How do you stop sinning? How do you overcome sin? Be born again (spiritually) into God's family.
We're physically born into this world into earthly families. Through that physical birth, we inherit a spiritual problem- sinful behavior/nature (sin). The remedy to overcome this is spiritual regeneration. This is made possible through putting your faith in Jesus Christ (HaMaschiach Yeshua) and repentance. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ and repent of all of your sins, you are able to achieve metanoia (a change/renewal of your mind/thoughts/behavior).
What type of sin do you struggle with today? Lust, envy, pride, greed, etc.? Everything can be overcome by becoming born again into God's family- becoming His own children. Human passion gives birth to physical birth, however spiritual birth is something even more profound and miraculous, as it allows us to imitate God- become godly.
Once we are spiritually reborn/regenerated, we have to use a weapon that God has given us- the Sword of the Spirit (the word of God- i.e. the Holy Bible which has God's commandments in it). God now write His Law in our hearts (for both Jew and Gentile). Therefore, our consciences will convict us when we are about to do something wrong. Refer to Romans 2:12-15, Jeremiah 31:33-34 and also Hebrews 10:15-17,26-31). The Spirit writing the Law in our hearts brings a more profound and efficient means in walking with God (for both Jews and Gentiles). It's even more intimate now. In the Old Testament, the Law was written on stone tablets in a divine manner. This was kept in the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Each Israelite didn't have personal Bibles back in the Old Testament times (they relied on oral recitation), so they would tie God's commands as symbols on their hands and wear them on their foreheads, as commanded by God Himself. The purpose of this was for God's word to be reinforced in their hearts and minds. However, that was not efficient as the Israelites failed miserably to stay faithful to God. In fact, it was a shadow of something new which God was going to do in the future, in order to destroy the control of sin on man. God has done a new and more powerful thing for both Jewish and Gentile believers- i.e. etch His Law directly onto our hearts and minds through the Holy Spirit (This is the New Testament/Covenant). God's word in our heart is the most powerful weapon we can ever possess spiritually. It's God's word that created all of creation. He spoke and it came to be. God's commandments are the weapon we need to control sin, instead of letting sin control us (refer to Genesis 4:7). During His temptations in the desert, Jesus Christ demonstrated how God's word is what is needed to fight and defeat temptations and the tempter- Satan. It's not with swords or guns that we can fight Satan as he engages in psychological warfare. Earthly weapons are useless against Satan as he is an angelic being in the spiritual realm and also because he uses psychological warfare. God's angels have swords, but we don't have such angelic swords. Instead, God has given us another type of sword- the Sword of the Spirit- which is the word of God/Scripture (refer to Ephesians 6:17). There is nothing more powerful than the Sword of the Spirit in the earthly and spiritual realm. This our weapon which we need to counter Satan's psychological warfare- God's word against his words (which are lies to deceive us). Satan even twists and distorts Scripture to deceive us to think that we can sin. He tried that with Jesus, however, Jesus countered back with Scripture to negate such tactics. This is what Satan is doing with carnal Christian who preach a perverted form of grace which give the license to sin. Thus, we must also learn from Christ and counter with Scripture to give no room for sin.
How can any human decide what is good for themselves (different people will have different opinions regarding fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc.) when all are corrupted with a sinful nature? Only God is good and perfect in righteousness. Only He can define what is good and He shows us through His commandments in the Bible regarding what is good and what is bad. Every day, humans are in a constant of state of battle in their own minds- i.e. choosing between doing good and evil (refer to Romans 7:14-25). You become a slave to sin in the process. Only Jesus Christ can deliver you from that psychological war occurring in your mind, and set you free from being a slave to sin. By putting your faith in Him and asking Him for the Holy Ghost, you are then enable to follow God's Spirit to make us the right choices instead of following our sinful nature's desires (refer to Romans 6:15-23 and Romans 8:1-17 (KJV). You become one with God's Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). Since all humans are corrupted with a sinful nature before their salvation, they can't be relied on for deciding what is good and what is bad. When society ignores God , perverts their view regarding God or removes God from their thinking altogether, your sinful nature and Satan work together to destroy yourselves and each other.
We receive the Holy Spirit (to dwell in us) when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. He is the new High Priest. No human can take His place as the High Priest. Furthermore, our bodies (God's own craftsmanship) have now become His new Temple (no need for buildings). He's always wanted a close and intimate relationship with His creation. The Tabernacle and the Temples which were built, the curtain which separates the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Tabernacle- were all God's picture to get us to understand that we are unclean because of sin and hence we can't approach Him. However, God still loved us while we were still sinners, and so He created a plan for salvation through His Son Jesus Christ- which would unite us with Him forever by removing sin's power over our lives (refer to Romans 6:5-13), by changing our character and making us holy. When the Holy Spirit dwells in our bodies, our bodies logically become the Holy of Holies. This is what is failed to be understood by many, even Christians. Christians think God has made them already holy and that state can't be changed even if they go back to sinning. The problem is with their attitude. They don't want to change their character by forsaking sin- they want to continue enjoying the pleasures of sin while at the same time enjoying a false sense of holiness in God's eyes (refer to Malachi 2:17). It's a delusional disorder.
Remember, that the pleasures we get from sin now is not worth the consequences of it in eternity. If you let sin control you now, you make yourself the food of maggots in hell in the future (refer to Mark 9:42-48). Look up the term "myiasis" (maggot infestation) in google images. It is not pleasant at all. This is what you'll have to endure for eternity if you don't get rid of and conquer sin.
