Now that I’ve made significant progress against one sin, how do I know where to next make improvements?


After many years of struggling with masturbation, with sinful thoughts, or watching sinful material, I feel like I've finally defeated it. All of the material on this web site has helped so much. Whenever I have urges I handle them without sinful thoughts or looking at sinful material anymore, and I feel so much better.

I'm kind of nervous about how much better I feel, though, like it might be false. After reading what's on this website I recognize that it's not sinful in itself. I don't think it is at all, but at the same time, I'm kind of apprehensive about the new comfort of feeling like I'm not in sin. Songs aren't as painful to sing and the Lord's Supper isn't a miserable, guilt-filled experience anymore. How should I handle this feeling?

Also, now that I've had this success, I want to continue improving as a Christian. I've been so extremely focused on this problem alone since early middle school that I don't really know how to examine myself in other areas. I guess I'm asking how does someone examine themselves when there's no sin in their lives sticking out like a sore thumb?


"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? --unless indeed you are disqualified" (II Corinthians 13:5).

One of the things I warn anyone who has been struggling with a particular sin is to never count that sin as being conquered. It is merely in remission. The potential to relapse will always remain and old habits can quickly take over. You'll always have to be on guard. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (I Peter 5:8-9).

Conquering a difficult sin is such a relief that it isn't strange to find yourself wondering what is wrong. You spent way too much time living in guilt; yet, guilt is not the normal state of mind for a Christian. We shouldn't be in a constant state of sin such that we are always guilty about something. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). While it feels strange right now, what you should be doing is giving thanks to God for your freedom. You've found the peace that God promised. "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).

The idea of examining yourself is to never make the assumption that you are fine just as you are and that there is no real need for improvement. So focus on knowing God's word better, because that will be your protection from sin. "My son, let them not depart from your eyes -- Keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught" (Proverbs 3:21-26). In fact, I recommend reading Proverbs 3 and 4 for encouragement to learn God's wisdom. So during the times, you aren't caught up in a major battle, it is time to exercise your spiritual muscles so you'll be prepared for the next battle.

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