Struggling With the Same Sin: How Do I Break Free?

by Crystal McDowell · Print Print · Email Email

Struggling with the same sin is like the feeling of drowning. You splash around frantically trying to find your footing, but you still sink under the water. Believers who struggle with the same sin over and over feel like failures. You know the truth of God’s word, but can’t overcome the sin long enough to walk in the freedom granted by the blood of Jesus.

This sinful stronghold keeps it grip over your life choking out destiny that God wants for you. You have a love/hate relationship with sin. There’s hatred of the rope tied around your neck, yet (be honest) you love the pleasure of it. Should you just give up and give in? Or is there hope for deliverance? Begin by answering the right questions for breaking free of the same old sin.

Question #1) Are you a believer?

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5, NIV).

Many people think they are saved even though they can’t attest to rebirth through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Salvation doesn’t have to be a dramatic outward event, but there does need to be a time when you moved from darkness of sin to the light of salvation. Take a few moments to reflect on how your salvation. Use Romans 10:9-10 as a guide.

Question #2) Do you really want to be free?

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD” (Proverbs 16:2, NIV).

We may not like the consequences of our sin such as guilt, shame, or regret. Many of us can appear remorseful in front of others (especially if we get caught), but we may remain inwardly unrepentant especially if our pleasure in the sin is greater than our desire to please God. Reflect on the price of your sin on the Lord Jesus Christ. Use Philippians 2:6-8 as a guide.

“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV).

“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV).

Question #3) Have you confessed your sin to God?

“When I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD” (Psalm 32:5, NIV).

Something happens within us when we verbalize our sin to the Lord. Our spirit agrees with the Spirit of God that we’re living in error and our relationship with God can be compromised. The Lord wants us to come to Him in repentance with a desire to be changed in the likeness of Jesus. Spend time talking to God about how you first became ensnared in sin. Use James 1:13-15 as a guide.

Step #4) Have you confessed your sin to another believer?

“Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done” (Acts 19:18, NIV).

Confessing your sin to a mature believer provides human accountability. Every believer regardless of their spiritual growth needs someone to confess to. You’re not alone—every believer has to overcome temptation and sin as a personal struggle. Ask the Lord to direct you to the right person of faith. Use Psalm 37:30 as a guide.

Step #5) Have you removed yourself from your “temptation triggers”?

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14, ESV).

You may need to make the courageous, but tough decisions of separating yourself from certain people, places, or things that keep you in bondage to sin. It’s not easy to break off a relationship, get rid of cable/TV/internet, or to move to a different job and/or location. However the refreshing hope and freedom in Christ makes it well worth it. Start a list of what needs to be out of your life in order to be free. Use 1 Corinthians 10:13 as a guide.

Step #6) Are you prepared to set aside a time of prayer and fasting to loosen the grip of this sin on your life?

“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV).

Sometimes the power of sin is so strong that you need a time of prayer and fasting. This typically requires an abstinence of eating food for a certain period of time. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that helps you gain control of sinful desires instead of being controlled. Decide on a period of time to fast and pray. Use Mark 2:18-20 as a guide.

Step #7) Do you have the mind of Christ?

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16, ESV)

You have the mind of Christ as you memorize, recite, meditate, and apply the scriptures in faith. The word of God is powerful enough to break all sinful strongholds in your heart and mind. You will develop the ability to see your sin as God sees it—destroyed by the blood of Jesus. Set up a schedule that puts your Bible reading as an integral part of your day. Use Hebrews 4:12 as a guide.

Did you answer yes to all the questions?

If not, don’t skip a question that was difficult—deal with it and be free. You didn’t get into this situation overnight and it may take time to complete the perfect work of God in your life. At the moment of salvation, you were made in the image of Christ to be free from all bondages of sin. Never give up on the power of God to deliver you and use your experience to snatch others out of the fiery pit of a sinful life.

