“I make war, ’cause sin never sleeps, it’s got me in a trance, you can see it in my dreams. I make war, I beat my flesh to the death, every breath, like I beat my chest. I make war, sun up, I make war, sun down, I make war, against lust, I make war, against pride, I make war, against me, ’till I die.” – Tedashii, “Make War” featuring Flame
Making war against sin has been the main focus or theme of Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters’ camp this summer. There are t-shirts that we sell at the Snack Shack with the words “MAKE WAR” and an outline of a gun on the front and a quote on the back that goes like this:
Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.
The quote, from 17th century theologian John Owen, has really challenged me this summer. Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.
There’s two parts to this quote, and I kinda want to look at both of them individually. Ok, I want to, not kinda want to.
Let’s take the first part: BE KILLING SIN. Sin is anything that goes against God. Selfishness, murder, lying, cheating, stealing, sex before marriage, cursing, drinking to drunkenness, et cetera. Anything that’s against God’s law is against God. And it drags us away from God.
We have to kill those things in our lives. It sounds like it would be very simple, but we are deceived if we think so.
I can speak from experience about a sin that really plagued me for a couple weeks during my freshmen year of high school. I remember one day just yelling, “Get off of me (fill in the blank)!” on the basketball court. It was the beginning of me going on a cussing streak for a couple weeks. The reason: pure selfishness. I wanted people to like me and get along with me and think I was cool.
Foolishness on two parts. First, that wasn’t going to make people like me. Second, it was displeasing to the one true holy God.
After about two weeks, I cut it out. I’ve let a word loose every now and then, very rarely. It was a sin that plagued me, and I made war on it. Through the grace of God and discipline, that cussing problem was gone.
Fighting sin also really involves being in the Word, as it is our sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). By memorizing Scripture and first applying it to situations and second using it to stay away from giving in to temptation, we are more equipped to fight sin.
Second part of the quote: OR SIN WILL BE KILLING YOU. Sin has a way of taking us down into the depths of the darkest part of our mind and soul.
1 Peter 2:11 says:
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
Simply, the passions of our flesh, which is sin, are waging war against us. Daily it’s fighting. And daily we lose. We either fight to the end and fall or retreat and let sin conquer us.
It takes someone really pursuing holiness and sanctification, spending time seriously studying the Word of God and actively disciplining themselves to fight sin.
Psalm 73:25-26 says:
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
We’re not always going to succeed in defeating sin. We are infirm, depraved men living in a twisted world. We will fall. It’s what we do after we fall that matters. It’s how we represent Christ that matters. And to do that, we need to rely on Christ’s strength to be the well we draw from.
That Tedashii song that I quoted at the beginning of this post has been on my mind a lot the past couple of days. It reminds me how little I’m making war on sin in my own life. Every time I hear it and sing along (or rap along, whatever you want to call it, it’s a rap song), I am constantly reminded that I need to be following my own rapping/singing/whatever and make war on the sin in my life. It’s that constant reminder and that conviction that keeps me humble and reminds me of my need for a Savior.
And that’s what all of life is for. A constant reminder of our need for God and our call to serve Him.