Monday, January 18, 2016

How to Deal with Sin's Nagging Pull

Taken from

By Joe Dallas

By the time I began seeing a counselor, I'd already repented. I'd thrown out my porn, disconnected my cable service, said good-bye to old friends, relocated to another county, and joined a Bible-believing church---in short, all the "turning from" that needed to be done had been done.

It was a good start, but I couldn't shake this one stubborn question, and by now, I'll bet it's a question that's nagging you too: "I've tried to stop so many times before, only to fail. So why should I think this time will be any different?"

I remembered the countless promises I'd made to God since childhood, promises I'd usually make right after sinning. The bitter tears, the anguished "I swear I'll never do this again!" repeated over and over, then brief weeks (occasionally even months) of abstaining, leading to the belief that this time I was finally free.

Then the inevitable longings, temptations, failure, and self-hatred, only to be followed by more futile promises.

So what made me think I'd succeed this time?

It's one of the first questions I posed to my counselor. After hearing about my background, he observed, "You kept failing because you've been making three basic mistakes. First, you've underestimated the power of sexual sin, and you've overestimated your own integrity. You thought just repenting and being sorry would be enough, and that if you really tried, you'd never want to act out again. That's a huge underestimation of sin, not to mention an overestimation of your own strength."

My humility grew a bit that day.

"Second, you failed because you had a change of heart without a change of lifestyle. And without a lifestyle change, all the 'I'm sorrys' in the world won't keep you on track."

I nodded, remembering what John the Baptist had said: "Bear fruits worthy of repentance" (Matthew 3:8). Or, in modern terms, "Show me the money!"

"And finally, it looks like you never set up a routine that would regularly---and I mean daily---influence your heart. The heart is where it all begins, don't you know? Set up daily habits that impact your heart, and you'll set up a structure for success."

He paused to let it sink in; then he continued: "You've taken the first step. But giving a sin up is never enough. You've got to now set up a structure to keep you from going back to it. In other words, it's time to stop weeping and start working."


Anonymous said...

Yes, this is so true.

I have now started Game Plan, knowing my cycle of repent-victory-fall oh so well.

Thanks for all your helpful postings!


Emma Joy said...

Hi Bill,

I am so thankful the posts here have been helpful and that you have started reading The Game Plan.

May this resource bring genuine change to you and may you be consistent with reading it then faithfully seek to apply the tools listed and make it a part of your everyday routine.

Emma Joy

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