Is there a certain sin that seems to have a foothold in your life? And does it almost seem as though the sin is getting more and more powerful each month, each year, and tragically, each decade? Do you wonder if you ever will gain victory over it? Or worse, are you beginning to wonder if you are really a Christian?
Sin is a horrible master, and it finds a willing servant in the human body. Sin wants to dominate you, but the good news is that as a Christian, you don't have to be dominated by sin any longer. The Bible says, "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin" (Romans 6:6 NIV). There is a part of us that is drawn to the holy things of God, and there is a part of us that can still be drawn to the unholy things of this world. We all have that struggle. It is almost shocking, especially if you have been a believer for many years, that there still can be an attraction to sinful things.
Here is what we need to remember: We will never get to a point where we are temptation-proof. But I do think we can get to a point where sin will not be so alluring. It comes with growing deeply in our faith, learning more about Jesus, and being so enraptured with His love that we see this world for what it is. I think the classic hymn says it well: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."
To overcome sin, we need to know, we need to reckon, and we need to yield. Romans 6:11 says, "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (NKJV).
To know has to do with the mind, and it is implied in the phrase, "likewise you also." These three words refer back to the truths in Romans 6:1–10. The apostle Paul laid the groundwork, showing us that we are no longer under the jurisdiction of sin, and it no longer has a rightful claim over our lives as children of God. For Christians to live out the fullness of their new lives in Christ, they must realize what God has done for them. We are not merely remodeled sinners; we are remade saints.
To reckon focuses on the heart. The word "reckon" used in Romans 6:11 means "to take into account," or "to count as true." Reckoning is not acting as if it were so; it is acting because it is so. Reckoning is not claiming a promise as much as it is acting on a fact. God does not command us to be dead to sin. Rather, He tells us that we are dead to sin and alive to God. Then He commands us to act on it. And even if we don’t act on it, it is still true.
To yield deals primarily with the will. Romans 6:13 tells us, "And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (NKJV). The word "present" means, "to give into." God is saying, "Yield to Me. Present yourself to Me." Each and every day, we are to present ourselves to God. Think of those in the Bible who presented their lives and their bodies to God and how powerfully they were used. For example, a sling in David's hand defeated the Philistines. Paul's dedicated feet took him from city to city to proclaim the gospel. John's eyes saw visions of the future, his ears heard God's message, and his fingers wrote it all down in the Book of Revelation. It is your choice to what and to whom you are going to yield yourself. And it is an intelligent decision to base your actions on what God has said in His Word.
You have more than enough power to live this Christian life. You have the righteousness purchased by Christ with His own blood. So start taking hold of what God has already given you. Live in the newness of life for which Jesus gave His own.
Reproduced by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA, 92514.
Greg Laurie pastors Harvest Christian Fellowship (one of America’s largest churches) in Riverside, California. He has authored several books including the Gold Medallion Award winner, The Upside-Down Church, as well as Losers and Winners, Saints and Sinners and The Best Is Yet to Come. You can find his study notes in the New Believer’s Bible and The Seeker’s Bible.
Host of the Knowing God with Greg Laurie television program and the nationally syndicated radio program A New Beginning, Laurie is also the founder and featured speaker for Harvest Crusades—contemporary, large-scale evangelistic outreaches, which local churches organize nationally and internationally. Laurie has also appeared on CNN’sLarry King Live, ABC World News Tonight, Fox News, and MSNBC, sharing how the Bible is relevant for people today.
Whether speaking or writing, God has gifted Pastor Laurie with the ability to apply biblical principles to current events in a way that is relevant and easily understood by people of all ages, from all walks of life. The trademark of a Greg Laurie sermon, book, or broadcast is his contemporary, yet straightforward style and format. He resides in Southern California with his wife, Cathe.