Living as a Christian involves a daily battle. At best, the work of sanctification is slow, and never perfected; but the more we grow in grace the more acutely aware we are of sinful failures.

Any military commander worthy of the name analyzes his victories and defeats. After a losing battle he seeks the cause and determines to remedy it before engaging the enemy again.

It is a somber fact that the good name of Christianity is repeatedly compromised by the behavior of Christians who live in the valley of spiritual defeat and have little in their lives to commend the Gospel they profess.

The Bible sets forth not only the causes of defeat but the remedy as well. Anyone willing to face up to the facts of the Christian life can learn in Scripture where and how the enemy works and why we suffer defeat when we should stand firm.

Satan attacks in many ways and at times when we are most vulnerable. Like the master adversary that he is, he works unceasingly to bring about our defeat.

How do we sin? It seems trite to say that we sin in thought, word, and deed but that is precisely right.

Because we can usually hide our thoughts from others, we can pose as saints while our thoughts flit hither and yon on the garbage described by our Lord: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man” (Matt. 15:19, 20a).

The Prophet Isaiah pleads: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than ...

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