Colossians 3:5-6 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” We as Christians must kill sin! Put it to death! Mortify it! John Owen says, “be killing sin or it will be killing you”, and he is right. Romans 8:13-14 says “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are Sons of God.” Those who put to death sin are Sons of God, as it shows they are led by the Spirit. The Christian must be killing sin.
So how should we battle sin and temptation. Well in this article I give seven steps to help battle sin. These are biblical strategies that I have found helpful in fighting sin. They should be done before, during and after facing sin and temptation. Although some will be more relevant at certain times (some show more of how to remove it and others how to deal with it after).
To help you battle with these strategies and remember them, I have summarised them under the acronym MORTIFY. Mortify is an old word that means to crush, destroy and put something to death. And as Christians we must MORTIFY sin!
1. Make sure you’re saved
To have any chance of fighting sin, you need to be a Christian. When we are saved, we become a new creation with a new heart, new desires and the law written on our hearts (Ezekiel 36:22, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Hebrews 8:10). Before and after we face temptation, we must make sure we are saved in light of these truths. The Christian needs to be who they are, and if we aren’t living like this, it’s eternally serious. So, use God’s Word to meditate on who you are and on God’s salvation when temptation strikes.
2. Open your eyes to the dangers of sin
Sin is deceptive and promises something good, but its end is death (Proverbs 5:3-6, 9:17) and an eternity in hell (Matthew 5:22, 29-30, Mark 9:42-49). Don’t get caught in a habit of sin, because it is a deep pit we cannot get out of on our own (Proverbs 26:27). So before and during temptation, open your eyes to its dangers and see the damage it brings.
3. Remove (& Run from) whatever causes you to sin
If something causes you to sin, then cut it off, get rid of it no matter how precious it may be to you (Matthew 5:29-30). Be fierce in your assault on sin, for it is better to enter eternal life limbless, then hell whole (Mark 9:42-49). Run from temptation and whatever causes you to sin. Flee and determine not to sin straight away. (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Corinthians 6:18).
4. Tell God and others
Ask for God to remove the temptation, pray continually and walk closely with God. Confess your failures to God seeking His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). And confess your sins also to each other (James 5:16). Pray for each other and seek accountability from those who care for your soul.
5. Instil God’s truth into your mind
Remember that Gods ways are best, and the shortcuts of sin offer no lasting satisfaction. Instil His promises into your mind and fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), until the sinful thought, desire or temptation is gone. Fill your mind with all that is pure and right (Philippians 4:8). The mind is powerful and we must renew it to have transformed lives (Romans 12:2).
6. Fill your life with beneficial things
Satan has a field day with temptation when we are idle or in vulnerable circumstances. Fill your life with good works, not idleness, for we were created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14). When temptation strikes, go and do some beneficial activity. And fill your life with profitable situations, friends, activities, words and thoughts (Titus 3:8-9).
7. Yearn for true satisfaction
Long for the satisfaction and hope that is found in Jesus, and pursue it with Long for the satisfaction and hope that is found in Jesus, and pursue it with all your might. Remember the gospel that satisfies God’s wrath, provides forgiveness and exterminates the flames of guilt Satan uses to destroy us. Remember Christ came to save sinners, He saved Paul the worst of sinners and He has saved us who were wicked (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Use these strategies to MORTIFY your sin. And just as this list begins and ends with the Gospel, be sure to battle sin and temptation remembering the battle against sin that Christ won on the cross!