Part of the reorienting effect of being a new creature means that we now posses the divine nature (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4). God wants His people to hate every false way (Psalm 119:104, 128), which means that I have to hate every way that is sinful and unrighteous (1 John 3:4; 5:17). One who sins is of his father, the devil (1 John 3:8).
Understanding these principles, how can I avoid living in the way of the devil? How can I avoid sin? Remember these four steps:
- Keep in mind that you live in the presence of God. When Joseph was tempted, he had the presence of mind to resist, thinking that he cannot sin against God (Genesis 39:9). Hebrews 4:13 says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
- Hide the word of the Lord in your heart. That’s how the psalmist said the young man can keep his way pure (Psalm 119:11). Giving us a solid example, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He answered each of the temptations by saying, “It is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
- Meditate on pure thoughts. You have to guard your thoughts because they determine the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23). Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” When you’re feeling the pull of sin, fill your mind with examples and exhortations that will give you strength to face the devil.
- Do not forsake assembling with saints (Hebrews 10:25). Part of my power and fervor against sin is developed because I’m around God’s saints. In a negative way, Paul reminds us succinctly, “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33). I’m good when I’m around good people; I’m bad when I’m around bad people.
Part of being a Christian is not conforming to the world (1 Peter 1:14). “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself”(Daniel 1:8). Use these steps to avoid sin, giving yourself a purer heart and a virtuous life.
Adapted from Harold Hancock