How do I not sin? How do I stop doing things I should not do?

The questions have been raised, “How do I not sin? How do I not think things I should not think? How do I stop fearing everything? How do I stop doing things I should not do? How do I stop getting drunk?”

We have to realize that GOD is the one who saves us from the wrath of God. God gives us faith. God works in us so we believe. God authors our faith and our salvation. If we believe in Christ’s saving work, if we stop disbelieving and start believing, then we have been changed – if its more than just lip service and if we repent and keep repenting. We have a new heart if we have been changed. It will be reflected in our choices, our desires, and our actions. It may be huge changes immediately, or it may be little changes. But we will begin to change. 

Jesus sets us free. Before we are saved, we are unable to not sin. Once we are saved, we are able to not sin. We have been set free. God works in us to produce a repentance which leads to salvation, rather than to death. But we must be diligent to present ourselves as approved workmen of God, accurately handling the Word of God in our minds, words, and actions.

Paul says we are in a spiritual war and our weapons are spiritual. We are destroying fortresses, speculations, everything raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:4 is a passage dealing with evangelism, with apologetics. But we can apply it to ourselves. We must replace thoughts that go against God and what God has said with truth and with obedience. This must occur not just outwardly, but inwardly as well. We are to be changed. We are both the change agent and the thing being changed – but we can only do so with the Holy Spirit and the Word. We must be changed by God. We can participate in this by striving to be perfect. This is not something we will achieve this side of heaven. But it is to be our goal. We are to be mature, perfect. We are to ask for whatever we need to become who God wants us to be. God tells us that if we are saved, we are new creations.

We are to be innocent of evil – even in our thought life. Many times we are captured by our thoughts. We dwell on things which we should be freed from. We get hung up on sins of the past, on our failures, on being rejected, on being ignored, on being hurt (whether by others or ourselves), on the consequences of our own choices, or the choices of others. Sometimes we hear others telling us we are failures, or we are bad, or we are not good enough. Sometimes, we tell ourselves we are bad, worthless never good enough. We tell ourselves we will never … we can’t…. etc. 

Some people say they can’t stop themselves, they can’t control themselves. But God says otherwise. God has given us everything we need to live holy lives.

The god of this world blinds people so they can’t see the truth. Yet God works in them so they can be free.

The truth is, we need to recognize that GOD sets us free. We need to recognize that GOD gives us faith. GOD works in us to desire and to do according to His pleasure. God even decides when and where we live so we can find Him. 

We are conquerers already. We simply have to use the weapons God has give us to have that fact reflect in us and through us.

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind to examine/test/prove/scrutinize what the will of God is – that which is good, acceptable, and perfect. this means we replace the things which might or might not have at one time been true of us, and the outright lies about us, with truth of God from scripture. If you have not been saved, then change now and turn to God in faith in Christ’s saving work as our Lord and Savior. If you HAVE been saved, then live like it. Realize that we are not to walk as unbelievers, but as believers in Christ. Sometimes that means having to continually deal with the same temptation or same problem repeatedly. 

But even so, we are to overcome evil with good.

We do that by focusing on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, what is worthy of praise. We do it by PRACTICING giving as Paul said to live. We do it by practicing discerning the difference between good and evil, and the implication is we practice choosing and doing good and rejecting choosing and doing evil. We must be prepared for the spiritual battle we find ourselves in.

We start where we are. God always provides a way out of temptation, to help us endure. Look for it. Put it into action. Trust God. Rely upon God. Obey God. Live out trust. Live out love – for God and for others.

When we recognize we have done something wrong, stop, confess it to God, thank God for being able to recognize it, and replace it with truth of God. Pray. Read scripture. Obey God. 

When we recognize we ARE DOING something wrong, stop, confess it to God, thank God for being able to recognize it and for being able to stop it, and replace it with truth of God. Pray. Read scripture. Obey God. 

When we recognize we are about to do something wrong, stop, confess it to God, thank God for being able to recognize it and for being able to stop it before it happened, and replace it with truth of God. Pray. Read scripture. Obey God. 

When we recognize we are tempted to do something wrong, stop, confess it to God, thank God for being able to recognize it and for being able to stop it before it happened, and replace it with truth of God. Pray. Read scripture. Obey God. 

When we fail, and we almost certainly will, we confess our sin to God, agreeing with God that we have sinned. God will be faithful and just to forgive us. And we pray and read scripture and make plans for how to be more successful next time we are faced with that temptation.

Ultimately, our goal is to glorify God. We are to become more and more like God in righteousness and holiness. 

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supporting scripture:

Romans 5:9

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrathof God through Him.

Hebrews 2:10

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

Hebrews 12:2

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Philippians 2:13

13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

John 6:29

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 

Romans 2:4

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Acts 26:20

but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and evento the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Matthew 6:7-15

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the wayof escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

2 Timothy 1:7

7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

2 Peter 1:3

3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 

Romans 8:37

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

2 Corinthians 12:9

9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

James 1:2-8

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith withoutany doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 

1 Corinthians 14:20

20 Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

2 Corinthians 4:4 

4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

John 8:36 

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Romans 12:2

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 4:17-32

17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Romans 12:21

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Philippians 4:8-9

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Hebrews 5:14

14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Ephesians 6:10-17

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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