Killing Sin

Day 3 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Attack It

Attacking sin is all about taking extreme measures to put to death whatever sins are killing you. This is where blood needs to be spilled. But, as John Piper explains, there’s only one way to prepare for battle: “Until you believe that life is war—that the stakes are your soul—you will probably just play at Christianity with no blood-earnestness and no vigilance and no passion and no wartime mindset”1. This is war, and Jesus got graphic in defining it:

“And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” (Matt. 18:8–9)

Jesus is not being literal. He’s using hyperbole to make a crucial point: attacking sin at the source is necessary. Killing sin might not be a common topic in conversation, but it needs to be. We discuss sin, find accountability for sin, get counseling for sin, and deal with sin in ways that end up leaving the sin intact and us in pieces. Exploring and being held accountable or even getting counsel around you is fantastic. But all of this needs to come to the “Y” in the road of deciding to put sin to death and finding a strategy for how to do it.

In Proverbs 7, we find the story of a young man who got involved with a married woman—reaping all the short-lived moments of satisfaction. Early in the story, we see that he took the path toward her home. That’s where the battle was lost. He should never have gone down that path. It was too much pressure. Cutting off the path to sin usually prevents us from walking into sin—preemptive strikes work.

Apply this same approach for anything that’s killing you and needs to be killed. If you have a credit card weakness, leave it home, cut it in half, or melt it, but don’t have it handy. Ever! If wine, beer, the stiff stuff, or other drugs are owning you, get them out of easy reach, and find those trigger points or trigger people and remove them as much as possible. If social media is devouring your time, put limits on your electronics for this as well.

With God’s grace, courage, and the right support, you can put anything to death that’s killing you!

STRATEGY FOR BATTLE:

ATTACK IT — Take extreme measures to kill what’s killing you. Remember that limiting access is one of the most practical ways to starve the supply lines of sin.

● Write down a strategy to make this sin less accessible. Ask others to help you brainstorm if necessary.

● List the people, places, or things that need to be cut off.