1.     How To Overcome Sin

                   by Jeffrey L Girling

I'm writing this note to share a testimony, so my testimony can be an example of faith that overcomes our weaknesses. I believe this testimony is a true example of how to overcome those sins that keep us bound.

The rich man in the Bible couldn't give up his riches, even though he kept the whole law in everything else, but his riches were the one thing he couldn't give up for Christ. We all have that one thing or things we just can't let go of, not even for the Lord.

So how do we overcome and get victory over those things? This is where my testimony begins, because I have victory over the one thing I couldn't give up for the Lord, which means I have conquered it, and it's no longer part of my life.

What was that sin? It was smoking, because smoking was the one thing I couldn't give up. I had smoked over 40 years, and I smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, and I liked smoking, so I didn't want to quit smoking.

Yet I believed in God and the Bible, and I always wanted to serve the Lord, but I just couldn't do it with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth, so I just didn't witness for the Lord, and all because I smoked.

My health was also deteriorating because of smoking, yet I still wanted to smoke, but I knew inside I wanted to serve God, so I made attempts to quit smoking, but the desire to smoke stayed with me until I once again would start smoking again.

But today I haven't smoked since March 2006, nor have I ever desired to smoke since March 2006, so how did I accomplish that, or how did I overcome it? I used to say that if I could quit smoking, then I could overcome anything, and today I don't smoke.

But how? I first want to say that 15 years ago I lost all faith in myself, because I looked back at over 30 wasted years, and I saw how I had failed at just about everything I ever tried to do. So after 30 years of wanting to be righteous in the Lord on my own, yet after 30 years I was more unrighteous than when I started.

So I knew it would have to be a work of the Lord, if I had any hope in ever achieving righteousness, because I knew I would never achieve it on my own, especially when it came to giving up smoking.

So I decided 15 years ago that my faith would be in the Lord, and all he could do through me, so I told the Lord that, and it was then my life started changing, as the Lord started making changes in my life, except from Oct. 2001 to June 2002 I temporarily quit smoking, but I didn't succeed because again it was on my own will power, and the desire and craving to smoke remained until I started smoking again in June 2002.

But then in September 2005 I moved to the State of Maine, and I married my precious wife Carol. But I promised Carol I would quit smoking, because Carol didn't want a man who smoked, but I told Carol she would never see me smoke.

Yet that didn't keep me from smoking, because I would just smoke away from the house, and that went on for several months until March 2006, when I remembered my faith was in the Lord and not in myself, but I had to even tell the Lord to help me want to quit, and by March 2006 he had done that. (I wanted to quit)

I had three great incentives to quit. 1. I wanted to serve the Lord. 2. I wanted better health 3. I had promised my precious wife I would quit, and I was tired of smoking on the side, even though I told her I was smoking. I just didn't feel good about it.

So one night in March 2006 I said this prayer to the Lord: Quote"Lord, I have tried to quit smoking over and over, and I have failed everytime, so I have lost all faith that I will ever quit on my own, but tonight Lord I'm going to quit anyway, and I'm going to trust you Lord, that I will never smoke again." Unquote.

Yes! That was my prayer to the Lord in March 2006. I have never smoked since that prayer, nor have I even desired to smoke since that prayer, and it's like I never smoked in my whole life time. The Lord certainly has delivered me from smoking, or he has conquered smoking through me, and given me victory over smoking.

It's the Lord who works righteousness within us, and our victory is in him, and not from within ourselves. It is God who works in us to "will" and to "do" righteousness So we look to him for our righteousness and victories. (See Philippians 2:13 below) That is how I overcame smoking.

Philippians 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

1 John 1:9 " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

One thing that will move the Lord to give us deliverance and  victory over our weaknesses and sin,  is to confess our weaknesses and sin unto him, and then  confess him as our Savior over these things. –The Lord chooses to reveal  his strength and power to save through our weaknesses.

Look at what the Lord said to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “my strength is made perfect in weakness

The Lord spoke to Paul à 2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.       Then Paul said:  Most gladly therefore will  I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

1 Corinthians 1:27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

 When we trust in our own righteousness or our own ability to be righteous enough to save ourselves, then our need for a Savior becomes pointless. – But when we finally confess our weaknesses and sins to the Lord, and confess him as our Savior, then he’ll deliver us from our sins, and he’ll be strong through us.

I believe the Lord produces victory in our lives at the point we give up trying to do it on our own, because then he receives the glory for it. -- I knew I couldn't quit smoking on my own, and I gave up trying, but then I confessed to the Lord that I was a smoker and I couldn't save myself from it, and then I confessed that I trusted the Lord to save me from it, because he is my Savior.

John 8:36  "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

Consider the parable  Jesus gave about the Pharisee who trusted in his own righteousness and the publican who confessed that he was a sinner and asked the Lord for mercy. 

 Luke 18:9  ¶And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.