Do You Want Deliverance from a Habitual Sin?

Many professing Christians are plagued with habitual sins. To help those who are caught in some type of habitual sin, I published an inexpensive book called,The Christian and Habitual Sin.” My purpose for writing this article is not to promote the book. I just want help those who want to be delivered. In case you are one of them, I have included the introduction and one small section of the book below. I consider some of the things mentioned below essential for anyone seeking deliverance.

Introduction

All true Christians have been born again, made alive by God’s grace. They believe the gospel of Jesus Christ from the heart. The Holy Spirit lives inside them and is at work to produce holy lives full of love, peace, patience, and many other characteristics that reflect the very nature of God. The instruction provided by this booklet is mainly addressed to Christians (those who have the life of Jesus in them) and based upon truth directly from the Bible. The truth within it can indeed produce deliverance but only to those who have the life of Jesus in them.

Jesus came not only to deliver us from the penalty of sin (eternal damnation), He also came to deliver us from the bondage of sin (slavery to it). Jesus said that He came to give abundant life. (See John 10:10.[1]) In light of this, what if a Christian finds himself habitually committing acts that the Bible classifies as sinful? Perhaps he is in the habit of viewing pornography and gratifying his own sexual lusts. Perhaps he has a drug or alcohol habit. Every Christian falls into some type of sin during his lifetime. Normally, the Christian sees the error of his way and repents. But what happens if, instead, he finds himself stuck, committing that sin day in and day out as a habit that seems impossible to break?

The Apostle Paul taught that Christians are no longer slaves of sin. (See Romans 6:6.[2])  Slavery to habitual sin is a contradiction to the Christian life described by the Bible. So, when habitual sins plague a Christian, peace is replaced with turmoil and confusion. If you are a Christian caught in habitual sin, you undoubtedly long for deliverance from it. This little booklet was written to help Christians gain deliverance from habitual sins. 

Deliverance comes at a cost.

Try to envision your life in the future, free from the sin that now encumbers you. What does that life look like in your mind? Does it look pretty much the same as it does now except free of the sin that plagues you? Let me suggest that if this is how you imagine it, the picture is distorted. If you are serious about gaining deliverance, you need to realize that radical changes must take place in your thinking and behavior and that these changes are not possible apart from the miraculous work of God.

The Bible speaks of a principle that is a key to deliverance from sin. For every sin we “put off,” we must put on a virtuous behavior that acts as a replacement. In the fourth chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he says to put off lying and begin speaking truth. He says to put off stealing and begin laboring so that we might be able to give to others who are in need. He says to stop using corrupt language, and begin speaking only those things that edify. We are to put off the old way of living and put on the new man which is created in righteousness and holiness. (See Ephesians 4:17-32.)

You should not expect sustained deliverance from a sin that has occupied much of your existence without it being replaced with a virtuous behavior that becomes food for your soul. Your soul longs for food. You can either feed it garbage that destroys it or food that God has provided to nourish it. Your soul’s taste buds must be re-trained to enjoy those things that produce the true life of Jesus. Your flesh loves the garbage you have been feeding it so training your soul’s taste buds will require God’s grace to be unleashed in your life.

The radical changes that must take place in your behavior must begin with radical changes in your thinking. What I am about to say applies to every Christian, but especially to anyone who seeks deliverance from a habitual sin. If you think that deliverance is possible through a series of steps, you will likely be frustrated by repeated failure.

If you sincerely want deliverance from a habitual sin, please consider this heart-felt word of admonition. Briefly, I wish to communicate the following things:

  1. In general, the type of Christianity on display in North America is highly dysfunctional and anemic. This is true even in churches that most Christians would consider to be strong, healthy and vibrant.
  2. Unless you are way outside the norm, you need a complete change in your thinking about what it means to be a Christian. You cannot settle for the type of life that is being lived by most Christians in North America. This will not do for you.
  3. If you want deliverance from habitual sin, you must discard your old way of living the Christian life and begin to live it as the Bible describes it, not as it is being modeled in North America.
  4. Chiefly, you must become an aggressive, active participant in the advancement of God’s Kingdom. You must set your mind to seek God’s direction in this matter as it concerns you personally. Once you ascertain God’s purposes for you personally, you must begin fulfilling His purposes as if your eternal destiny depends on it. In other words, finishing your God-given mission should be viewed as mandatory in your pursuit of heaven. Deserting your God-assigned mission and settling once again for dysfunctional Christian living should be viewed as the path to hell. (Try not to assume things about my theology on the basis for what I just said. Hopefully, you will better understand why I say it this way as you continue reading the book.) If what I have said so far seems over the top to you, then perhaps you are not quite ready to lay hold of the deliverance that Jesus purchased for you when He died on the cross. More will be said about this later in the section, Do God’s will as one who is advancing His Kingdom.

In order to provide the help that is foundational for deliverance, we will first examine the eternal danger of habitual sin in general. (Unless you first comprehend the seriousness of habitual sin, you may not be properly motivated to seek God for deliverance from it.) After this, we will address the steps described in the Bible that, if followed, can guide you to sustained deliverance.

Below is one of the short sections of the book:

Do God’s will as one who is advancing His Kingdom.