Have you read Crystal’s testimony? Take a look:

He’s Not Done with Me Yet

Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”  The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. New International Version Bible THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

william mungwira August 12, 2013 at 11:48 am

thank you for the article…its mekin an impact in my lyf

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Crystal McDowell August 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm

All glory to God William. May the Lord continue to keep you.

God bless,
Crystal

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Chevelle August 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Well written! Nothing I can say will illuminate this message you have written. Just thank you.

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Crystal McDowell August 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm

God bless you for your kind words of encouragement.

Thanks,
Crystal

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Angela August 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this, but I am pleasantly surprised to see the powerful truths shared here! This is hope for those (all of us) that need it. Being in the word is such a great reflection of where our minds need to be focusing. That’s where the Holy Spirit can really meet us and make change happen! Thanks for keeping us focused.

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Crystal McDowell August 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Thanks Angela. God is good.

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Patricia Schneider August 13, 2013 at 7:28 am

Excellent article with Scripture, Crystal! Thanks bunches!
Oodles of God’s blessings upon you and your terrific family!
Always, your sister in Christ Jesus….Patty

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Crystal McDowell August 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm

As always you are very gracious Pat. Have a wonderful day.

God bless,
Crystal

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Linda August 13, 2013 at 8:58 am

Dear Crystal,
For myself, I wrote on the top of our large kitchen chalkboard for everyone to see, it reads:
” Jesus saw what you did ”
It helps me a lot as I go through my day and who knows maybe others too, who come and go. It helps me think of him more often, to try harder and walk his way as written in the scriptures .
More often, I would be ashamed when I read it .,, but now , I smile more when I read it. What a great feeling., hard to explain. I now have it permanently written there., as for me, I need it to be there to start my day and with the hope that it may helps others too who pass through.
Thank you for this super article as always,
May God Bless,
Linda

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Crystal McDowell August 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Thanks for sharing Linda. May we all live in the light that Jesus sees everything. How convicting, yet comforting as well.

God bless,
Crystal

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David August 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm

This helped a lot. Blessings. David, Prague CZ

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Sharon McConnell August 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Such abundant truth Crystal. There have been times when I
had to admit to Jesus that the reason I wasn’t getting victory over a particular sin was, indeed, because I liked the way it felt and didn’t want to give it up. But. You know what. I asked Him to work in me to want to, and, He did. I had strayed away from Him terribly and it has been a long difficult road back (meaning it has taken lots and lots of submission to Jesus and lots and lots of prayer, even in regards to being consistently in His Word). But He has been so very faithful to hear every cry for help and work in me the desires that were/are necessary to get my life cleaned up with Him. Thank you for being so bold as to speaking the truth and reminding me of these steps. You are right on girl. Praise Him for such a faithful servant.

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Nicholas August 20, 2013 at 5:03 am

#6 THAT’S THE ONE i NEED TO DO , AND I HATE TO SAY BUT ANGER IS THE SIN OR WHAT GOES WITH ANGER , I HAVE GOTTEN BETTER , MY WIFE HAS HELPED SOME TOO , I HATE TO LOSE IT IN FRONT OF THOSE I AM TRYING TO SET AN EXAMPLE IN FRONT OF !!!!!!!!!

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Tesfaye August 21, 2013 at 5:45 am

WOW! i have read your articles and it make me Happy,i want to say God bless you. Lu 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.Re 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Re 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

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Mr A Cotton November 30, 2013 at 10:17 am

It`s very easy said than done.
I have done it once I got rid of all the things that where making me sin over and over again.
I do not know how long it lasted but I have brought back all the things that made me sin.
Just the other night again I started to get rid of the things that where making me sin.
I am very weak in spirit and the flesh, also and I know this is causing the problem.
I would have to be like John The Baptist to avoid this sin.

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PeggySue January 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm

If we don’t give up..God will not give up. We all need to go back to the Cross. No, not a wooden beam but what Jesus did for us.. It’s the Message of the Cross. It’s the ONLY answer for all our problems and bondages. I am not being self righteous here because I’m still learning this! Go watch Sonlife tv, the message is being taught and preached there. It is a true blessing to have found this. This goes to all that responded to this article. God Bless you all.

