Talking With Your Disciple About Sin | Part 3
This is the third and last of three articles in this series
Have you heard the saying, “The struggle is real!”? That statement is no more truer than when talking about sin. We desire to please God who loved us and saved us and is preparing a place for us for eternity with Him. And while we wait, we struggle with sins we wish we didn’t! What are we to do? And further, how are we to lead and guide our disciples in this area!
Three Pitfalls to Identify
There are three pitfalls when it comes to dealing with sin in our lives. We need to talk with our disciples about these three areas to see where they may be feeling stuck and in need of our loving guidance.
Condemnation originates from the Devil and is designed to keep you away from God. Whereas conviction originates from the Holy Spirit and is designed to bring you to God. When a person sins, the Devil will say words of condemnation. Say, for example, you explode in anger when your spouse/friend says something that makes you mad. You yell, rant and rave, and spew hateful words. The Devil will whisper condemning words to you such as, “You blew it again. You can’t talk to God, He is fed up with you! He is wanting you to get your act together before you talk to Him. You are such a loser, you will never get out of this anger cycle. It’s just who you are and you will never change.”
The Holy Spirit, however, will quickly whisper words of conviction. He may say words such as, “Talk to God about this. Confess to Him you have sinned and ask for His forgiveness. Tell Him you feel powerless over this anger and need His help to change. You can overcome this with God. You need to also confess to the person you lost your temper with and ask for their forgiveness.”
Condemnation is the devil’s way of keeping you locked in sinful actions and habits. Conviction is the Holy Spirit’s way of drawing you to God to make things right and eventually overcome with His help and power.
A person could erroneously reason that if all of our sins are forgiven and our salvation is secure in Christ, then why not sin to our heart's content? While technically this is true, salvation is based on faith in Christ not sins we have or will commit. A person who has truly been redeemed by Jesus Christ will not live a life characterized by continuous, willful sin. Genuine Christians are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) who demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and not the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). 1 John 3:6-9 clearly states that a true Christian will not live in continual sin.
“6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him … 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” (NIV)
So make sure you and your disciple are not using God’s grace as freedom to sin. Instead, double check if God is truly in your life as Savior and Lord.
It is important to understand that being tempted to sin is not the same as actually sinning. You may be tempted to cheat on a test. You may think about cheating on your taxes, you may think about speeding to your appointment, you may contemplate gossiping about a neighbor, but these are not sins. We sin when we actually follow through on one of these (or other) sinful acts. When the thought of sinning appears in the mind, we can seek the Holy Spirit to help us say NO to temptation and yes to pleasing God. We may even be able to recall a helpful scripture to remind ourselves to turn from a temptation. Instead of berating yourself for having the thought, we can thank God for rescuing us from following through with the sin.
Take stock of each of these pitfalls and share with your disciple which one you tend to fall into most often. Together, you can both pray for each other, hold each other accountable and enjoy a closer walk with God! While we will not be sinless until we are in heaven with God for eternity, but we can strive, at least, to sin less and less.
Whether speaking, training, or discipling, Lori brings a passion to see women raised up to be all they can be in the Lord, teaching to women of all ages on a wide variety of topics. She currently makes her home in Katy, TX, with her husband Alan and two young children Josh and Jake.