How Can I Stop Sinning?
Just wanting an answer to this question is a tremendous step in the right direction and it is a clear sign that God is with you. The Holy Spirit in us wants to clean house. Sin, however, wants to flood through us like water through a colander, but we can learn how to close the holes and turn the flow down to a trickle.
Your New “Job Description”
You are a "sin terminator!" You are death to sin and a danger to the enemy and his cohorts. That's part of your new assignment and new capabilities. You are now reborn as a lover of God. That makes you automatically an enemy of God’s enemies—Satan and his kingdom of darkness which work through sin. Until now you have been a “slave to sin.” You could not help but live separated from God due to the original sin of Adam which had you blinded and bound.
Before Christ appeared you were centered on self; now you are free to live centered on Christ. And because you know God through your faith in Christ, you can now live for Him, rather than yourself. That’s the game changer.
"How can I stop sinning?" Start calling on Jesus and clinging to Him now that you know who He is! Do it as often as you feel tempted. Do it like you mean business. Do it until His help arrives. He guarantees a rescue will come, if you keep clinging to Him by calling on Him.
For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13 ESV
This radical change of allegiance means that you will inevitably want to see your life from God’s perspective, especially when it comes to the right and wrong of things. His perspective on sin is so very different from ours! We coddle it; He wants it crushed. We excuse it; He rebukes it. We make room for it; He works to crowd it out. Always remember that God loves you; it is sin that He hates.
You are not your sins. No one is, not unless they (God forbid) die in their sins with no repentance. You, however, have asked God to forgive you and save you from your sins. This He has done by justifying you. Now begins the lifelong process of separating you from your sins as the Word and the Holy Spirit lead the way. The goal is for you to separate from sin before it separates you from God. All sins separate us from God, but not to the same degree.
1. Deal breakers. These are obvious and outward sins. They are the worst. Most of them can be classified as "sins of the flesh" since they either come through physical desires or they are expressed through us in obvious, outward ways that directly impact others. These have to be stoutly resisted and eliminated and they can be! They are completely unacceptable for Christians and are actually unbearable to experience as a Christian, because conscience—quickened by the Holy Spirit—really "kills" you over these!
Paul lists them at several different places in scripture. Always these sins are condemned in the strongest possible terms. Continuing in them without repentance (without seeking continually to get free, crying out to God and struggling faithfully until God's deliverance arrives) guarantees a miserable life on earth. It also raises the very real possibility of an eternity united to that sin and its punishment, rather than being united to the Lord. Choosing sin is always in some degree a rejection of Jesus and God. That's why these more deadly sins carry such stringent warnings.
2. Joy slayers. All the way on the other side of the scale are “soul sins,” such as pride, fear, worry, unforgiveness, etc. These are often hidden and inward. These also separate from God, but they are not (thankfully) as dangerous to one’s salvation. It often takes a while before we become aware of them as sins, since they seem like such "natural" emotional reactions. It's just the way we are, or so we say. The truth is quite different: Anything that doesn’t look or sound like Jesus in you, isn’t the real you! That would be the old you, the former version of yourself that now needs to be put to death so that Christ in you can arise.
The Battle for Your Freedom
Everyone is pestered by these “smaller” sins to differing degrees, depending upon personal history. With practice they can be identified by their fruit: It is impossible to entertain a sinful thought or heart attitude and enjoy the peace of Christ at the same time. However, since we are often oblivious to them as sins, we truly are dependent upon others in the Body of Christ noticing them, so that they can pray to the Lord for our deliverance or speak to us in a loving and concerned way that might turn the lights on for us.
No matter what the sin is (major, minor, or anything in between) the process of getting free and the power for gaining victory are the same for all. The unvarying rule is: Whenever you recognize a sin in you, you are obligated to separate from it. Don’t take on guilt over being tempted. You can't stop the urge or the allure from showing up, though with time the Lord will cause both its power and its reappearances to diminish. But you always have it within your power to say "No!" to the temptation and not let it get your allegiance.
You are a free person only as long as you don't allow sin to "reign" in you. Your freedom is worth fighting for! Jesus bled and died to give you the chance to live as a free person united to God, not just to rescue you from hell. He paid sin's penalty so He could free you from its power.
"How can I stop sinning?" You will need to grow two things to help you defeat sin's power over you. Studying the scriptures will help to grow these two things, but mere knowledge of the scriptures is insufficient to stop you from sinning. For that you will need a genuine knowledge of God. This comes in two forms:
1. A great love of God and Jesus. To know Jesus is to love Him. To truly know the Father is to happily yield one’s whole life in perfect trust to the One who loves you best. To know the Holy Spirit intimately is to confidently enjoy His power and presence in every aspect of daily life. Not there yet? None of us “have arrived.” However, if you have now been graced with knowing Jesus, you are off to a good start. The tender side of the love of God carries warm to blazing affections; the “tough-as-nails” side is sustained by cultivating a fierce loyalty to the One who set you free by his agonizing death on the cross.
2. A healthy fear of God. One element of this is respect for the reality of consequences ruled over by God. No one gets away with anything! We always reap what we sow, whether we sow to the flesh by sinning or sow to the spirit by trusting and obeying the Lord. Sow so that you can reap, not weep! But do not allow yourself to take on any fear that God may be mad at you (He never is), or that He doesn't want to save you (He always does) or that He is condemning you for your sinfulness (He never condemns, nor does He accuse).