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Patricia Schneider November 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Hello, Crystal!
Hope your Thanksgiving yesterday was a joyous one for you and your family!

Have a question I sorta~ know the answer to. Is smoking ciggies a ‘sin?’

Yes, it’s NOT healthy, nor does our Father want us to do anything intentionally harming our body. But, is it exactly a
SIN?

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with emphysema. Crystal, for the following 8 months, I didn’t smoke. Had no desire, no nutsy withdrawals, nothing. Just stopped. Guess the diagnosis spooked me silly?
Thank our wonderful Father God for medicines that work! Doc prescribed 2 inhalers for me to take everyday. (Also thank Father we are blessed with a good medical plan!)

Into the 9th. month, I simply wanted a ciggie. Thought I could just smoke one or two whenever, you know?
Alas, before long, I was back to my regular smoking-habit.
Thankfully, so far, the inhalers are “doing its jobs.” My past 4 check-ups with family physician reported no further ‘damage’ from the disease, yet the Doc wants to ‘brain me’ every time he learns I’m still smoking. Even telling me horror stories of some of his patients w/emphysema.
Don’t mean to be a “spoiled brat” towards our Father’s Will, but do wish to know what you think, Crystal, about smoking being a ‘sin.’ (As some of my dear siblings in Christ keep telling me, but back off when they think they’re being judgmental. I DO respect their opinions, Crystal, but have doubts about smoking really being a SIN.)

God’s wonderful blessings & graces be showered upon you, Crystal, and your family!
Forever your Sis in Christ Jesus ~ Patty

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Mr A Cotton December 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Yes smoking is a sin,but CH Spurgeon smoked cigars and he deemed that it wasn`t a sin.
He wasn`t taken any notice of God.
He was also an intellectual that he was on cloud nine when the people were trying to understand him.
An interpreter had to translate his notes.
On the site there is an example of this,and he was not evan a pastor.

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Nicholas January 21, 2014 at 10:30 pm

PATTY , SOUNDS LIKE YOUR SMOKING IS SO MUCH LIKE MINE , I QUIT 6 MONTHS GIANED WEIGHT , SAW THIS BIG FAT CIGARETTE ONE NIGHT ASK WHAT KIND IT WAS , IT WAS A WIDE — WANT SAY THE BRAND — JUST WIDE , I SAID GIVE ME ONE , THAT ONE PUT ME RIGHT BACK TO SMOKING . I THINK IF IT HARMS THE BODY AND THE BODY IS THE TEMPLE THEN IT MUST BE A SIN , AND I WOULD SAY THA CHEWING GUM CAN PULL YOUR TEETH OUT SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BUT I WANT MAKE EXCUSES , I WILL SAY THIS , IT ALSO SAYS A LITTLE WINE FOR THE STOMACH’S SAKE , AND STRONG DRINK FOR THOSE WHO ARE FEELING DOWN , — I GUESS IF IT IS A HABIT THAT HARMS IT GOES BACK TO THE TEMPLE , I CAN’T SAY FOR SURE , ONE THING I CAN SAY WE’RE IN THE SAME BOAT , AND I DO LIKE THE WAY YOU SAY CIGGIE , LOL , NICHOLAS , P.S. THE WEIGHT I GAINED — I DIDN’T LOSE EITHER REALLY , WHEN I STARTED HAVING TO TAKE PROZAC — I LOST ABOUT 75-80 LBS. , I GAINED THAT BACK TOO , GUESS IT IN MY GENES , MY BLUE JEANS AND MY 4XL SHIRT TOO , BYE

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Patricia Schneider January 21, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Hello, Crystal! This is for Nicholas (January 21, 2014.) Hope that’s OK?

