What would you say if you were asked what the biggest problem in your life is right now?
You might have a list of problems that you’re facing… BUT… that is not your biggest problem. Your biggest problem is you. You cause yourself more problems than anybody else does.
We cause those problems by the way we think. Because wrong thinking causes wrong feelings, wrong feelings leads to wrong actions, and wrong actions create all kinds of problems. Most of the problems in your life are caused by the way you think.
Not everything you think is the truth. Just because you think or feel something doesn’t mean it’s true. We lie to ourselves all the time. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?”
We lie to ourselves far more than we lie to anybody else. Sometimes we tell ourselves things are better than they really are. Sometimes we tell ourselves things are worse than they really are.
Not everything you think and feel is the truth. When you act on thoughts and feelings that aren’t correct, you’re going to have behavior that’s not correct. That will cause problems in your life.
This is called your sin nature and we all have one. It’s not your fault that you sin, you didn’t create your sin problem, you inherited it from Adam and Eve.
Since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, every human being has been born with a tendency toward sin. For instance, when you know the right thing to do, do you do it? Not always! When you know something is the wrong thing to do, do you still do it… or eat it? Yes, you do.
That is your old sin nature. And that is your biggest problem!
What Is Sin?
Even though sin is the biggest problem in your life. God has provided the solution to your biggest problem. God has provided the solution to your tendency toward sin.
Let’s start with a definition of sin. We usually think of sin as a behavior. We think of bad actions like murder, adultery, rape, and stealing. When we think of sin we think of mean, bad, nasty behavior.
But the Bible tells us that God is far more interested in your thoughts, feelings and words than even in your behavior. In fact, in the Bible has a lot more to say about sins of the tongue than sins of any other part of your body.
1. Sin is the opposite of God and good.
God is always good, He is never bad. So sin is the opposite of what God is.
“Everything God does is good and fair; all His commands can be trusted.” Psalm 111:7
“The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.” Psalm 145:9
God is good to everyone. Are we good to everyone? No. God shows compassion to all people. We try, but we fall short of that standard.
When God created the world in Genesis 1, He looked at what He had created and said, “This is good.” What we do is we take what God created as good and we use it in bad ways.
We take the good that God made and we misuse it, abuse it and then we lose it.
Money in itself is neither good nor bad but it can be used for good or used for bad. Sex isn’t bad or dirty, sex is holy. It was God’s idea. Drugs can be used to heal people or to relieve pain. But if we misuse it and abuse it then instead of being beneficial it’s destructive.
We get hurt when we subvert and pervert the good that God does. Sin is always a perversion of God’s good gifts.
It is impossible for God to do anything evil. He cannot sin or do wrong. Job 34:10
God wants us to be like Him, so anytime I’m sinning I’m being the opposite of God and that’s a bad thing.
2. Sin is the opposite of love.
One day a man asked Jesus, “What’s the most important commandment in the Bible?” Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Life is all about love. If those are the two most important commands, then sin is the opposite of those two commands. Not loving God and not loving your neighbor is sin.
“As sin and evil increase in the world, people’s love will grow cold. Matthew 24:12
Are we seeing that today? People are more rude and critical than ever. Civilization is becoming uncivil. Why? Because as sin increases… love decreases.
They’re the opposite of each other.
3. Sin is always selfishness.
“Wherever there is selfishness you find disorder and every kind of evil sin.” James 3:16
Sin is self-centeredness. The middle letter of sin in English is I… S-I-N. It’s a visual representation that the “I” centered life is the sinful life. We all have an “I” problem. I want it my way… I will do my own thing… I think this… I feel that…
4. Sin is always unbelief.
Specifically, it is an unbelief in who God is.
“The Holy Spirit will show that the world’s sin is unbelief in Me.” John 16:9
Sin is when we don’t believe God is who He says He is and we don’t believe that God will do what He says He’ll do. When we become fearful or anxious, we’re showing our unbelief in God’s promises.
There are over 7,000 promises in this book and if you claim them you won’t be fearful or anxious. 365 times the Bible says, “Do not be afraid.” That’s one for every day of the year.
When I get impatient that means I am doubting God’s perfect timing. God has a plan for your life and He is not in a hurry. His timing is perfect.
When I get resentful or bitter it means I am doubting God’s wisdom. God is a wise, good, loving God and He has a wise, good and loving plan for your life. But you look around at others and compare their lives to your own. It can make you resentful and bitter.
