Finding the Strength to Overcome Sin

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Mind over matter. That’s a phrase I’ve heard since I was a kid. It somehow implies that our mind is strong enough to take control and master everything we put our mind to. There have been cults built around this lie! Every one of us have had things we’d like to make changes in—but with little or no success. Why can it seem so impossible to quit thinking about something our flesh loves but we know is not pleasing to God? The answer is, we’ve allowed ourselves to become convinced that we love these things we know we shouldn’t do. Love and affection creates desire! Love and affection for sinful things creates desire and lust which then leads us to our failure to obey God. So here is the critical key to learn today! Love creates desire but hatred destroys desire. It creates a repulsion for it. And so there are some things we simply must learn to hate!

But Pastor Tim, isn’t hatred bad? Hatred is bad when it’s aimed toward people. It’s not bad when it’s aimed toward sinful thoughts, desires, and actions. God created the emotion of hatred so that it would generate feelings of repulsion and destroy desire! Unless a fleshly love changes to hate or repulsion it will continue to be a problem and lead you to disobeying God again and again. That will lead you to the devil’s playground—not just sin, but to the devil covering you with guilt, shame, and condemnation so that your run from God! Psalms 97:10 NKJV says, “You who love the LORD, HATE evil: He preserves the souls of his saints…” It is actually having a hatred for sin that helps create the strength of restraint to say no to sin. Proverbs 8:13 NKJV says, “The (reverential) fear of the LORD is to HATE evil…”

You’ve said and heard others say, That’s it! I am never going to do this again! Too many people try to mentally override their flesh to win their battles. It doesn’t take long to figure out the success rate of this is poor to none. This is one reason people fall back into drinking, smoking, pornography and sexual misconduct, poor attitudes, greed, lust, and so much more.

So what’s the answer? The answer is in how you frame what you think about something—loving what God loves and hating what God hates! Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”  

Our minds are transformed by replacing old stinking thinking, with God’s kind of thinking! We see that in Romans 12:2 (NKJV) “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  

We stop thinking about unprofitable things and we spend time thinking about things that we need to straighten out in our mind. For example, thinking about porn because you like to look at it is stinking thinking. It creates desire and lusts. God says we need to hate what He hates. He hates porn so we need to think differently about it. I remember when I made this change over 35 years ago. I began to think, Tim, stats prove that the girls in this porn were sexually abused in their life. How sad is that! They didn’t just make this choice. The devil tormented their life until he led them to it. He got someone to abuse them. Then they got trapped in it. They were born as someone’s daughter. They are God’s daughters. God wants the best for themnot this evil. I hate what the devil’s done to them. I hate how Satan has and is destroying their life. These girls deserve to know and love Jesus. They would love a normal life and to be married and have children. That is what I want for my daughter. That is what I want for them. I hate what the devil has done. I hate pornography. When I watch it, I help the industry thrive, ruin more lives and destroy my own and theirs. I hate porn!  God, please send your labors to these women to reveal your life for them and help them get out of this horrid lifestyle. Please deliver them. I hate this evil Satan has done! 

From there, I would begin to pray for these women because they were created by God to be His daughter and know Jesus and experience a blessed life. Between changing my thinking and praying for these women, it took no time at all for me to hate porn. If the devil tried to bring it to my mind as a temptation, I began to think about it in this godly way and would pray for them. It broke the back of wrong desires and temptation again and again.

Whether it be porn, or food, or any kind of lusts, there are right  and godly ways to think about it. There are also things to hate, like when people abuse it, how much it hurts their life. We all want to be a godly example. Framing what was once a lust, into good thinking and praying, gives us strength and victory over evil.  As we read, Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” 

So, when temptation comes, ask God to help you think the right way—to love proper use of something and to hate improper use of something because of all those it hurts. This is what He gave us hate for and we can let hate work in our life in the right way. To turn lusts into feelings of repulsion and hatred toward sin!

Romans 6:18 (NLT2) “Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” 

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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