Besetting Sins

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 KJV). God is telling us that there are so many saints that gone on before us; some did not even received all that God promised them yet they died in faith. In the last few verses of Hebrews 11 the bible shows how some of them left this earth; yet they died in faith without letting in the sin that would “easily beset” them. The bible shows us that, “Their weakness was turned to strength…Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised” (Hebrews 11:34,36,37,39). They did not let what others say or do took their eyes off God. “They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.” Therefore, we should not allow the besetting sins of anger, offence, bitterness, unforgiveness, covetousness, slander, accusation, backbiting, gossiping, tale bearing, sowing discord, complaining trip us up. We are able to do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, who will always help us because Jesus been through all and more that we could ever go through. “He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up” (Hebrews 12:2-3 NLT). The following is a story of a man whose eyes were steadfastly on Jesus.

The Story of The Martyr Bishop Martin Arethusa ~ Taken From Charles Spurgeon Archives

Martin Arethusa, the bishop, had led the people to pull down the idol temple in the city over which he presided; and when the apostate emperor Julian came to power, he commanded the people to rebuild the temple. They were bound to obey on pain of death. But Arethusa all the while lifted up his voice against the evil they were doing, until the wrath of the king fell upon him of a sudden. He was, however, offered his life on condition that he would subscribe so much as a single half penny towards the building of the temple;  if he would cast one grain of incense into the censer of the false god he might escape. But he would not do it. He feared God, and he would not do the most tiny little sin to save his life. They therefore exposed his body, and gave him up to the children to prick him with knives; then they smeared him with honey, and he was exposed to wasps and stung to death. But all the while the grain of incense he would not give. He could give his body to wasps, and die in the most terrible pains, but he could not, he would not, he did not sin against God; he endured to the end. 

Look At This Story of One Minister Who Choose To Continue In The Besetting Sin of Gossip

There is a story of four ministers, who were friends, they took some time off and went away for a retreat. As they sat around the fire talking, one pastor said, “Since we’re all pastors, let’s all share some of our personal struggles with sin. Maybe we can help and encourage each other. I’ll go first. The sin that always trips me up is gambling. I buy lottery tickets and whenever we go away on vacation, I go to the horse races.The second pastor spoke up and said, “I struggle with drinking. I keep a bottle down in my basement and when I get really frustrated with my deacons, I have a snort.”  The third pastor gulped and said, “My sin is anger. I have a punching bag at home and when I get mad at somebody in the church, I go home and draw a picture of their face and put it on the bag and start hitting.” Then they all turned to the fourth pastor and asked, “Well, what do you struggle with?”He hesitated at first, but finally said, “My sin is gossip and I can hardly wait until Sunday morning!”

A very important lesson in the story in that three of the ministers are saying what they are struggling with and though the other minister admitted that he struggles with gossiping he clearly sees nothing wrong with it because he wants to continue in it. It is incredible that someone can be in the midst of truth and light and still missed it. It is incredible how powerful self deception is, such deception is very hard to get delivered from. The worst thing about a deceived person is that he or she does not know it and the worst thing about a man who is blind is that he cannot see that he can’t see. That’s why James 1:22 says that we should, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”Sin causes Christians to become individuals who live in humiliating defeat. They can’t stand up with courage against sin because of the secret sin in their own lives. They excuse the sins of others because of the disobedience in their own hearts and they can’t preach victory because they live in defeat and they walk in blindness to their own sins. Many Christians today haven’t had the fear of God planted in their hearts by the Holy Ghost. The writer of Proverbs declares, “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6). 

Little Sins By Charles Spurgeon

The great Father of Lies hath multitudes of devices by which he seeks to ruin the souls of men. He uses false weights and false balances in order to deceive them. Sometimes he uses false times, declaring at one hour that it is too early to seek the Lord, and at another that it is now too late. And he uses false quantities, for he will declare that great sins are but little, and as for what he confesses to be little sins, he makes them afterwards to be nothing at all-mere peccadilloes, almost worthy of forgiveness in themselves. Many souls, have been caught in this trap, and being snared and have been destroyed. They have ventured into sin where they thought the stream was shallow, and, fatally deceived by its depth, they have been swept away by the strength of the current to that cataract which is the ruin of such vast multitudes of the souls of men

“Little sins lead to great ones. Satan! thou biddest me commit a small iniquity. I know thee whom thou art, thou unholy one! Thou desirest me to put in the thin end of the wedge. Thou knowest when that is once inserted thou canst drive it home, and split my soul in twain. Nay, stand back! Little though the temptation be, I dread thee, for thy little temptation leads to something greater, and thy small sin makes way for something worse. Satan always begins with us as he did with Achan. He showed Achan, first of all, a goodly Babylonish garment, and a wedge of gold. Achan looked at it: was it not a little thing to do,-to look? Achan touched it: was not that a little thing? How slight a sin-to touch the forbidden thing! He takes it, and carries it away to his tent, and-here is worse,- he hides it. And at length he must die for the awful crime. Oh! take heed of those small beginnings of sin. Beginnings of sin are like the letting out of water: first, there is an ooze; then a drip; then a slender stream; then a vein of water; and then, at last, a flood: and a rampart is swept before it, a continent is drowned. Take heed of small beginnings, for they lead to worse. ” (Charles Spurgeon).

