But there is more than just faith and conversation. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we are to perfect holiness in the fear of God, we are to hunger and thirst after righteous, and the list go on.
The following is a list of the things that I shared with this dear man that was backsliden. The Spirit of God blessed my words as I exhorted this man to flee from the coming wrath and to make sure he did his part in seeking God with all his heart. Here are the things I shared with him.
1. Commit to forsake all sins — It is not enough to just for sake some of the more socially unaccepted sins, or what some might call the “bigger sins” but we must forsake all sin. Smoking, drinking, drugging, running around, porn, rock and roll, and television just to name a few. All sin must go!
2. Get saved — Salvation delivers from sinning. If you still committing willful sin you need to be saved from your sinning. If you are sinning you are not a saint you are a sinner. When people realize that they can’t go to heaven with their sin and that while they are sinning they are undone and lost, they are more apt to take the situation serious. To get a sinner to give up the sin they love when they think they have a free ticket to heaven because at some point in their live they got converted, is very difficult.
3. Find a group of sin free Christians — If you want victory over sinning don’t associate with professing Christians that don’t have victory over sinning. They will only justify you in your sin and they will not be able to help you get the victory at all. Find a group of victorious Christians that are sin-free, sold-out, on-fire, zealous, and loving God, saints, and sinners with all their hearts. Spend time with them, visit with them on the phone, get together with them for fellowship, and go to the Bible study or congregation that they attend.
4. Confess your weaknesses and failures — After you have found a group of sin free Christians that have victory over sinning you should confess your wrongs. This is humbling and hard to do but it will really help. Don’t glorify the devil by going into detail. If you have fell into sexual sins don’t describe them just confess you are weak and have had problems with sexual sins. Make it short and blunt.
5. Ask to be keep accountable — After you have found a group of sin free Christians that ask them to be a part of your life and to keep you accountable.
6. Keep in text message or phone contact with faithful Christians — After you have found a group of sin free Christians select 2 or 3 of the more spiritual ones of the same gender and ask them if you can phone them and if they would exhort you and keep you accountable by phoning and texting you.
7. Testify to complete victory over sin — As soon as it is clear that Jesus has saved your from sinning and you have the victory, overcome by the word of your testimony. Just a simple testimony that you thank God through Jesus Christ he has given you victory over the willful sins you had fallen prey to and at the same time ask for prayer to keep the victory and that you would be watchful and not fall.
8. Pray and read first thing every morning when you get up — You need to go to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in the time of need. Your time of need is not before you go to bed at night. Your time of need is first thing in the morning to find grace to deal with a day of temptations and trials. Make time for prayer and Bible reading first thing in the morning. If you don’t do this you will soon fall into sin. Watch and pray that you don’t enter into temptation. FIRST THING IN THE MORNING!
9. Avoid places where you fell into sin — If you have a probable with lusting after the opposite gender then stay about for the beach. If you have a problem with drinking don’t go to the bar of lunch. If you have a problem with drugs don’t go to the center of town and hang out where all the dealers are. If you have a problem with Internet porn then get rid of the Internet completely.
10. Pray for a holy hatred of sin — There are two things we can hate. The devil and sin! Pray daily for a holy hatred of sin. Despise sin!
11. Work for Jesus — Give yourself to a life of selfless living and help others. First the saint and then the sinner. Visit the elderly, help the brothers that have big families and are very busy, let the congregation you attend know you want to help the saints. Witness to the sinner of the grace of God and point them to Jesus. Don’t fall into the trap of getting a concern for those of the opposite gender. If at all possible when you go passing out tracts go 2 by 2 so you can keep each other accountable.