11 You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. 12 For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my heart has failed me. 13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; Make haste, O Lord, to help me. Psalms 40:11-13 (NASB)
As we saw in Part 1, the first step in mortifying our sin is to attack it habitually. That means that as we take each step through each part of each day we habitually take each thought capture to the Holiness of God. We compare what our hearts are attempting to pursue for gratification with God’s standards, the Law and the commands of our Saviour. This is the first step in our declared war on the root of sin in our hearts. There are two ways to attack our sin nature. …
The first way is useless. It involves trying to stop doing the sin. It is equivalent to picking the fruit off of a bad tree in an attempt to kill it. That, of course, is silly, but that is what trying to use will power to stop sinning is analogous to. The other way to to attack our sin nature is to lay the axe at the root of the tree and start going for the kill. If we kill the root the tree will die. I would rather think of what we are attempting to kill as weeds rather than a fruit tree, but you get the idea.
This habitual attack takes focus. I’m sorry, but there is no other way to accomplish this. We must focus on what is actually being pursued by our hearts. Remember, our hearts are deceitful and dark. They lie to us. They are the very thing that separated us from God before salvation. Since salvation, the thing is still hard at work trying to pursue as much fleshly gratification as it can. It assumes that we are ignorant of it and what it is doing. It appeals to our emotions. It appeals to our past. It tries to manipulate our wills. Therefore, we must get into the pit with it. We must habitually fight the thing with prayer, fasting and devotion to the Holiness of God. As we stop each sneak attack from our sin nature, we often think that much has been accomplished. This causes us to take a break in our vigilance. Of course, that is the opening our wicked hearts are looking for in order to draw us into sinful pursuits.