Replacing That Which We Remove
"Why is it so difficult to stop sinning? Why can't I quit looking at porn? Why can't I stop having lustful thoughts? Why can't I stop losing my temper? Why can't I stop having all these negative thoughts? Why? WHY? WHY???" May I suggest another approach to these questions? How about asking instead, How can I put on grace? God does not want us to stop at stopping. He wants stopping to be the preface for starting. We quit this and that over and over again but we fail to start even once. We remove but we don't replace. We put off but we forget to put on.
Why is it that we are more embarrassed with our bad than we are with the absence of His good? Why do we wince at our present vices but not our absent virtues? You see the secret of the Christian life is to put off so we can put on. All the vices we remove are to be replaced with Godly virtues. All the filth is to give room for fruit. Stop battling sin as an end and make it a beginning. You don't take off dirty clothes so you can put on different dirty clothes from the hamper. You take them off to be replaced by clean ones. Don't just stop thinking bad thoughts. Start thinking good ones. Don't just stop getting angry. Start being kind. Don't just stop gossiping. Start encouraging. Don't just stop lusting. Start honoring women as your sisters in Christ. Don't just stop fornication. Start chastity.
The way to begin is to take the focus off the sin you want to remove and place it on the virtue you desire to replace it. Begin with the fruits of the spirit. All of these are the positive replacement for the negative sin. List the sins with which you struggle and find its opposite or its replacement. Pray for that which you desire not just for deliverance for that which you want victory. God seeks to give good and perfect gifts to us to replace those rags of sin. Are you ready to put them on?
Try this exercise to see if it helps accomplish this. It is at least a good starting point. Fill in the sin in the first part and then find the corresponding replacement. Now begin to pray for God to give you the victory over the sin and to replace it with the other. It works if you will commit to it.
I struggle with___________________.
I want to replace it with_________________________.
Don't try to remove without replacing or the sin will just keep coming back and filling the void.