How does a parasite survive? By feeding off its host in a manner that is damaging to the host. If it doesn’t have anything to feed on, it dies. Similarly, in order for sins, bad habits or addictions to survive, they require food from you. Our words, thoughts and actions are often the food sin requires for survival. In order to get rid of a sin, you must deprive it of its food source.
The sin parasite feeds on negative thoughts, words and actions. In order to remove this food source, make an effort to think about good things, watch what you say, control your actions and be careful of what you put into your mind. However, it takes more than simply depriving them of food to get rid of these stubborn parasites. To be completely effective, it also takes prayer and God’s forgiveness to fully be rid of them. Ultimately, it is forgiveness that finally washes it away.
So how do we obtain this forgiveness? It’s simple actually, you just have to ask for it, confess your sins and repent (1 John 1:9). It’s a free gift from God, made possible by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus the Christ. Without the forgiveness of our sins, we would receive the penalty for them, which is death (Romans 6:23). All of us have sinned and require forgiveness (Romans 3:23). A parasite feeds on its host until the host either gets rid of it, or until the host dies. Sin behaves in the same manner. Unless we get rid of the sin parasite in our lives, we will also die (spiritually speaking).
Lying, jealousy, hatred, covetousness, wrong desires, wrong thoughts, pride—the list seems endless. Sins can turn into habits and even addictions if we don’t recognize them and stop them (Romans 6:12; Colossians 3:5; Romans 1:29). It’s much easier if we can avoid contracting these sinful parasites in the first place. How do we recognize a sin when it first shows up? By consistently reading our Bibles and daily prayer (Psalm 119:133). It can be hard to recognize some sins, so praying to God for help is the best solution. Psalms 90:8 says that God is aware of our sins, even our hidden sins.
Once we recognize sin and have the desire to change, it’s God who changes us from the inside (Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 51:10). It is God in us (His Holy Spirit that is the power of God) that changes us (Romans 8:26-27, Galatians 5:19-25, Ephesians 4:22-24). We cannot get rid of sin without God’s help, but we can and should pray to God to ask Him to stir up His Holy Spirit in us, which we receive at baptism through the laying on of hands (2 Timothy 1:6). Even before baptism, God’s Holy Spirit is working with you through your parents (1 Corinthians 7:14). To access the full power of His Spirit, however, baptism is required. (For more information, read “Standing Away From The Crowd”)
Sinning also involves something you can control—your thoughts and wrong desires (James 1:14-15). How can you control your thoughts? Is it as easy as just not thinking about bad things? Yes and no. Not thinking wrong thoughts is the first step, but what if you do think about something wrong? How can you stop? You can consciously force yourself to stop thinking negatively, but you need to replace the wrong thought with something good. It can be a scripture, a hymn or a favorite quote—anything as long as it is good (Romans 12:1-2). If you don’t replace a wrong thought or desire with a godly one, it will be back, and each time it comes back it will be harder to get rid of and more difficult to stop feeding (Luke 11:24-26, 2 Peter 2:20-22).
If you are struggling with bad habits or recurring sins, don’t be afraid to talk to a minister or ask trusted friends for advice. That’s why they are there. And again, pray. Prayer, asking God for help and forgiveness and reading your Bible are the best ways to get rid of bad habits and sinful behaviors.
Sin is like a parasite. Being careful of what we watch, what we listen to, what we read, and what we think about will help us stop feeding the parasites.