On Monday we noted that sin, and particularly sexual sin, is a little bit like the bad guy in movies, whom we tend to assume is dead and gone but always comes back one more time at the very end of the film. As such, we need to direct significant attention towards making sure we are truly putting to death “the sinful, earthly things lurking within.” As Paul says,
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. (Col. 3:5-7, NIV)
However, unlike the movies, our battle with sin doesn’t neatly resolve after 90 minutes. We don’t get to solve all our problems, defeat all our enemies, and ride off into the sunset (not yet at least). In our lives, sin and temptation will be constant companions.
In this respect, our battle against sin is more akin to playing whack-a-mole at the county fair. Lust pops up and we beat it down. Desire pops up and we beat it down. Greed pops up and we beat that down. But the game never stops. As hard as we may try, sin keeps rearing its ugly head.
Under our own strength we can only go so far. We can strive and strive but pretty soon we will give up. It’s simply too much work.
But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Rom. 8:10-13, NIV)
Christ secured our freedom from sin on the cross, and he empowers us through the power of the Holy Spirit to live lives of holiness. John Owen once said,
“There neither is, nor ever was, in the world, nor ever shall be, the least dram of holiness, but what, flowing from Jesus Christ, is communicated by the Spirit, according to the truth and promise of the gospel.”
So take some time in prayer today, asking for God’s help to deal with the sin and temptation in your life. As long as you continue to wage the battle under your own strength alone, you will exhausted and defeated. Turn instead to God and ask for His Spirit to be the one equipping and strengthening you to become more like Christ.
 Quoted in Jonathan Dodson’s book, Gospel-Centered Discipleship, pp. 88-89