Saturday, June 9, 2007

Win Over Sin, rewritten

The answer to the sin problem is very simple, but not easy. The primary thrust of this writing is: to overcome sin we must become so weak, so perfectly unable to do for ourselves what only God can do that we fall before His mercy and receive His grace, at last.

Our inability to receive His grace, especially those of us who are so good at being good and have long been taught the way of striving, is our main problem.

It took me so long to learn this, and I had to unlearn so much of what I thought I’d learned.

The bible makes it clear that His strength is made manifest in our weakness, and that our righteousness is as filthy rags. Unless His strength replaces our weakness, we have attained nothing.

How does this play out? Since sexual desire has always been strong for me, and there has been a stronghold in the area of my relationships, I have had to go for years and years without a mate as a way to find an outlet for this energy.

So, sexual sin was always my biggest weakness. Let me start there. The way to getting victory was so simple I missed it. We make these valiant attempts, even when we are sincere in loving God, to rid ourselves of sin, but we become freakish and self-righteous in the process. We make our Christianity a source of insanity. People become crazy over Christ and the sin problem. Balance is so difficult for most people. That’s why Jesus said that the way is narrow and not easy. That’s what he meant when he said, “few there be that find it.”

How do you get the victory? First, I am assuming here I am addressing those who have a desire to get a victory. If you don’t truly desire to get rid of sin there is no way. If your sin doesn’t grieve you, one would wonder if you have even gotten saved. The Holy Spirit, which God gave you, will convict you of sin.

Next, you rid yourself of dishonesty and you become totally open and honest about what you do wrong. By trying to hold things in, and rely on self-control, by trying to stuff things away, we also can deceive ourselves and keep from seeing our sin.

I have such good restraint. I am so controlled - never having had a drug or alcohol problem. I have no desire for substances. I don’t like bad habits. I brush my teeth regularly; I can eat just right, no problem. I can fast, no problem. I can exercise religiously - no problem. My problem has been that natural strength that I was born with. It has been so easy for me to be religious, to strive.

Natural strength has to be let go of.

The brief period of learning this was a sexy one. However, I soon found myself longing for victory, the real way, over sexual sin, because the consequences, which manifest internally and emotionally, were not so sexy. Externally, the usual bad treatment by my partner was painful.

Prior to this I got extreme in abstinence and self-restraint. I had a young, Christian roomie who was a virgin and thrived on her influence. I abstained from all forms of sex: masturbation, etc. I was harsh, ascetic, and fierce. I fasted, and resisted all involvements with the opposite sex; I avoided every form of temptation, and only spent time with Christians. It brought absolutely no lasting change. I eventually found myself frustrated again.

I then met a guy who became my boyfriend who wasn’t even a true Christian. Now I had the perfect temptation - a man in my life, and a man with no restraint. It was better he had no restraint than if I were dealing with the spirit of religion, however. But, no holds were barred – no self-restraints on my part. During the period of being sexually active with him, I came home to my sanctuary, and took communion a lot. I had been keeping these crackers made in Jerusalem - unleavened bread. And, I used whatever juice I had, preferably grape juice. I called the bread Christ’s body and the juice His blood and I took them.

I repented of my sin and recognized that there was no reason to condemn myself, and no reason to deny myself the body and blood. I was believing that the body and blood would give me victory over sin. Confessing and repenting in this case did not mean I would not sin again in the same way – I knew that. But for a besetting sin, this seems to be the way to handle it. You repent and confess until the next time, until you get the victory.

I have a nice prayer or confession to accompany communion. I did nothing at all outwardly to deny myself or to deny my sin.

I did sin again, but it was grief to me. I repeated the exercise, knowing that I would get the victory. It’s important to see that I kept the switch of faith on at all times. Jesus said that the work of God is to believe, and this is so true. I kept on believing through all this. But I also received God’s grace. These are the two important elements

I bought a ring with a cross in it, to wear on my left hand - a reminder of who I belonged to. Eventually, I got a victory. Later I praised God that He did it.

I received God’s grace. This is the thing that many Christians miss. They simply have never been able to receive God’s grace. It is essential to receive that and nothing more - not try to fix ourselves, not try to put on a righteous fa├žade.

I accepted God’s unmerited favor and I resisted the devil. The bible says that we submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee.

In the case of unforgiveness, it was much harder for me to let go and allow whatever was in me come out. I don’t enjoy the feelings of hate.

This is an area I had to deal with later - much harder!

But the essential elements are: receiving God’s grace as you receive his body and blood and believing that you will have a victory over the sin, even while you are still sinning. The results can be profound.

Communion Prayer

Prayer: Father in heaven, I examine myself today to see if there is anything in me that is displeasing to You. In Jesus name I ask You to forgive me for _______, and to release me from the power of this sin. I break the hold of my judgment against anyone who has hurt me and allow him or her to go free of me. I ask You to forgive me for any part I had in causing this and to cleanse me.

And now we will repeat the words of Jesus as He broke bread with His disciples:

Take, eat, this is my body, like the body of the Lamb eaten by Israel, broken for you to bear your sins, so you may die to sin and live to righteousness. This body heals you of the results of sin, and heals the body. Do this in remembrance of me.

Drink, for this is my blood of the new covenant, not the old covenant of the blood of animals, but the new covenant of the blood of the eternal Lamb of God. This was shed for you to pardon sin, to release you from sin. This blood sets you free from the destruction that sin has caused, and heals the soul. Do this in remembrance of me.

Lord, we remember You and what You have done for us.

To read about continued victory over sexual sin go to this post.



My original Win Over Sin is over at Go Free Now.

7 comments:

Douglas said...

You might be interested in the Twitter version of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, at http://twitter.com/ThomasaKempis

Gabrielle Eden said...

Thanks Douglas. I did check that out. Those are some good quotes.

Jonathan said...

Wow. That's a lot to put out in the open. I commend your honesty, humility, courage, and wisdom on this issue. Sin and temptation are so difficult, and it's great to see you have learned to lean on this issue.

Gabrielle Eden said...

Thanks, Jonathan. I labored over re-writing this. In the old Win Over Sin, I was all confident about fighting the devil. But my life came under attack and I learned that, as it says, if we submit to God, we can resist the devil. So I stopped emphasizing fighting the devil so much. Anyway, I'm still learning, but I have gotten a strong victory over the sexual sin area.

Jonathan said...

That's great to hear! Know that you are an encouragement to all of us in our personal struggles with sin.

Livingsword said...

Gabrielle;
Very interesting article; well written as well as genuine.

You and I have some parallels, when I first became a follower of Jesus I had so many moral issues to work thru that I started creating what I call sanctification legalism (I think I will blog about this soon). Rules to “keep me on the right path”; I built walls here and there all over the place. But as you probably noticed at my blog I see “the law” and “rules” as only a “tutor” or “whip” to drive us to Jesus, the grace we have with Him in our genuine relationship is where the real power is!

When you come to communion it is the strongest point we have in relationship to Jesus. The closer we draw to Him the more our sins fall to the side, proximity creates results.

By the way you are the only other person I know besides myself that likes and actually knows who World Wide Message Tribe is!

Gabrielle Eden said...

Livingsword,

God must have drawn me to this post, to read your comment. Thank you, and yes, I have loved World Wide Message Tribe. Back when I discovered them, I danced my heart out to their passionate music.