“Little sins often act as burglars do;- burglars sometimes take with them a little child; they put the little child into a window that is too small for them to enter, and then he goes and opens the door to let in the thieves. So do little sins act. They are but little ones, but they creep in, and they open the door for great ones. A traitor inside the camp may be but a dwarf, and may go and open the gates of the city and let in a whole army. Dread sin; though it be never so small, dread it. You cannot see all that is in it. It is the mother of ten thousand mischiefs. The mother of mischief, they say, is as small as a midge’s egg; and certainly, the smallest sin has ten thousand mischiefs sleeping within its bowels.Thus I have given you several arguments with which to answer that temptation, “Is it not a little one?” Now I am about to speak to the child of God only, and I say to him, “Brother if Satan tempts thee to say, ‘Is it not a little one?'” reply to him, “Ah, Satan but little though it be, it may mar my fellowship with Christ. Sin cannot destroy but it will annoy; it cannot ruin my soul, but it will soon ruin my peace. Thou sayest it is a little one, Satan, but my Saviour had to die for it, or otherwise I should have been shut out from heaven. ‘That little one’ may be like a little thorn in my flesh, to prick my heart and wound my soul. I cannot, I dare not indulge in this little sin, for I have been greatly forgiven, and I must greatly love. A little sin in others would be a great sin for me-‘ How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God. A little sin, Satan! Hath not my Master said, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Lo! these little things do mischief to my tender heart. These little sins burrow in my soul, and soon make it to become a very den and hole of the wild beasts that Jesus hates, soon drive him away from my spirit so that he will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with me. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with his people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, “If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (Charles Spurgeon).

Unrepented Sin Can Have Great Power Over Us

But We Were Set Free From Sin Through Jesus Our Saviour 

1. Unrepented sin has great power over our flesh. Why?

We must repent so that we can be forgiven. However, if we are burden down with mistakes because we have fallen into sin and believe that it is too late. It is never too late to cast all our cares upon the Lord who cares for us. That is why the above scripture verse tells us to “lay aside the weight and the sin that easily beset us.”  Laying aside does not mean we deny it but rather we repent to God so that we do not give any occasion to our flesh or the sin to beset us.  Galatians 5:17 says, “The flesh sets its desire against the Spirit. They are in opposition to one another so that you may not do the things.” When we repent and surrender to God; sin loses its grip and its power over us. Once we repent of that sin we are forgiven immediately by our loving heavenly Father. Jesus died for all past, present and future sins – it was all taken to the cross. Therefore, the weight of sin does not belong to us because Jesus already took it all for us. He left us the great help of the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truths. The bible tells us that the righteous will fall seven times but that we must not stay fallen – we must get up. The problem with besetting sin is that it start out small then it become great and we get entangled by believing that we cannot get out of it. However, such thoughts is a great lie from the father of all lies. The bible tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God and that we are more than conquerors. In Romans 8 Paul encourages us by telling us, “…Iin all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39). Therefore, we must repent anything that God calls sin in light of his words and once we have repented it has no power over us.  

2. Sin can easily entangles us. Why?

Sin can easily entangle us because it does not seem that serious; it always starts small and we may believe that it is nothing. However, the small things grows into big things. Take for example the mustard seed it is said to be the small seed; yet when it is planted and the tree grew it become the largest tree. So it is with unrepentant sin which aims to entangle us through our flesh and appeals to our feelings and desires. There are number of stories told of people who have become addicted to things – it all started out very small and even appear to be something that the person can get rid of of put down very easily. However many have fallen as a result and have even left this earth untimely. We are warned not to lean to our own understanding but to acknowledge God in all our ways (see Proverbs 3:5-7). The buble also cautions us that the way may seem right to us but it will end in death. Our heart, says Jeremiah 17:9, “is deceitful.” It “is more deceitful than everything else and is desperately wicked.” However Jeremiah further points out to us who knows our hearts. “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10). When we submit and walk in obedience to God and to His words we will gladly lay aside the weight and the besetting sin as we cast all the cares upon the one who cares for us and who can help us in all things.

3. We must accept that whom the Son set free is free indeed

True freedom is found only in Christ (John 8:31–32). Sin deceives by promising freedom, when all it does is control, corrupt and beset us. When we do not put our faith and trust in Jesus then we become bound by sin (Romans 6:18), and subject not only to slavery, but to spiritual death (John 3:36). He whom Jesus makes free is loosed from the works of the devil — unhitched from them. The sinner is bound to his guilty past, but Jesus forgives and forgets it, and he is no longer subject to the penalty of the broken law. God never intended for man to live under the bondage of sin. We are free from sin and it is truth alone that sets men free. Through the New Covenant we find this truth. We have such a blessing and powerful promises in the New Covenant. God shows us through the law that we can’t keep it, we can’t be obedient, in our own selves, BUT, he made provision for us through the Holy Ghost being sent to empower us, and live the life of Christ in us, and working mightily through and in us to make us what God wants us to be. The image and likeness of Christ. When we give up trying to do things our way, recognize Jesus saved you from your sins, and when you fully submit to the Holy Ghost he will give you dominion over sin, by faith. When we know and believe who we are in Christ that we are indeed free; no sin, small or great can come and beset us. 

The Little Sins

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