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Mortifying Sin

August 28, 2007

Recently, I was asked what were some specific things that I do in order to fight the temptation of sin. I hesitated on how I could answer the question. It believe it depends much on the individual on how to daily fight sin. Yet, I do think there are things all believers should do in order to kill sin. As John Owen says, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” So here, are a few things that help me:

  • Read Scripture – This is obvious. The continual confrontation of God’s Word every morning puts a godly perspective in all things. There should reading and meditation over God’s Word. As 2 Cor. 3:18 teaches us, we are transformed to one degree of glory to the next by seeing the glory of Lord. The glory of Lord is planted in God’s Word and it transforms those who look to it. The more we are transformed by the glory of the Lord, the less appealing sin will be.
  • Pray – Kent Hughes (author of Disciplines of a Godly Man) describes prayer like film exposure. The more you expose the film to the light, the more the light will be burned into the film. This is like prayer. Prayer is a means in which God’s light is exposed to our hearts. When God’s light is exposed to our hearts, sin becomes evident. Sin appears to us as it truly is: ugly. Also, sins that we may not be aware of become exposed by the light of God. The more we are aware of sin, the more we can kill it.
  • Scripture Memorization – Scripture memorization is a difficult discipline, especially for me. I have recently recruited my wife as a partner in memorization to help me stick with it. The discipline of Scripture memorization is helpful because it is like Xeroxing God’s Word in your brain (and hopefully in your heart). One thing that I suggest is that you slowly work through memorizing an entire book of the Bible. And when I say slowly, I mean it. My wife and I are slowly memorizing through Ephesians – very slowly. We are on a 31 week plan – 1 verse a day, 5 verses a week. This may seem impractical, but I assure you that it is extremely practical. When we memorize an entire book or large sections of Scripture, we are memorizing not only a large amount of verses, but whole the context of passages. When you memorize Ephesians, you are memorizing the message of Ephesians. So when you pull to memory a verse, the context becomes clear as well. This also allows our mind to be reformed by Scripture with more precision.
  • Read Good Books – I have found that there are books that are so helpful in seeing and understanding the power of temptation and the power of the gospel. The best book I have read that has helped me understand the fight against sin is The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (vol. 6). There are too many others to list.
  • Remembering God’s Glory – One thing that I pray for in the mornings is that God would remind me of his goodness and glory throughout the day, so that the allurement of sin may be overwhelmed by the contrasting glory of Christ in my mind. I do a few things to help this process. I put reminders on my phone at 10 am, 2pm, and 5pm. The reminders are there to take 1 minute, stop what I am doing and pray that God would remind of his goodness and glory and pray against pride, anger, and lust (3 dangerous temptations for men, especially). This helps me in my day.
  • Listen to Godly Preachers – There are numerous men available online to listen to. Not just sermons, but lectures and conference audio that make for great mind reformation. On the right column of this blog I have a section called “Great Sites for Audio” which have been extremely helpful for me. I listen to audio when I am doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, or on long drives. I listen to men who take seriously the power of temptation and sin and the power of the gospel.
  • Surround Yourself With A Godly Community – This may be where I am weakest at. I tend to be a private person who likes to read by myself. But I have to be disciplined to surround myself with godly men who know me and aren’t afraid to point out even subtle weaknesses to sin or tendencies. My wife is helpful in this area as well at times.

These are a few things that are helpful to me.  My weaknesses are in Scripture memorization and surrounding myself with a godly community.  I hope, maybe, this is helpful.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. logan permalink
    September 8, 2007 10:01 pm

    Hey thanks. This has helped alot. Have you found success??

  2. jbstarke permalink*
    September 9, 2007 8:48 pm

    Through these I find most success!

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