Seven Keys to Freedom
How then do you overcome the strongholds of sin? Well, the Word of God gives us seven keys to freedom.
Become dead to sin through
repentance and faith in Jesus.
Those who are new creations
in Christ are no longer slaves to sin! "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin"
(Romans 6:6). "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me"
(Galatians 2:20). "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts"
Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Come closer to God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Submit yourself to God and draw near with a heart purified by faith
. Learn to hate what He hates. "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ..."
(Hebrews 12:1-2). "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded"
Saturate your mind and heart
with the Word of God.
Read the Word, hear it, sing it, meditate on it day and night. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby"
(I Peter 2:2). David prayed, "Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end"
(Psalm 119:133), and, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee"
(Psalm 119:11). Jesus used Scripture to defeat the devil's temptations: "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God"
(Matthew 4:4). Truly, the Word of God is a powerful weapon against the enemy. "The weapons of our
warfare are not carnal [fleshly], but mighty through God to the pulling down [demolition] of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"
(II Corinthians 10:4-5). We are to continually renew our minds with God's truth. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind"
Tear down the idols in your
Turn off, put away, get rid of anything that makes provision for your flesh or hinders you from hearing the voice of your Shepherd, Jesus Christ. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service"
(Romans 12:1). "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God"
(Colossians 3:1-3). God wants your whole heart
and nothing less! "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"
Submit yourself to God and
have someone keep you
Identify the weaknesses of your flesh and see temptation coming ahead of time to avoid the ambushes of the enemy. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you"
(James 4:7). Understand that the temptations you fall for are relatively predictable, and ask a brother or sister in Christ to pray for you. "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"
Yield to the promptings of the
Be wise and stand firm in the faith by recognizing the way of escape provided for you. If you allow doubt
to creep in that Jesus isn't sufficient to handle your situation, it will lead to sin. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it"
(I Corinthians 10:13). Choose to obey
the leading of the Holy Spirit (see I John 2:27), which always lines up with the Word of God. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye
your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God"
Walk in the Spirit.
Be filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit. "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit"
(Ephesians 5:18). Herein lies the key to overcoming sin: it is impossible
to sin when you walk in the Spirit! "This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh"
(Galatians 5:16). Learning to walk in the Spirit doesn't happen overnight; it is a process which involves steadfast faith and daily renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2 tells us, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
As new creations in Christ, we have the "mind of Christ" (see I Corinthians 2:16), showing us the will of the Father. His will is that we know
His Son Jesus,
up to spiritual maturity
, and overcome
the lusts of the flesh by walking in the power of His Spirit (Galatians 5:16). In Christ Jesus, there is liberty. "Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another"
The Goal of Maturity
Each of us is at a different place in our walk with the Lord. Yet we all need to grow up to perfection (maturity), which is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself"
Sadly, many Christians stay perpetual babes and don't grow up "unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ"
(Ephesians 4:13). They are carnal
(I Corinthians 3:1-4) and often experience a frustrating cycle of stumbling in sin, then confessing, then rededicating their life to Christ, then stumbling again. Some of them end up falling away
from the faith altogether. Thanks be to God, it is
possible to rise above this cycle by the power of His Spirit!
Here are some reasons why Christians stay carnal
(governed by their flesh) and don't walk in victory:
- They don't feed their inner man with the milk and meat of the Word (see John 17:17, I Corinthians 3:1-4).
- The world holds their affection and they lose their first love (see Revelation 2:4).
- The world bombards them with temptations from music, advertising, television, radio, friends (see Ephesians 4:14).
- They are dull of hearing the Lord's voice (see Matthew 13:15).
- The cares of the world choke out the Word (see Matthew 13:22).
- They keep idols in their hearts (see Mark 12:30).
- They don't pass trials and testings (see Romans 5:3).
- They lack faith (see Hebrews 11:6).
- They are ignorant of (or fail to recognize) the enemy's insidiously familiar tactics against them (see Hosea 4:6, II Corinthians 2:11).
- They don't receive correction from their spiritual leaders (see Hebrews 12:5-11).
Our Heavenly Father desires that His children grow up to spiritual maturity. As we abide in Christ
, the Holy Spirit teaches us all things, sets us apart from the world, and makes us holy unto God. This process is called sanctification
, and it is essential. For without holiness, no one shall see God (Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 12:14). Every believer should "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"
(II Peter 3:18).
We are to walk by faith and not by sight, knowing that our old man
is dead in Christ and our new man
is alive in Christ. When we live according to who we are in Christ
and daily submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will experience victory over sin and our flesh
will no longer have power over us.