You can and should work to remove specific sins, but you cannot remove sinfulness itself. Your old nature is a cesspool of bad attitudes and wrong ideas and it will continue to bubble up evil throughout your days. But you don't have to walk in it! As we trust Jesus, the Holy Spirit helps us walk in His better ways. In turning to face the light of Christ by looking to Jesus and walking with Him, our old nature is laid to rest behind us like a shadow. However, returning to walk in the ways of the Shadow (putting self first) makes the old nature grow stronger and longer.
1. The "Big Five" essential elements for staying connected to the Lord include continual prayer, daily Bible reading, weekly worship, heart-to-heart fellowship with other believers and finding a Spirit directed outlet for service. Stay steady in all five and the Lord will use them like “safety nets” to keep you well connected to Him, giving you victories in your struggles and providing opportunities for Him to catch you, if you start to fall away. Jesus actively pursued doing these five things during His days on earth and He still loves doing them: Learn to do them with Him, through Him and for Him.
2. You have to have reasons for staying faithful that are bigger than your own comfort and pleasures. There is a sea of hurting, lost humanity all around you that truly needs you to put sin to death and walk with the Lord so that He can reach some of them through you. Your family and friends also need you to walk closely with the Lord, whether they realize it or not. Your life will inevitably impact them for better or worse. Let that knowledge work for you. These are powerful motivations.
3. Become passionate about finding out what God has for you. It is something really good, but you will only find out if you trust Him enough to fight your sins to death so that He can raise you into His life. You have a purpose (two to be exact) and a destiny to discover and pursue. These cannot arrive in your life without your full cooperation. Sin will obstruct the path to your God-envisioned future or work to derail it if you do find it. Don’t let your guard down!
Well alright! I don’t want to dwell too much on the enemy and his works. We are primarily lovers of God and liberators of others. To be that, we have to be ready to “fight the good fight” of faith whenever those moments of wrestling with the tempter appear. Thankfully, the walk is primarily a stroll in the park beside our awesome God and Friend. We fight off the enemy so that we can keep enjoying our new-found freedom to live in intimate union with Christ.
The goal of this primer has been to help you become saved through faith in Jesus Christ and then to give you a heads-up for how to live the Christian life you have now begun. You will need much more than this whenever the real trials arrive. In the meantime, here is the secret to successful Christian living: The new life is meant to be lived on the same graced basis by which it has begun. Indeed, it can be lived in no other way...
That (finally) brings us around to asking: How do we live now that we're saved?
Father, strengthen me for the days ahead! Help me cultivate a great heart of love for You, so that I will call on Your Name and seek You out in my times of temptation or trial. And grant that I would also grow that healthy “fear of God” which will keep me fighting to stay on the path when love alone doesn’t seem like enough to hold me to it.
Jesus, please come and grow in me those same things that You loved to do when You walked the earth. Help me plunge into the Bible as into refreshing streams of heavenly truth. Teach to pray and assist me in discovering all of the ways of communication with God that You also enjoyed. Lead me through the veil into times of glorious worship. Bring into my own life the kind of fellowship with others that You enjoyed with Your “band of brothers.” Finally, grow my own heart in Your way of loving service to others.
Holy Spirit, please come! I will need You reminding me, coaching me, encouraging me, teaching me and (no doubt) correcting me. I cannot do this without You. Help me learn to entrust myself to Your abiding presence and to Your power poured out on my behalf. Draw me into every aspect of the new life that God has set before me. Spur me on to run into that destined future where all of my gifts and passions get released in glad-hearted service for my God.
On to the Next Question!
How do I live now that I am saved? This is easily the fun part. What’s not fun is having to stop and clear out of the way that things that don’t make for peace-filled and joy-full living (see the previous question). The Salvation Basics give us eyes to see from God’s perspective a tremendous truth about life that we “knew” as little children, but lost along the way.
Scriptures and Foot Notes
 Jesus has come to free us from sinning, not just from being punished for sinning! Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:34-36 "How can I stop sinning?" It was seeking Jesus and surrendering to Him that set you free in the first place. Seeking Him and surrendering to Him will always work to free you from any sin.
 See 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Ephesians 5:3-12 and 3:5-11. Sins common to these lists include idolatry, sexual sin, homosexuality, covetousness (greed), reviling, drunkenness (and by extension all substance abuse).
 This former side of ourselves is variously described as “the flesh”, the “fallen nature”, the “old man”, the “carnal self” or “sinful nature”: For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever. Romans 8:13 AMP
 I use “minor” with this caution: When the Lord puts His finger on a sin He wants us to forsake, it never seems very minor at the time!
 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. Ephesians 4:15-16
 Our website, Healingstreamsusa.org, is dedicated to helping people get free of these emotional/spiritual sins. All such negative emotional stress robs many Christians of their rightful peace, joy and freedom of spirit. Don’t let that be you! Explore what we offer.
 The following passage is from the Amplified Bible which is a great translation to have on hand for study purposes: Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions. Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness. Romans 6:12-13 AMP
 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:8
 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:12
 I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 AMP