My New Year Resolve

 
amy-cheung-215587-unsplash.jpg

2019 has swung around - you know what that means. Scale back on calories, renew gym memberships, recommit to daily habits that set you up for success. There are a plethora of things we can pursue in the new year. It’s natural to begin new habits and reorder priorities when January swings wide open. Whatever your list of resolutions looks like, I want to recommend one practical resolution that we can all add to our list; perhaps even prioritize to the very front. I am convinced this resolution will decide victory or defeat in the life of every Christian and lead to decisive breakthroughs in our new year.

Kill Sin Before It Kills You

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. Psalms 19:13

What is that one New Year resolution? Wage war on your sin this year. Kill your sin before it kills you. Don’t leave willful sin issues in the periphery, but bring it into the crossfire of your attention. In today’s temperate spiritual climate, sin is a topic often overlooked or understated. As a youth pastor, in fear of sounding harsh, I’ve caught myself gravitating away from proclaiming with conviction the awful effects of sin. I’ve caught myself being afraid of offending people completely from the faith due to the hypersensitivity of our times. It’s become too easy to tiptoe around certain sin issues to be politically correct and to accommodate to our culture.

Wise caution is required in our witness. Being harsh or defensive certainly isn’t Christ-like. However, Christ did not shy away from speaking against sin. His message on sin was clear whilst his love for the sinner was unquestionable. I feel that today, much of our message on sin is understated. It’s creating a bubble of compromise that renders many of us ineffective. I see many young people struggling with the consequences of habitual sin like pornography, sexual immorality, and covetousness. Deliberate sins slow the momentum of our faith and stunt spiritual maturity. The presence of persistent, intentional sin in our lives such as pornography and lust is an extensive problem that cannot be left ignored.

Wage War On Your Sin

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. Matt 5:30

There was a pastor who spoke for my college group. What he said deeply impacted me. “Lust is a life or death issue. Taken any lighter, you will not experience victory over this sin.” I had been struggling with a ten year porn addiction, a secret sin that sucked the life out of my faith like a parasite. I knew it had to be dealt with but it seemed to always keep its hold over me. So I decided to make a change, and commit to it. I got my hands on every sermon that I could find on lust, and I sought out counsel of many older people in Christ. I also fasted and weaned myself off watching movies for three years.

Without a killer mindset toward my sin, sin will remain a parasite in my faith. If sin remains a secondary priority only dealt with when it rears its head once a week, then its cycle will continue to hold your faith hostage. No wonder you feel a breakthrough one day, only to go straight back into the wilderness the next. If I commit daily sins such as pornography, unhealthy eating patterns, or drug use, then this is an addiction and it must be addressed as such. Wage war on your addiction. Consider the cost, have a strategy. Enlist support and be informed as to how others have overcome such sin. To truly follow Christ, we must consider the cost. What does it take to overcome our sins, and truly repent? Here are two places you can start.

Bring Sin to Light

First, we must believe His kindness brings us to repentance - the sweet exchange between our sin and God’s grace. This process must occur in community. We can’t do this alone. Yes, our faith is personal. Yet, Christ’s kindness is expressed through his community. The love and accountability of the Church is essential in killing sin. In a war you need a team, a ride or die squad that will love you into victory. Find community. Find a pastor you trust and respect, who sees you and hopes in you. A leader willing to challenge you, be real with you, who covers you in love. Without this, you will be too vulnerable to attacks of the enemy.

Fasting is like Chemo to Our Sin

Bringing your sin to light with your community is of first importance. But if you have already opened your sin issues to your community and spiritual authority, then you may be needing a personal breakthrough in your fight against sin. I recommend you consider fasting.

There is nothing quite like fasting that exposes your flesh and reveals how bound we really are to our own desires. Fasting has allowed me to become so aware of what my flesh is; how much it drives me in everything I do. Fasting not only helped me recognize my sin but it helped me starve it to death. As I gave up certain foods, social media, and movies for a lengthy period, I recognized my dependencies. I experienced extraordinary grace when I repeatedly surrendered them at his feet. In hindsight, committing to fasting was one of God’s many provisions, that has led me to taste decisive victory in areas of bondage in my life.

In 2019, will you wage war with me? Against every intentional and habitual sin, let us wage a good fight. If you’ve given up in areas of your life to compromise and defeat, I want to charge you: let 2019 be different. Be strengthened through our LORD Jesus Christ, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, experiencing defeat and shame. Yet he rose again in resurrection power to overcome the powers of sin and death. This same power is available to you - it’s his promise to those who arm themselves with a killer mindset toward sin, and leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of holiness. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. But we must also play our part. Bless you church! Praying 2019 will be a year of major joy as you walk in the fullness of freedom Christ won for you.

Jiwon J Lee (@pastorfromdownunder) is a husband, a father and a youth pastor at New Life Vision Church. He graduated with a M.Div from Talbot Theological Seminary, and currently lives in Koreatown, CA. 

 
esther chungComment