Since you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to say there is an objectionable pattern you’re tired of falling back into. You made strong vows you wouldn’t do it again, but you did, so here you are looking for help.
If that’s you, first of all, be encouraged! This internal battle between flesh and spirit is a sign that you’re saved. The Holy Spirit does not let a child of God be comfortable in their sin. The nagging grief you feel when you fail is God’s grace giving you a loving push to choose the right path.
Secondly, understand that objects are not the causing factor. They do not make you sin. Inanimate objects are just as much a part of God’s creation as you and I are. Sin comes from within our hearts, not from an outside source.
“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”-Matthew 15:11
A chair, for example, can be used to bash someone’s head in or assist an elderly lady. Electronic devices can be used for a good cause or cyberbullying. Alcohol can provide medical help or waste away one’s life. The difference is in how you use it.
Satan cannot create anything, but he can bend and twist the good everything God has created. So understand that, while objects are a variable in the equation, your battle against sin lies in the spiritual realm, not primarily the physical world.
With that in mind, here are three tips to help you choose righteousness.
#1 — Set yourself up for success
This is where objects play the biggest role. If there is something that is giving you access to or leading you to think about anything less than the things that are above (Colossians 3:2), get rid of it. Or put up barriers, whichever works best.
Depending on what sin issue you’re struggling with, this could be anything from disabling the web browser on your phone to walking as much as possible during the day so you go straight to sleep at night. Analyze your situation and be honest about what you need to do.
#2 — Focus your attention elsewhere
You are not going to be able to move forward with much success if you are focusing on the issue. Turn your attention elsewhere. If you’re struggling with fear, don’t think about everything you have to be afraid of but everything that gives you a reason to have courage.
Resurrect a lost hobby, pour into people, give of your time and energy at least on a weekly basis. Focus on what is good, lovely, and pure and you will find you have no time to even reflect on objectionable habits.
#3 — Surround yourself with those on a similar mission
We were not made to do life alone. God gave us other people for accountability, encouragement, and correction. Do not try to fight this battle alone. If you truly want to succeed, walk alongside someone who is also running after Christ-likeness.
People rub off on people so—if your community, from your perspective, is ahead of you in the path of where you want to go—you are setting yourself up to follow suit. Be honest with them and open to whatever feedback they may have.
Keep in mind that you will fail again. It’s just the world we live in. We will not reach perfection until reunited with Christ, but this is a brokenness that keeps us honest about our fallenness and dependent on our Savior.
You can, however, lessen the consistency of your sin and clean up your messes. Stay aware of your situation and make the right choice when the time comes. Every day has its own set of pressures, but God will take care of you tomorrow just as He’s taking care of you today.