When I doubt that God can bring good out of bad, I get resentful.
What about carrying guilt? How long should a follower of Jesus Christ feel guilty? About one second. That’s how long it takes to confess a sin once you’ve done it,”Sorry, God, that was wrong. Please forgive me.” Boom, it’s gone, it’s forgiven.
But people carry guilt around for years! God doesn’t want you carrying guilt around like that. Confess the sin and get rid of the guilt. What does it mean when you carry guilt around like that? It means you can’t forgive yourself because you doubt God’s forgiveness, and that’s a sin.
What about when I feel inadequate? When you have feelings of inadequacy you’re saying you doubt God’s power to help you. Sin is really all about unbelief.
What’s The Problem With Sin?
Is sin really that big a deal? Let’s look at six problems with sin and then we’ll look at the solution.
1. The first problem is that I was born with a selfish desire to sin.
The classic Bible passage on this in Romans 7. The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest Christians who ever lived says,
“I feel that I’m a slave to my sinful desires. Sin masters me. … I can’t help myself because of my sinful nature inside me. … It’s a law at work in me that is at war with my mind.”
There is a battle raging in your mind between your old nature and your new nature. Between your desire to do the right thing and the natural human inclination to do the wrong thing.
This problem is not a new thing… it has plagued humankind since Adam and Eve. We were born with the tendency to make wrong choices and every one of you could give an example of that.
2. The second problem with sin, It breaks my fellowship with God.
Sin is a relational issue. Have you ever walked into a room when a couple has had a fight? You’re not even in on the fight but you can tell there is some tension in the room. Why? Because when you sin against your spouse it breaks your connection.
The same is true with God. Sin breaks our connection with God. That’s why when you pray your prayers bounce off the ceiling. That’s why you don’t feel God in your life.
“Your sins are the roadblock between you and your God. That’s why He doesn’t answer your prayers, or let you see His face.” Isaiah 59:2
Your sin matters. It affects your relationship with God, others and yourself.
3. Third problem, every time I sin something dies inside me.
The Bible tells us that sin is a silent killer. The wages of sin is death. There was no death on this planet until sin entered the world. If Adam and Eve had never sinned, they would have lived forever. Sin and death go together.
“Our evil desires make us sin and when sin is finished with us,… it leaves us dead. James 1:15
We’re not just talking about physical death here, a lot of stuff dies when you sin. Your passion for God dies. Your dreams of being closer to the Lord die. Your relationships die when you sin. Sin kills your potential. Sin kills your joy.
4. My sin may be a secret but it’s never private.
Our sin always affects other people even if nobody else knows about it. The reason why it’s never private is because it’s going to come out eventually. Either here on Earth or at the Judgment Day, every sin will be known.
“You may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23
The Bible says that if you cover up your sin you cannot be successful. But if you confess it and forsake it you get another chance.
“None of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.” Romans 14:7
Some people think as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, it shouldn’t matter. But you are hurting other people when you sin.
5. That leads to the fifth one, sin does long term damage.
We think if we don’t see the damage right away maybe there won’t be any. Sometimes sin destroys your life suddenly like an earthquake. Sometimes it destroys your life over time like erosion or dry rot.
Sinning is like sowing seeds. When you plant a seed it takes time for the seed to germinate and grow to maturity. It takes time to produce a harvest. But whatever you sow, you will reap. Whatever you plant is what you’ll harvest.
“Don’t deceive yourself, you can’t make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you will harvest. If you plant in the soil of your sinful nature, you will harvest destruction. But if you plant in the soil of your spiritual nature, you will harvest everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7-8
You don’t plant apple seeds and reap tomatoes. You don’t plant bitterness and reap love.
6. Disobeying God is neither fun nor funny.
Disobeying God is neither fun nor funny. We often fall for one of Satan’s biggest traps. Satan wants us to laugh at sin because if we laugh at it lowers our resistance to it. When Satan wants to take society to a new low he does it through comedy. He’ll put it on a sitcom, or in a standup routine, or on Saturday Night Live.
Because when you laugh at it sin it doesn’t seem so bad. But sin is not a laughing matter. Sin killed the Son of God on a cross. And that’s not funny.
“A fool’s fun is in being bad.” Proverbs 10:2
The ESV says, “Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool.”
The fool thinks sin is a joke but it’s not. How much of our entertainment today is watching people commit sin?
