By John MacArthur @ http://www.sfpulpit.com
This article concludes our series on How to Kill Sin in Your Life. Points 1-4 in this series were discussed last Wednesday and Thursday. Today we will conclude by considering a fifth and final step.
5. Cultivate Obedience.
Fifth, a life that puts the flesh to death must set itself on a course of obedience. Paul said, “I haven’t attained,” I love this, “but,” he said, “I press towards the mark” (cf. Php. 3:14). He had not yet reached the goal but he was on the path. What path was he on? The path of obedience.
Likewise, Peter said that our lives should be characterized by obedience to the truth (1 Pet. 1:22). We must walk a path of obedience. If we want to engage in a real battle with sin, we must set our course, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, one step at a time, on a path of obedience.
At first it seems hard and the progress seems slow, but stay with it and eventually you will become habitually obedient. If you stay on the path that God has laid out in His Word, that path will lead you to grow in grace, to renew the inward man day-by-day, and you’ll train yourself towards godliness.
In the meantime, how can we evaluate our progress? What inventory can we take to examine our lives, to see if these things are true of us? Just ask yourself some simple questions.
How’s my zeal toward God? Is my heart cold towards God? Has sin made me indifferent to times of communion with Him? Do I have little or no interest in His presence? In the glory of His name? Do I earnestly contend for the faith? Do I live to uphold truth? To live it? To proclaim it? What level is my zeal at?
Do I love His Word? Do I find myself drawn to the Word? Do I find myself indulging in the deep things of the Word? Do you love the time of prayer? Do you love the place of confession? Do you eagerly rush into the place where you can confess your sin and ask God to do the self-examining process by the light of the Holy Spirit, so that every dirty thing can be brought to light? Do you seek that? Do you delight in worship? Is it precious to you to spend the Lord’s Day in the church? Is it your soul’s highest delight to sing His praise and know Him better, that you might offer Him honor?” Or do you say with the Jews of Malachi’s day, “What a weariness worship is!”
Ask yourself this, “Are you sensitive to sin in the church? Are you sensitive to sin in the world? Does it tear your heart up when you see sin around you any where? In your own life?”
You see those are just the basic principles I gave you earlier, simply turned into self-examining questions. Spiritual victory is there if you recognize that you are not under any obligation to sin. If you recognize that the Spirit of God has already bent you towards life, and so He’s already killing sin in your life, and the power to kill all of it is there.
I don’t know about you but I want to have a life of virtue. I want to have a life of joy. I want to have a life of peace, and I want to have a life of usefulness to God, and this is the path to that life. May God give you the strength to walk it; and through your walk, may God bring glory to His own name. After all, that’s the purpose of everything.