“Submit therefore to God.” – James 4:7
The key starting point in learning how to overcome temptation to sin is to submit your life to God through the person of Jesus Christ. Now, I realize many people have not yet made this decision, so let me tell you how.
You make the decision when you come to intellectually believe what the Bible stays about Jesus– that He is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for your sins, and that He rose from the dead. When you come to believe that and come to believe that He is the source of salvation, you’re taking the first step, but you’re not a Christian yet.
You become a Christian when you trust Christ enough to submit to Him. You make yourself subject to Him. This phrase “subject to” is a military term. A person in the military is subject to their commanding officer. When we come to trust Christ we’re saying, “Look. I’m no longer going to live for myself or live to please other people. I’m going to live to please Jesus, to follow Jesus. I’m going to submit to the authority of Jesus. He is my commander.” And this means we submit to the authority of Christ in every area of our life. We don’t have any secret compartments that are “hands-off” to God. Every single part of our life is submitted to Him.
And here’s the really good news. When you submit to God through the person of Christ, Christ gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, who comes to dwell in you. The Spirit then gives you an inner “want to” to obey God. And that inner “want to” is always going to be stronger than the inner “want to” to sin.
But you say, “Well, I still sin even though I made that decision.” Absolutely! We’re all going to fail. We all fall short, but don’t kid yourself. The Spirit of God, the Spirit who lives within you in Jesus Christ, is stronger than he who is in the world. He is stronger than any temptation you’re going to face in this world. Remember, Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.” Count on it. Lean into it. Let Him live through you!