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TITLE: Shedding Habitual Sin
By Paula Titus

This piece is a devotional type article and is the first thing I have wrote in a while. The words seemed to flow through me one night as I was experiencing deep conviction.
Eph 4:22-25 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body

How many times have you heard an unchurched person say, "If I went into your Church, the place would fall down around me!"? Our first response is usually to laugh and quote the verse from Scripture that says all men have sinned (Rom 3:23). But sometimes I ponder if we truly understand sin and how it slinks its way into every core of our being when we are yet unsaved. I am not at all suggesting that anyone is "too sinful" to come to a Church service, but often times I think we equate sinfulness with atrocities like murder, rape, or adultery. When we become regenerate it often times is easy for Christians to make life-style changes that would appear to outsiders as a genuine turning away from sin. Perhaps they attend Church Services regularly, stop frequenting bars or places similar, or even stop using drugs and/or alcohol. Of course all of these changes are good, but does it really address all there is to be said for a sinful nature?

Rom 7:15-20
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

In this passage from Paul I find a picture of my own sinful nature that still rears it's ugly head while I am yet saved. Nothing good lives in me apart from Jesus Christ,
"but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of the mind." Rom 7:23

Sure, it is not so difficult to abstain from those sins that are so heinous that even most unsaved men would not commit (murder, rape, etc..) But as my walk with the Lord progresses and deepens I become alarmingly more aware of sins that have knitted their way into the fabric of my life while I was not looking. Do these sins suddenly stop manifesting themselves when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ? For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. Gal 5:17.

As the Lord convicts us of certain habitual sins, that once went unnoticed even to ourselves, let us rejoice in the fact that we are becoming aware of these sins so that we may find the strength through our Lord to resist. Whatever these habitual sins may be, gossip, holding grudges, needless worry, self loathing, being judgmental, let us know we must work diligently at removing these hindrances from our lives, that they will not merely disappear once we are saved. Let us remember these habitual sins will keep us from entering into the Lord's presence and from receiving His full blessings just as much as any other sin. Will this work be easy? I have found ridding myself from these may be the most difficult work I have yet done in my walk. As the Lord peels away the layers of my sin nature like an onion, and exposes the true stench of unrighteousness, I draw closer to Him in knowing it is but part of the process in conforming into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

In all of this I draw strength from Him, while living a life of conviction, running the race, realizing "small" sins are damaging my walk with Him, I will stand on His promise that as long as I abide in Him He will be faithful to fulfill His work in me.

Hbr 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
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