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How Do I Stop Sinning? Overcoming Your Worst Sins

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We cannot stop sins on our own. But through Jesus Christ all things are possible.

Why Do I Keep Sinning? How Do I Stop Sexual Sin?  What Are Ways to Stop Backsliding?

Overcoming Your Worst Sins The Biblical Way 

These are all valid questions that Christians face. No matter where you live, your age or your background, all Christians will be tried and tested with sin in their lives. Living in a world full of sinful temptation makes the battle for Christian purity that much tougher. But the Bible of course, holds the solution to battling and in some cases, eliminating certain sins in your life. This article will explore one of the methods to overcoming your worst sins and keeping them away for good.

The story of King Josiah is a remarkable account of spiritual revival and re-dedication to God in a time of deep sin. Josiah, who became King of Judah at age 8 after his father King Amon was assassinated, led a sinful nation back to holy living and a right relationship with the Lord. Through his actions, a pattern emerges that every Christian can apply to help overcome sin.

Know Your Condition

“for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7.

Josiah’s grandfather, King Manasseh, was one of the worst, most wicked Israelite kings of all time. The king was the spiritual leader of the nation and Manasseh’s reign was one of the lowest points for pure evil, rebellion and satanic behavior:

And [King Manasseh] did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: – 2 Kings 21:2-7.

This list is staggering for the amount of evil Manasseh had fallen into. He built altars of worship to the false gods of the Canaanites, Israel’s enemies. He worshiped Baal, one of the chief pagan gods of that time. In the temple of God, the holiest place in all of the world, he set up altars to worship demons and fallen angels. The King consulted with wizards and communicated with “familiar spirits”, which were demons that impersonated the dead. He even took a graven image of a false god and placed it inside the temple, the very place where God Himself would reveal His presence once a year. On top of all this, Scripture tells us that he performed an occult ritual sacrifice of his own son, causing him to “pass through the fire” or burning his child alive as an offering to a pagan god. This man’s evil is stunning and the Bible says he “led the nation” in performing evil.

Amon, the son of Manasseh, continued all of the evil of his father and reigned only 2 years before being assassinated. And this was the state of the Kingdom of Judah when Josiah took the throne. God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had fallen deep into rebellion. And this is a picture of how far a Christian can fall today. Thought a Christian is not committing the same sins as Manasseh, they can fall into rebellion from the “small sins” in life. The first step to stopping sin is to recognize it. Lying, stealing, being covetous and blasphemy are all evil in the sight of the Lord just as worshiping a pagan god. Sexual sins – whether it be pre-marital sex, watching pornography, adultery or lusting for another person who is not your spouse, are all sins that are can pull a person into a feeling of addictive behavior, where it seems like there is no way to stop the urges to disobey the Lord.

The internet can be a gateway to sinful temptation.

The Bible says with regards to sexual sin:

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? – 1 Corinthians 6:18-19.

If you are a born again Christian, your body is literally the temple for the Holy Ghost, who you received at the moment you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Notice that the the Apostle Paul explains this concept in the context of sexual sin. Fornication, which is sexual activity outside of marriage, is just as sacrilegious and disrespectful to the temple of God as Manasseh setting up satanic altars. How have you treated the temple of the Holy Ghost? Have you protected your body from sin? Have you kept it pure from demonic and satanic influence? Have you kept your eyes and mind away from sinful sexual imagery and thoughts?  Have you used your body to seduce others into evil? We all have committed these sins in one form or another. So understand that The Lord sees this as pure rebellion against Him and will judge any Christian who is committing such sin. Thankfully, Scripture provides an example in King Josiah of how to get out of this sinful state.

Put your focus on The Lord

Getting deeper into God’s Word will help avoid sin.

And [King Josiah] did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house..2 Kings 22:2-5.

Despite the rampant sin around him, Josiah was seeking God. He walked “in all the way of David his father”, meaning he was not going to serve false gods, but only worship the true and Living God of the Bible. And he wanted to repair the temple, that had was neglected and damaged over the years of his father’s and grandfather’s reign. In order to overcome sin, a Christian has to acknowledge it and have a heart to get right with God. If you are reading this article, that is a sign that you want to remove sin from your life. [B&E: And this article is specifically for those who are born-again Christian believers, whose sins, past, present and future are already forgiven. If you are not 100% sure that you are going to Heaven when you die, please see our Gospel page first].


Confess yours sins to God and pray for His Spirit to continue to work in your life.

And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it… And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying, Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. — 2 Kings: 22:6-13.

