Dealing With Sin
When you received Jesus into your life and accepted his sacrifice for your sin, how much of your life did you surrender to his control? I spent years living as a "carnal Christian" after I asked Jesus into my life. I continued to live as though Jesus was not my master. The results were disastrous. Porn addiction was just one of the many bad habits I developed during this time. The Bible describes the need for us to submit all areas of our lives to God (James 4:7).
Often we are tempted to tolerate pockets of rebellion, called "footholds," in our lives. Footholds are caused either by our own sin, or sin that other people have committed against us. When we refuse to surrender the footholds to God, we give the devil opportunities to oppress us. There are many possible footholds involved with sin. We've listed some common ones below. Please consider each area carefully and ask God to bring to mind any sin that you need to deal with.
Inventory Your Footholds
We encourage you to make a list of the footholds in your life as you read through this page and then pray the suggested prayers of confession at the end. The strategy here is to identify the root sins involved with your sin and bring them under the blood of Jesus by confession. The blood of Jesus washes away our sins when we specifically confess them (1 John 1:9, James 5:16). Please be honest with yourself and take time to do a thorough job. You don't want to leave any loop holes for the enemy!
Occult: "The Occult" is a broad term referring to activities that seek knowledge and/or power from sources other than God. For example, sexual sin is part of the occult because it involves seeking "carnal knowledge" of another person. Other examples of occult sin include sorcery, magic, psychics, palm-reading, fortune-telling, witchcraft, false religions and idol worship. (further study: Sins of the occult)
Generational sin: Our sin can bring consequences (curses) that affect our descendants down to the 4th generation. These curses often manifest as weaknesses to certain types of sin. For example, the descendants of a man who commits adultery may find themselves with a tendency toward adultery and fornication. The basis for this is found in Exodus 34:6-7 and other scriptures. A simple way to evaluate the possibility of generational sin affecting you is to construct a family tree diagram, noting any patterns of sin that run down the family line. (further study: Generational Sin)
Lust: Lust and porn addiction work together like old friends. Lust simply is "intense or unbridled sexual desire" (Webster's). Most sex addictions, if not all, involve lust. (further study: Lust)
Sexual Idolatry: Sex can be a powerful pleasure source. When we start making sexual pleasure the focus of our thoughts and activities, we are basically making it an idol. An idol is anything that has a higher priority than God in our life. Porn and other sexually charged material lead people to worship sex now more than ever. (further study: Sexual Idolatry)
Unforgiveness: Bitterness, resentment and grudges are all examples of unforgiveness. Since God was willing to forgive us for our sin, we must be willing to forgive others for what they have done to us. If we do not forgive, our healing and blessings from God will be blocked. Is there anyone in your life that you have not forgiven? (examples: co-workers, former boss, family members, pastor, former church members, abusers, etc. )
Pride: Pride is perhaps the most self-deceptive sin. There are so many ways it can manifest in our lives. Examples of pride indicators: criticism of others, failure to give Jesus control of our life, relying on our own provisions for happiness (instead of God), and ignoring or neglecting God's call for purity in our thoughts. If we're still living as king of our life instead of making Jesus king of our life, then we have a pride problem. (further study: Pride)
Sin memories: One of the problems with sexual sin is that it creates lasting memories. Our thoughts can easily return to those memories instantaneously. Its amazing how we can forget much of what we learned during school, yet retain the memory of one porn picture for years. With God's help, we can cast down those memories and train our minds to pure thoughts.
Cherished memories: Cherishing our memories of our sinful exploits reinforces the memories and leads to prolonged failure in addiction. Even after shutting off the sinful input, we can still walk in sin by dwelling on our memories!
Unwanted memories: Recovery from sin can begin through prayer, by asking God to heal the emotional and spiritual wounds that were created. If unforgiveness is involved, we can ask God to give us the ability to forgive the perpetrator through the blood of Christ. Forgiving the perpetrator does not mean that we are condoning the abuse.
