Lie 4: Sin Can Be Conquered by Effort

(A series on lies sin tells us to tempt us and trick us. Submit by October 30th if you want to be featured in a guest post exposing sin’s lies to God’s Word in this 8 part series)

We’d like to believe sin can be conquered by our efforts. The enemy of our souls takes advantage of our desire to be victors, presenting us with the lie:

You can defeat sin if you try hard enough.

Wrong. Christ already defeated sin.

We are just responsible for resisting the sore loser roaming the battlefield, picking the lesser fights he can still win.

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The sore loser tries to win his little games by tempting us to use just our own weaponry. He challenges us about our own skills, distracting us from reliance on the One who has already beat him.

Case Study: Insecurity

Insecurity can be a sin when it dismisses God’s handiwork. Insecurity also seems like something we ought to tackle on our own. We think if we change our outlook, we’ll stop sinning against God wit hour insecurity.

Changing our outlook by effort alone is futile. How can we overcome insecurity if all the methods we go through use our own insecurities? Self-help books and compliments from other people only do so much.

Our behavior might shift, but our hearts need something more. Eventually, forcing ourselves to “feel” secure wears us out and makes us paranoid. Trying to change by our own strength is exhausting and ineffective.

To defeat the sin of insecurity we need a source of security. We need one with the power to defeat sin as it cripples us.

We need Christ’s strength, the Spirit’s leadership, and God’s armor to fully conquer anything.

Paul explains, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23.) Sin’s effect on human nature ensures our efforts to be good and defeat sin fall short. It ensures our insecurities exist for a reason- we don’t have absolute security in ourselves.


“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus said of human effort’s sufficiency.

“There is only One who is good,” He explained, pointing out that God alone does not fall short (Matthew 19:17.)

Only God measures up to the glory of God.

Only God’s security is completely secure.

The solution, the bridge from “fallen short” to “all fullness of God,” is always Christ.

He is the only One whose efforts are enough to defeat sin.

God never suggests we enter battle armed with behavior change, healthier outlooks, or improved ideologies. But all throughout Scripture, God does calls us to the One who defeats sin.

Don’t skip ignorantly past the “only One who is good”, don’t bypass God’s “through.”

Through Christ we are transformed. Through Him we can do all things. Through Him we can boast in God. Through Him we are cleansed. Through the Spirit living in us….

Greater is He who is living in us than he who is living in the world.

It’s isn’t by effort we are changed into conquerors, but by surrender to Christ that we are transformed into those who can stand firm through the fight of faith. We stand firm because the war is won.

As G. Campbell Morgan phrased it,

We are not fighting the central battle, we are simply doing the skirmishing of administration. Armageddon was won on Calvary. Think of it, dear heart, and remember it sometimes.”*

The pressure is off. Your sin, even as a believer, will be defeated by resisting the temptation of life by your own effort and surrendering instead to the efforts of the Holy Spirit in you.

Surrender. Rely. Go through.

Thank the Lord…

We don’t have to fall short of the glory of God. By falling on Christ in the battle with sin, we fall on the glory of God Himself.

*The Simple Things of the Christian Life. Pg 45.

Submissions for this series’ conglomerate guest post are due October 30th! Excited!

Click HERE…old posts on sin are welcome too : )

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

13 thoughts on “Lie 4: Sin Can Be Conquered by Effort

  1. Great series and post! We need your story and sharing of His Truth today. Loved this statement: “We are just responsible for resisting the sore loser roaming the battlefield, picking the lesser fights he can still win.” Satan has a plan for our life, but we can choose the blueprint of the One who holds the keys to death, hell and the grave! Blessed to visit from #FaithFilledFriday where we’re neighbors today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The sore loser” is definitely a title I keep in mind for times of tempting! Amen to choosing to walk with the Lord whose is the victory in our lives and in all things. So grateful you came by and shared in the series, Karlene!


  2. Power in the Name of Jesus! I spent so much of my life in the doing things my way with not conquest but in a worldly sense. The bottom-line of it all was that I needed Jesus and until I believed that He died and rose again, conquering all for me, I had no strength. Thank you for this timely post for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joellepovolni

    Bethany, thank you for sharing this. You are so right! In our own efforts we fail time and time again – it can be overwhelming if we’re trying on our own. I just love that since God created us and formed our hearts, he already knows this about us. It’s comforting to know He KNOWS and has provided the answer. God is so, so good. Great to link up with you on #ThoughtProvokingThursday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, Joelle! We do fail over and over- but what a good, good God we serve that His grace is always enough and He has already conquered for us! We can live and rest assured : )


  4. “We need Christ’s strength, the Spirit’s leadership, and God’s armor to fully conquer anything.” Preach it sister! How often do we forget this truth and try and do it all on our own? That’s when we really muck it all up, yes? 🙂 So thankful that Jesus loves me, even when I try to conquer it all on my own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Nicki! I’ve got a post for the far future about mucking it up when we think we’ve figured out what to do on our own (need to wait on the Lord to work it in me first!) Grateful right alongside you!


  5. This is great, Bethany- you explain it so well! It is easy to come to Jesus and accept his grace in the first place but then to fall into thinking we have to live a Christian life by our own efforts- as if we have to live up to some standard that God is looking for when all he wants is for us to come to him and let him transform us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lesley! I always find this so tricky to explain- God absolutely values our efforts, but our efforts are wasted when they exist apart from Him. It’s God who transforms and overcomes sin! Our best effort is to rely on Him! So thankful : )

      Liked by 1 person

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