If you are in need of deliverance from a habitual sin, you need a complete change in your thinking, attitudes and behavior. The changes of attitudes and behavior are the most difficult. Changes in thinking are the least painful but unless you are at least willing to open yourself up to the idea that your entire view of Christianity has been distorted up until now, you will fail to lay hold of God’s grace necessary for the changes that need to take place in your attitudes and behaviors. If you are willing, then please consider the following words.

In many ways, the church has departed from the New Testament model and has adopted a distorted understanding of what the church is supposed to be like and how we are to thrive as Christians. Typically, Christians have adopted the unbiblical clergy/laity mentality. Jesus and His Apostles taught that the leadership was never intended to do the work of the ministry. Instead, they are to equip the saints (us) to do the work of the ministry. Leaders are supposed to lead by example and that leading is intended to produce ministers, not mere spectators who attend church services. When the saints (us) have been properly equipped and are engaged in the mission God has purposed for them individually, the gospel permeates the world around us. (See I Thessalonians 1:4-2:14.) In other words, the ministry impacts the world around us. If this is not happening in the lives of the members of any given church, biblical Christianity is not on display there. Also, the Bible teaches that this type of ministry is a spontaneous outcome of the Holy Spirit’s work, not one motivated by a paycheck.

Biblical Christianity is incredibly radical compared to what is on display today in North America. If you truly want deliverance, you must come to grips with the fact that you must jettison your current view of Christianity and fix your eyes on the Biblical pattern of Christian living. In other words, you must embrace the fact that you can no longer settle for the typical pattern of Christianity. If you want deliverance, you must accept the fact that your entire life must change radically. You can no longer live as a mere spectator. You have to be different than most, if not every Christian you know.

You must reject the false notion that ministry is for the “professionals.” God has a special ministry in mind for you. The outcome of that ministry is restricted only by the extent you are willing to pursue it. It should not be considered a token ministry (something you do on the side). It must be a main part of your life. You need to realize that God may want to save millions of people using you.

If you think that you do not possess the spiritual abilities to be used in such a big way, let me call your attention to Joni Erikson Tada. She suffered a spinal injury as a teenager and unbeliever and has been a quadriplegic for many years. God saved her and she began to ask Him what He wanted her to do. God guided her to do many things and has used her to save many, many people all around the world. If God can use a quadriplegic to accomplish great things, He can accomplish mighty things through you. You must begin to accept your identity as a minister of God and believe He wants to accomplish mighty things through you personally. 

The Bible teaches us what God desires for us to be and to do. As we learn what He wants us to do, we must begin to do it. Otherwise, we will delude ourselves and transformation and deliverance will remain out of reach. But imagine waking up each day and knowing exactly what God wants you to do that day. Then imagine doing it, knowing that you are fulfilling God’s express purpose for you that day. Now imagine also that doing these things brings you joy, satisfaction and peace. Such a way of life makes the soul fat. When the soul is fed with this type of food, the smell and taste of garbage offered by the world is less and less appealing.

Just over twenty years ago, I wandered from the path and began eating from the dumpster this world offers. When God mercifully turned me back to walk in the path of righteousness, I was spiritually weak and prone to stumble. But as His grace came to me through the same means mentioned above, I gained more and more strength. But I was still spiritually weak. Then, I sensed God calling me to engage in regular evangelism. By His grace, I embarked on a weekly ministry of door to door evangelism. After doing this for about two years, I began to sense a certain spiritual strength that I had not experienced before in my prior twenty years as a Christian. There was a heightened sense of urgency and alertness about the spiritual war to which God has called us. I mentioned this to my friend who also had been doing this evangelistic work and he noticed the very same thing in his life.

Suddenly, John 4:34 made clear sense to me like never before. After doing the work of evangelism with the woman at the well, Jesus’ disciples showed up with food. Jesus told them that He had food that they did not know about. The disciples wondered where Jesus got the food. Then Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of the Father.” Truly, doing God’s will is necessary food for our soul. Without it, we will remain feeble and sustained deliverance will be in question. But eating this food (doing His will) drastically brings about renewal and makes us full of life. We will be made fat by the Bread of Heaven as we do God’s will. The things of earth will become strange food that only satisfies earth dwellers.

 

Book Contents

Introduction                                                                                                                      

A lifestyle of habitual sin will have eternal consequences.                                  

What to do if you are a Christian caught in habitual sin.                                      

   Acknowledge that you need to be delivered.                                                   

   Understand what actually holds you captive.                                                

   Begin taking steps that will play a role in God rewiring you.                       

   Begin rehearsing the things God has said concerning your situation.       

   Pray.                                                                                                                         

   Fellowship with true believers in a local church where Jesus is Lord.        

   Engage in restitution and practice the truth.                                                  

   Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.                                              

   Do God’s will as one who is advancing His Kingdom.                                   

   Always get back up after you stumble.                                                            

   Regain assurance of your salvation.                                                                 

   Nail all your guilt to the cross.                                                                           

   Realize the stakes if you fail to obtain deliverance.                                       

Avoid snares that lie ahead.                                                                                        

[1] “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 KJV).

[2] “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6 NASB).

 



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