It is within our nature to be in sin as it has been since Adam first sinned against the Lord. We are born in sin and are only redeemable through our belief in Christ; that he came and died for us, him being prefect and without sin, so we may have eternal life and not be destined to the same judgment of that which was meant for the devil.
When becoming a believer your sinful nature does not leave you, however, upon following the teachings of Christ through the Word (the Bible) you and the Lord can change your behavior. We will always still struggle but through earnestly seeking the life that Christ teaches the Lord will help us change our behaviors towards sin.
When one becomes a follower of Christ that which binds you to sin is cut, much like a surgery, and we are made new in the Spirit of Christ. However, as we are still living in our bodies we are still attached to our old selves, that is, the flesh. The removal of that sinful nature of the flesh comes through an honest desire to improve and become closer to the Lord. Unfortunately we are still human in the flesh and so our human nature to sin still remains as long as we are in our fleshly body. Now our soul, which belongs to Christ, wars against that which is the flesh. When we are tempted to sin we are literally fighting not against the sin itself, because it has not happened yet, but against ourselves and our old human nature. That does not give us right to give in to sin because if we are believers we no longer belong to ourselves (and our sinful nature) but to the Lord.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:10-15 KJV)
We are told to strive to be holy. We should seek the Lord on how to help us get past areas of sin we may struggle with.
I for one have struggled for quite some time with the habit and addiction of smoking. To many that may not seem as such a big deal while to others they may not be able to comprehend the seriousness of what an addiction can be to someone, especially someone who believes on Christ. When I was not living the way I should, as a follower of Christ, it was not that big of a deal to me. However, the closer you get to Him and the more you wish to seek His ways, the harder it will be.
Last August I made the decision to quit smoking and dedicate myself fully to the Lord. I know I am not perfect, though we must always seek perfection, and through my own arrogance some months ago I gave in to temptation thinking that I was above it. I thought that having one cigarette couldn’t possibly do any harm and I was definitely wrong. Once you have given in to temptation on something that has kept you in bondage for so long you have then given Satan grounds to temp you fully all over again. It is as if you have picked up the shackles the Lord has freed you from and you’re trying to put them back on your wrists. Many may wonder why someone would even do something so foolish to begin with and I could not even answer them. The most I could say is that pride really does make fools of us all.
Since the time I gave in to temptation with smoking I have struggled more than I had the first time I gave it up. I have allowed myself to be shackled once more to sinful desires; something that harms not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
The amount of shame one feels when giving in to something that you were previously more than happy to be cleansed of can almost seem unbearable at times. One may not realize, if they have not struggled with something similar that they are aware of, that the person in the sin is already causing a lot of grief to befall themselves as well as having the conviction of the Holy Spirit inside them. In other words, they do not need help feeling guilty and judgement will only make matters worse. What I find many fail to realize is that God sees all sin the same, as it is just that. Sin is something we are born into that causes separation from God. If all sin causes separation from God can any sin be worse than another? We know there are sins that God hates more than others, as we read about in the Old Testament, and many of them are hated by Him not just because they bring more separation between Him and us but because they also cause harm to others. And example would be murder. How many people would be affected if you murdered someone? That is not to say we cannot be forgiven if we truly repent and work on changing our ways, but what many do not realize is that not only can we do things on our own to sin against God and cause harm to a relationship with Him but we can sin against each other as well causing harm to relationships with others.
Some may consider something such as smoking to be as bad as someone with a drinking problem or someone who struggles with porn and/or masturbation. If God sees all sin the same and they all cause separation from Him, that also means that the other sins are just as bad. I see a lot of people who still struggle in sin, myself especially included, and I would say pride is one of the hardest ones for someone to admit and overcome (I also know this by experience). Either way, we are not to judge each other of our sins as we have one Judge for that. We are to love and help each other, praying for one another.
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. (James 5:16)
Ever wonder why we are to admit our own faults? By admitting you are just as at fault for sin in your life you are showing that it is only in Christ that we can be made whole. It also helps us by allowing others that we trust to pray for us in areas we most need help. When we admit our faults to one another we are also showing that we have no right to judge anyone. We are showing that we are just as guilty to sin as the next person and that we too need Christ to work in our lives. The more glorious thing in all of it is that we are redeemed through belief in Christ and by repenting of our sins, asking forgiveness not only of what we have done against Him but also forgiving others of what they have done toward us. This is also so our Heavenly Father may also forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15).
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
(1 Peter 2:21-25 KJV)
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 KJV)
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
(John 10:14-18 KJV)
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12 KJV)
Do not lose heart in your struggles because everyone that is born of the flesh will go through temptations and struggles. You are not alone just as I am not alone in my own struggles. When you are struggling the most go ahead and admit it. You have to first admit it to yourself, then to the Lord, and then to others. You cannot expect to get past it alone, that’s where pride comes in. We were made to love and help each other, not to go through everything alone. This writing is me admitting that I am struggling against smoking. Some days have been better than others and I have to be the first to admit when I need prayers on this as I cannot do it all alone and it is only through the redeeming qualities of Christ that I will get past this. For it is true, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)
So for anyone out there that is struggling, don’t give up. Keep seeking and striving to be worthy of Christ.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:9-13 KJV)
Persistence for perfection:
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (Luke 11:5-8 KJV)