“Because of your stubbornness in refusing to repent and turn from your sin, you’re storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For there’s going to come a day of judgment when God will judge all people according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who seek God, but for those who are self-seeking, and reject the truth and practice sin, they will face God’s anger.” Romans 2:5-8
That’s pretty sobering. Nobody likes to read that verse, but it’s there. Now, here’s the good news… God has solved your sin problem! You can’t solve it but God has solved it for you.
Jesus dying on the cross is the answer to everything. God doesn’t want you to be a slave to your sin nature. God wants you to find freedom in Christ.
How Do I Break Free From My Sin?
There are three things you need to do.
1. Understand what Jesus did for me.
On the cross, Jesus not only paid for the penalty of your sins, He also broke the power of sin in your life. By paying the penalty for your sin Christ broke sin’s power over you. On the cross Jesus Christ broke Satan’s power in your life so that you now have the power to say “No” to sin, that’s a power you didn’t have before.
If you trust in Christ you have the power to say “No” to sin that you did not have before. It’s more than willpower, it’s Holy Spirit power in your life.
“Jesus personally carried away our sins in His own body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.” 1 Peter 2:24
“Although Jesus died on the cross in weakness, He now lives by the mighty power of God. We, too, are weak, but we live in Him and have God’s power.” 2 Corinthians 13:4
2. Let God give me a new nature.
“Those who have been born again into God’s family will not continue in habitual sin, because God’s life is in them now.” 1 John 3:9 NLT
“If you have the Spirit of God living in you, you are controlled by your new nature!” Romans 8:9 LB
If you have the Spirit of God living in you you’re controlled by your new nature. You don’t just have your own sin nature that wants to do the wrong thing, you have a new spiritual nature that wants to do good things. You want to walk in the Spirit so that you
It’s off with the old nature and on with the new nature. And that battle is won or lost in your mind.
3. That’s why I must change the way I think about sin.
“Jesus died to defeat sin once for all. Now He lives in and for God. In the same way, you should think of yourselves as dead to sin but alive to the power of God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:10-11 NIV
“Do not let sin control the way you live anymore or do what your sinful nature wants to do. Don’t let any part of your body become a tool of evil used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. Offer your body as a tool for doing good for the glory of God.” Romans 6:12-13 NLT
Sin is the opposite of God and good. Sin is the opposite of love. Sin is always selfishness. Sin is always based in unbelief toward God. Sin is my biggest problem. But God solved that problem for me through Jesus Christ. And when we understand what Christ truly did for me, we choose to live life with the new nature God has given me.
When we change the way we think about sin we can be free from the penalty and the power of sin.
Briefly check back on your discussion from the last week, “Five Lies of Relationships.” Any more thoughts or observations?
What is sin? 1) Sin is the opposite of God & good. 2) Sin is the opposite of love. 3) Sin is always selfishness. 4) Sin is always unbelief in who God is.
What’s the problem with sin? 1) I was born with a selfish desire to sin. 2) Sin breaks my fellowship with God. 3) Every time I sin, something dies inside me. 4) My sin may be a secret but it’s never private. 5) Sin does long term damage. 6) Disobeying God is neither fun nor funny.
How do I break free? 1) Understand what Jesus did for me. 2) Let God give me a new nature. 3) Change the way I think about sin.
Discussion & Application
1. Jesus said, “As sin and evil increase in the world, people’s love will grow cold.” Matthew 24:12 (NCV) Take a few minutes and think about how you would define sin. Write down your personal definition. Share with your group.
2. Which of the problems with sin did you resonate with the most?
3. “Everything God does is good and fair; all his commands can be trusted.” Psalm 111:7 (NCV) Everything God creates is good. We are the ones who have twisted His good creations, using them for bad. Think of a recent selfish, unloving, or unbelieving act. Looking back, how might you have chosen differently?
4. Sin stands in the way of communicating with those who love you. What are some of the roadblocks that exist in your relationship with God?
5. Jesus personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross, so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT) One or two of you brave souls share a time in your life when you sought to break free from sin in an area in your life. Briefly tell how you found freedom in Christ.
Ask how you can pray for and support one another this week. In your closing prayer, ask Jesus to help you live Godward, God-centered lives, to change the way you think about sin, and to live as Christ before others.
Reflect and take seriously the three ways to break free. Next, join us next week as we look at how fight against persistent temptations.