God, in his all-wise providence and love, has given us what is certainly an unforgettable Lenten season. The ideas and actions of wilderness, hunger, prayer, repentance, and longing have been brought into sharp focus. In our journey through Jerry Bridges’ Respectable Sins we have come to a very practical chapter laying out a general plan for dealing with all instances of sin in our lives. I will simply reproduce Bridges’ list with minimal commentary.
1. Address your sin in the context of the gospel. “As we struggle to put to death our subtle sins, we must keep in mind this twofold truth: Our sins are forgiven and we are accepted as righteous by God because of both the sinless life and sin-bearing death of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no greater motivation for dealing with sin in our lives than the realization of these two glorious truths of the gospel.”
2. Learn to rely on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The promise of the New Testament is that the Spirit is working within his people. So we must constantly seek to rely on him, even if we don’t always understand the way that the Spirit is working.
3. Recognize responsibility to take practical steps. To fight sin you must be prepared to engage in practical actions, while you trust in the power of the Spirit to change you.
4. Identify specific areas of “acceptable” sin. Humbly ask God to show you patterns and triggers.
5. Memorize verses of Scripture that address your specific sins. Memorizing the Bible is like storing up resources for an emergency.
6. Cultivate the practice of prayer over the sins you tolerate. Pray both in a disciplined and in a spontaneous manner.
7. Involve other, trusted people in your struggle. “We need the mutual vulnerability with and accountability to one another, as well as the praying for one another and encouraging one another, if we want to make progress in dealing with sin.”
What kinds of teaching have you received in the past concerning your battle with sin? Did you find it helpful? Do you believe that it is possible to grow in these areas of “respectable” sin? Why or why not?