Keep your eyes (focus) fixed on Jesus Christ. No matter what temptations you face (ex. lust, fear/doubts/worries, etc.), keep your focus on Christ. Peter started sinking because he took his eyes off of Christ and instead onto the wind and strong waves (refer to Matthew 14:28-31). We can learn from Peter's mistake. When lusts, fears or anything else comes into your mind- take your focus back onto God and keep it there. Otherwise, you'll see yourself sinking deeper into sin and unbelief.
Just like how apoptosis can be triggered by a number of mechanisms including deprivation of growth factors, so we also must put to death our sinful nature by depriving it of what it feeds off of (sexual lust, other lusts which attracts our eyes- like sources of entertainment, materialism, etc., gluttony, fears/doubts, etc.). I've realized that the 40 days of fasting that Christ underwent in the desert was a training period for him to master his body (especially overcoming hunger and the need for food) and face bigger temptations from Satan. Many times, our body/sinful nature acts against what is good for us. However, your soul and spirit have control over your body and you must tame it, instead of letting it control you.
Don't let lust or any other form of sin become the idol in your heart and mind. Don't replace God with lust or anything else. Learn from the lessons of Israel's idolatry. They failed to honor God's commandments of only loving Him (with all of their heart, soul, and strength) and serving Him only. What was the consequence? God allowed their enemies to invade the land God had given to them. He Himself delivered them from Egypt, defeated all of their enemies and gave the land that God had promised them. After all He had done, Israel became unfaithful to God. Hence, they lost their Temple to their enemies and further, they were exiled from their own land. The same lessons can be applied to us today, for both Jewish and Gentile believers. If we sin (ex. through lust), we give over our bodies and our lives over to sin and Satan (our enemies). God can also allow human enemies to come and cause problems in our lives. When sin comes knocking on our door through our thoughts, banish it before it destroys you. Always remember the tragic story of Israel's fall because of sin. Be like King Josiah who had the right heart to go and smash the idols that were leading Israel astray.The Bible confirms that Josiah knew what it meant to serve God with all of his heart, mind and strength, and that no king before was able to do that better than him (2 Kings 22:25). May that be an inspiration to all of us! No beautiful girl or any other object of lust (money, wealth, entertainment, food, false gods, human celebrities, etc.) should ever take the place of God in our lives. We need to smash every lustful/sinful thought out of our hearts and minds. It's never too late (before you die) to repent and turn to God. No matter how many sins you've done, God is waiting for you to turn back to Him so that He can celebrate your return to Him (your Creator) and further restore you and bless you.
As the Bible teaches us, "Take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). Don't allow your thoughts to hold you captive/enslave you. Instead, hold your evil thoughts captive and enslave them to obey Christ.
Remember that Jesus Christ has set you from slavery to sin through His own suffering, death, and resurrection. When you feel overwhelmed by temptations, remember that your sinful nature in you wants to enslave you. Instead, claim the spiritual freedom that Christ won for you! It reminds me of the song "Now we are free" from the movie "Gladiator" and it's final scene where Maximus is victorious but dies. One of his dying requests was for his fellow gladiator slaves to be freed. Similarly and much more important was Christ's redemption of us (refer to Romans 6:15-23).
Jesus taught that our sinful thoughts are what defile us. Many times, we think that we sin only if we act upon our thoughts (turning our sinful thoughts into sinful actions). However, Jesus Christ taught differently in order to help us recognize our errors and the root of our problems. Sin is conceived in our minds, hence, we need to take radical steps to control our thoughts (refer to Romans 8:5-8 and Mark 7:14-23). Instead of thinking about sinful desires, think about things which please the Holy Ghost.
Don't let lust or any other form of sin become the idol in your heart and mind. Don't replace God with lust or anything else. This applies to any sinful struggle like fear/doubts/worries/anxiety, etc. When any sinful thoughts/desires enter your mind, remember that you are displacing God and your faith in Him (lusts and fear all destroy your faith in God). Learn to continually be meditating on God's ways, His commandments, and things which please the Holy Ghost (refer to Psalm 119:14-16,113-120 and Romans 8:5) instead of on sinful desires.
Know that controlling your tongue (speech) is the path to moral perfection. Why? It's because our tongues are the most difficult things to tame/control. We tend to gossip or say something which can hurt someone else. Hence, if you learn to keep your mouth shut, the power to tame will develop into controlling ourselves in every other way (including lust). This is what the Bible says.
James 3:2 (NLT):
"Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way."
Worship God only and give Him thanks. Don't commit idolatry by lusting after an object's/person's beauty. This will prevent your mind from becoming dark, confused (refer Romans 1:21-24), and enslaved to sin. Jesus also emphasized much on inner purity today which even many Christians (i.e. carnal Christians) ignore today. Our psychological and spiritual power to succeed against sin and the ability to succeed in our education/careers starts with taming our thoughts (refer to Mark 7:20-23). Many times, I've wished that I could be like the Jedi who were empowered by the Force in the fictional universe of Star Wars. God helped me realize that He is the real Force (power) that exists today and He wants to empower us. Thus, take heart (be encouraged) by the truth that the Holy Spirit can empower you to overcome everything you face in life (ex. sins, problems which seem impossible to overcome) if you will allow Him to come and live in you (refer to John 14:15-17).
Mark 7:20-23 (NLT):
"And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
Refer to my other post also ("A perspective to overcome lust").
Bible verses for reference:
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
John 1:12-13 (NLT):
"But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God."
John 1:12-13 (authorized KJV):
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:5-7 (NLT):
"Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, You must be born again.’
Acts 20:20-21,26-27 (NLT):
"I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know."
Acts 26:20-23 (NLT):
"I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. 21 Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. 22 But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.”
Titus 2:14-15 (NLT):
"He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say."