Hello, Nick!
My heart goes out to you about the weight gain. When my beautiful Mom passed away in 2009, grief turned into an almost 3-years depression. GAINED a LOT of pounds! Ugh.
Thank dear God, depression took a hike; disgusted with myself, I just started eating less. As of January 2, 2014 I have lost a total of 107lbs. And ALL THE CREDIT GOES TO SWEET JESUS!! ‘Cause I surely have no will-power, Nick! Don’t know what Jesus did, take my ravenous appetite away or gave me His self-control, but turning all your troubles over to Jesus DOES prove miraculous!
As for smoking ‘ciggies,’ I’ve asked our Father repeatedly if it was a SIN, to take the desire away or rebuke me somehow that I’d be forced to quit. Not meaning to sound as if I’m “bargaining” with God, and NO, I don’t love ciggies more than Him!!! (THAT’S ABSURD! Have heard that from so many of our siblings in Christ I want to scream~!)
I totally trust our Father. Have no idea how this ciggie habit will pan out, but God DOES know my heart. His Holy Spirit will either break my spirit, if need be, or something else. But Father won’t do anything to destroy me, Nick. I whole-heartedly believe that. Do I make sense to you, Nick?

Crystal, if you think my comment to Nick won’t be beneficial to him, please delete it.
God’s wonderful blessings and graces be showered upon everyone who visits this site!!
Your Sis in Christ Jesus ~ Patty

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Nicholas January 22, 2014 at 12:10 am

PATTY , I KNOW YOU WELL ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT YOU DO MORE TO PLEASE JESUS THAN SO MANY , AND I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU ABOUT THE WEIGHT LOSS , AND ANYTHING THAT IS GOOD , GREAT , AND A BLESSING TO YOU , I KNOW JESUS WHY DO YOU CALL ME GOOD FOR NONE BUT THE FATHER ARE GOOD , BUT IN THE HUMAN WAY YOU’RE GOOD PEOPLE PATTY , ONE OF THE BEST I KNOW , I THINK YOUR COMMENT WAS AS THE WRITER CRYTAL – CLEAR , AND RIGHT , THOSE WHO GIVE YOU A HARD TIME ABOUT THE CIGGIES , NEED TO SHOW GOD’S AGAPE LOVE , MY SPELLING MAY BE WRONG ON AGAPE , BUT , THEY NEED TO LOVE YOU IN SPITE OF ALL , NONE OF US ARE WITHOUT SIN , AND REMEMBER HOW IN THE BOOK OF JOB — HE HAD TO PRAY FOR THOSE GIVING HIM ALL THEIR KNOWLEDGE THROUGHOUT THE BOOK , HAVE YOU SEEN THE PART ABOUT MOCK ON , MOCK ON SISTER , WHEN THEY GIVE YOU GRIEF , GOD IS FOR YOU WHO CAN BE AGAINST YOU !!!!!!!!!!!! , BYE BYE NOW NICK

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Patricia Schneider January 26, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Oh, Crystal, thanks ever so much for your sweet words! They were so edifying!!!
I LOVE THE BOOK OF JOB!! His steadfast faith in our loving Father was so incredibly wonderful! (And I wanted to brain those so-called friends of Job!!! Grrr~. That’s exactly how I felt towards my siblings in Christ who told me I loved my ciggies more than God. Most of them asked my forgiveness in being judgmental; along with the others who refuse to let up on me, of course I forgive them all. Jesus would, right, Sis?)
BTW, Crystal, you DID spell ‘agape’ correctly. Hee-Hee! You believe I only learned of that word last year?
Oodles of God’s blessings and graces be showered upon you, Crystal, and your beautiful family!!
Love you, your Sis in Christ Jesus ~ Patty

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Nicholas January 27, 2014 at 9:39 pm

PATTY , THE AGAPE LOVE WAS FROM ME — NICHOLAS YOU ARE SUCH A WONDERFUL PERSON !! NICHOLAS

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juan barbosa December 31, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Amen!!!!

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