Soul ties: Soul ties can be created through sex, pornography or unhealthy relationships. Soul ties can act like curses and hinder our walk to freedom. We can break soul ties through prayer, specifically addressing these points: 1) Confess the sin committed 2) Name the persons involved 3) Ask the Lord to sever the soul ties 4) Ask the Lord to restore us to wholeness.
Secrecy/Covering Sin: Sin likes to stay in the dark, where it can continue to consume our life. Keeping our sin secret from others blocks God's blessings on our lives (Proverbs 28:13). Bringing it to the light can be fearful and painful, but once we do, we open the door for God's healing and forgiveness (1 John 1:9; James 5:15-16).
Other common footholds:
· An unbridled tongue: constant joking, sarcasm, and gossip allow evil influence in our lives (James 3:6,16)
· Hatred: Hatred allows darkness to blind us (1 John 2:9-11).
· Stingy spirit: Refusing to honor God with our money blocks the path of God's blessings on our lives (Galatians 6:6-9)
· Greed/the Love of Money: The desire to be rich brings temptation and a snare. It causes people to fall into foolish and harmful lusts. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:6-12,17-19).
Wash the Footholds Away
As you look down your list of footholds, consider your feelings about each area. If there are any areas that you are not ready to turn away from, please ask the Lord right now to give you the desire to repent in those areas. Please do not to delay dealing with any area, as it will only cause difficulties for you later on your walk to freedom.
If you are ready to surrender your foothold list to God, please pray a prayer of confession and recommitment to God in each of those areas. Here are some suggested prayers:
Confession brings healing and purification (1 John 1:9; James 5:15-16)
“Father God, I believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who was crucified and resurrected from the dead. I confess that I have sinned by _____________(list the footholds). I renounce these sins and the use of my body for any sinful purpose. Father God, I ask for your forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. I close the door to the devil and his work, and I bar it with the blood of Jesus Christ. Thank you for forgiving me and cleansing me!”
Commitment: secures your resolve to serve God, not sin (Romans 6:13,16,19)
"Father God, I commit myself, body, soul and spirit, to serving you wholeheartedly in the area of ________________. I will no longer present my members as instruments for sin, but rather, for righteousness. I pray that You would strengthen me by the Holy Spirit to walk in purity in this area. In the Name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
Note: If you experience any "spiritual resistance" that prevents or inhibits your completion of the above prayers, do not fear. Call on Jesus to help you complete the prayer. He is greater than any power of the evil one. Examples of spiritual resistance: Persons who have been involved in occult sin often experience difficulty in confessing & renouncing the sin. Symptoms often include: difficulty speaking, shortness of breath, sudden hot flash, loss of train of thought, and severe distraction.
Receive God's Forgiveness: Having prayed those prayers over your footholds, take courage in that God has forgiven you and purified you of your sin. The devil will likely test you to see if you were serious about what you prayed. He'll try to get you to doubt that God has forgiven and purified you. He'll tempt you in the trigger areas where the footholds were. Stand firm in your faith against the devil and resist him! Don't let your thoughts entertain his lies even for a moment. Your faith, like a shield, will quench every fiery dart that the devil throws at you (Ephesians 6:16). Each foothold area may have some long term consequences that you will have to work through. God loves you and will help you work through those issues.
Personal Application Questions
· What areas of your life have not been completely brought under God's control?
· What excuses/reasons do you have for not relinquishing those areas to God?
· What are the lies that are behind those excuses/reasons?
· Failure to submit areas of our life to God's control is linked to what major sin? (hint - James 4:4-6)
· As you commit yourself to walk forward, take a moment to jot down some actions you will take under each former foothold to avoid re-creating the foothold. For example, if I have finally forgiven a co-worker for an offense, I might commit to pray for God's blessing on his/her life every time I see them throughout the day, instead of dwelling on thoughts of revenge and recreating a foothold of unforgiveness.