The Kingdom was so far gone into sin that “the book of the law”, the first 5 books of the Bible (which was the entire Bible for Jews at that point in history) was lost! There were no Bibles in use at all in the Kingdom of Judah. The High Priest happened to find a copy of one during the temple reconstruction project. Josiah at this point was 23 years old and had never even read the actual words of the Bible. But when he heard it, he immediately repented. He understood just how sinful the nation had been and how much of God’s wrath was kindled against them. Where there is sin, there must be repentance. Do not hesitate to get into prayer and confess your sins to God.

Scripture is clear: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9).
Frequent, repeated sin is almost always a sign of lack of time spent in Scripture and prayer. Some Christians have several Bibles in their home, but without reading them regularly, the “book of the law” is just as lost as it was in the days of Josiah. Commit to daily Scripture reading as a way to strengthen your walk, prepare your mind for battling temptation and to increase your faith. As the Book of Romans says: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). You cannot change your behavior on your own. Every person, Christian included, has a sin nature that continues to desire sin as long as we are in our earthly flesh. But it is The Lord who has changed you through faith in Jesus Christ and will continue to work on you through the presence of the Holy Spirit within you.

The refining of a Christian is a supernatural process and trying to use “willpower” or “determination” alone will lead to failure. It is The Lord who works change in us and seeking Him daily is essential to living for Him. Jesus Christ taught: “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63). Fill yourself with God’s Spirit! Reading the Bible daily and praying several times a day make it very, very hard to live a wild life of constant sinful rebellion. It is God’s Word that will increase your faith, convict you of sin and bring you to repentance and seeking forgiveness from The Lord.

Now some people at this point may say “I do these things. I acknowledge my sin. I truly feel bad when I commit them and I confess them to God. But yet, I still fall back into the same old sinful habits.” Well beloved, understand, that Josiah was just getting started in his battle against sinful rebellion and so are you.

Commit To Live Holy

Removing sinful behavior from our lives is our reasonable service.

And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. -2 Kings 23:1-4.

Josiah made a commitment to live for God and stop the cycle of sinful rebellion that was plaguing the nation. And the foundation of that was The Word of God. The King gathered the entire nation and read them the Bible as the opening of his pledge to lead the people in living for The Lord. Notice he did not make the commitment in private. He made it publicly. Are you ready to stop sinning? Tell people. You do not have to tell them all of your business, but you should let your family and friends know that you have committed to living holier and no longer sinning in the ways you have in the past. This not only holds you accountable to those around you, it is a way to serve as a witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a Christian, your life is your testimony. How you live can affect the ways those around you see the Christian faith. What do those close to see as your Christian testimony?

Josiah followed up his commitment by destroying the vessels made to false gods that were in the temple. This is yet another challenging aspect of overcoming sin. Whatever objects in your life that help contribute to your sinful behavior need to be removed from your life. If it is sinful music or DVDs, throw them away. If they are pornographic or inappropriate websites, have someone place a password-coded filter on your computer that can block the websites you do not want to go too (or just remove the electronics altogether). If your temptation is New Age books or occult-themed entertainment, get rid of them. It may be alcohol or drugs which may  require more intense methods such as a hospital or rehabilitation center, but the first step is getting rid of your “supply.”
Similarly, if there are places that lead you into more temptation, whether it is a strip club, a certain person’s home, parties, the shopping mall, Facebook, a bar or night club, then cease from them. Galatians 5 explains how critical this spiritual battle is to the Christian life:

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God… And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. – Galatians 5:17-24.

As long as we are still in our sinful flesh bodies, we have a constant war between our born again Spirit, which only seeks to serve God and the sinful lust that remains in us. And if you are of Christ, the command is to “crucify the flesh” – or in other words, destroy the sinful ways in your life. But notice that same verse commands the crucifying of the “affections and lusts” as well. And this is where more of a challenge comes in – are you ready to stop sinning backsliding? Do you really desire it enough to stop going to the places that lead you into sin? This is what the Bible commands Christians to do who want to live after the Spirit and not the flesh.
Living for God is not just about resisting temptation to sin – it is also about avoiding the temptation altogether. 2 Corinthians 10 says: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” The easiest way to get rid of sinful imaginations and bring your thoughts to be more Christ-like is to find the things that are defiling the temple that is your body and remove them from your life.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16.

Get Rid of Your Idolatrous Priests

Certain friends are always ready to lead you back into sinful behavior.

And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people….And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven…And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem…

Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD. – 2 Kings 23:3-24.

Many of the toughest sins to overcome involve other people. Whether it is a someone from a relationship that involves fornication, friends who lead you into sinful behavior, someone you enjoy gossiping about others with or maybe fellow gang members, there is no shortage of people in one’s life who can serve to pull you away from following the Lord Jesus Christ and instead serving sin. There are even people you may not speak to who lead you into sinful thoughts whether they be sexual, feelings of envy, racist hatred or mockery. King Josiah was well aware of the many people who were assisting Satan in providing temptation into evil and made it his mission to remove every last person who was leading the nation into sinful rebellion and idolatry. This was not a casual effort. Josiah traveled the nation removing and in some cases killing those wicked priests. And this of course is an example for our own lives, that while we should not harm anyone who leads us into sin, we should certainly no longer have them as major factors in our lives.
Again, the question arises: are you serious about overcoming your worst sins? If so, then the people in your life who participate, contribute or help lead you into rebellion against God should not be so influential in your life. If this sounds extreme, it should beloved. Look at the extreme lengths that Josiah went to in order to reconcile his nation back to God and end the downward spiral of sin. Friends can be a major influence in leading a Christian into rebellion. So if they are a major source of continuing in your worst sins, limit the interaction with those people. Share the Gospel with those friends and let them know you have no desire to participate in those sinful acts with them anymore. If the pressure from those friends is too great to bear, then cease from spending time with them.

In some cases you do not have to, or sometimes cannot, disassociate with people. If there is a family member who you are angered with, cannot stand or leads you into sin, reconcile with them. If this is not possible at present, then try to limit interaction with that person. If it is your own spouse that is driving you to extreme anger, bitterness and resentment, forgive them. God has forgiven you for all of your worst, most evil sins and thoughts, without condition. And you are to forgive in a similar fashion. Ephesians 4 says: “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness… Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”  The things or people who arouse sinful desires in us are “places” for the Enemy to gain a foothold and introduce more temptation to commit that sin. The reader would do well to remove them to the best extent possible.

If you are in a sinful dating relationship and think: “I love my girlfriend/boyfriend. How am I supposed to just end our relationship?”, there is a simple solution: marry them. The Bible says: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband…for it is better to marry than to burn.” (1 Corinthians 7). If you are so attached to a person who you are in a sinful sexual relationship with, the Bible commands you to get married. If you are not ready to marry that person, then you are just using the relationship to serve your own rebellious lusts and it should be ended if it cannot be kept holy (as in dating without fornication). Jesus Christ said: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37). Putting relationships with people who lead you into sinful behavior over your relationship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is on par with not taking up your cross to follow Him. So again, the question is, are you serious about overcoming your sin? If the answer is yes, the steps from Scripture are clear.

Call Upon The Lord

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fearsThis poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” – Psalm 34:4-7.

When you find the temptations of challenging sins returning, call upon the name of Jesus Christ. Pray to God for help with that specific sin in your time of testing.  1 Corinthians 10 says: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” In any sinful temptation that seems too hard to resist, pray to The Lord for that escape at the time you are experiencing the temptation. King David, after falling deep into the sin of adultery and murder said: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”  Pray for a right spirit when Satan challenges you.

The Blessing

“[God] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. –Psalm 1:1-2.

When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. – Proverbs 16:7.

Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart {Josiah] was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. – 2 Kings 22:8-9.

The Kingdom of Judah was so far gone into sin, that God had declared a judgment against them to punish the people for their evil. However, because of Josiah’s amazing efforts to cleanse the nation of its sin and remove the places of evil in the land, The Lord provided a reprieve of His judgment for the entire life of the young King. The entire nation was spared God’s wrath for years, providing more people time to repent. Christians today can avoid the chastening of God by living for Him and showing how serious you are about removing the worst, most difficult sins in your lives. Jesus Christ said: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” You can be freed from the bondage of sin. You can conquer lustful desires. But it is done through the power of Jesus Christ. And in your efforts, you will continue to be blessed by The Lord.

There is no sure-fire way to remove all the sins in your life. The account of Josiah is just one of many examples in Scripture that show that individual sins can be conquered. Before being saved, the Apostle Paul spent years hunting down Christians, delivering them for punishment and execution.  And it took one encounter with Jesus Christ to bring that horrible sin to an end.  The Apostle Peter denied even knowing who Jesus Christ was three times and then went on to proclaim the name of Christ to the point that he was killed for being so outspoken. Did they ever sin again? Of course. The great men and women of the Bible were just human beings going through the same daily fight against sin like we all do. But through Jesus Christ they did overcome certain sins and were blessed for deciding to live for God over living for the world.  God will bless you for committing yourself to battle against sins that are plaguing you. And while every Christian (this author included) will continue to sin as long as we are alive in these earthly bodies, we can trust and know that God will forgive us and give us strength and faith to fight even harder.


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