According to the American Bible Society (2018) 30 percent of surveyed Americans claim to have read no more than several passages or stories from the Bible. There has probably been no point in modern history where our culture, the church included, has been as biblically illiterate as it is now. For that reason, the simple and straightforward book Diehard Sins: How to Fight Wisely Against Destructive Habits by Rush Witt, can be a helpful tool for helping someone grow in their understanding of how our hearts, temptation, desires, sin, and the gospel interact with one another, particularly when addressing the more commonplace, comfortable sins. The “little,” daily sins. The subtle sins. The respectable and acceptable sins. The resilient, deeply ingrained, and relentless sins we’ve given up on changing. The diehard sins (page 16).Sin’s blinding influence can be powerful, but there is hope for one to be freed from its power and penalty—through Christ. Click To Tweet
Rush Witt defines sin, explains its origin and nature, and is straightforward about the outcome of sin. He stressed that without the correct diagnosis of the problem, there cannot be an effective remedy (page 23). Sin’s blinding influence can be powerful, but there is hope for one to be freed from its power and penalty—through Christ.
Witt cautions the reader against placing too much hope in the process of change, demanding that it happen on our terms and in our time. He writes, “A desire for a good thing morphs into a bad thing when it is elevated to an ultimate thing. … It is possible to become ensnared by the desire for accelerated spiritual change. Placing ultimate hope in the process will lead to ultimate discouragement when change doesn’t come as quickly as we want. For this reason, Scripture calls for our hope to rest on a higher plane: our position in Christ” (page 58).
Witt stresses the seeming paradox of the Christian life, being called to a life of repentance and warfare while simultaneously being called to rest in the finished work of Christ. He provides strategies and methods of evaluating oneself regarding temptation and sin: identifying and addressing the inner workings of the heart, and seeing the expression of the heart through our thoughts, words, and deeds. Additionally, he calls attention to the foundational truth that beliefs influence behavior, and he challenges the reader to engage in the lifelong daily battle of aligning his or her beliefs with Scripture, starting with the gospel (page 122).
Witt reminds his readers that through the gospel, the life-giving message of Jesus—how He lived, how He died, and how He rose again for us—God can turn our sinful failings into opportunities for growth and change (page 125), that we might life for His glory and be more like Him over time. Not only does the gospel grant us spiritual life, it is our motivation and power to fight diehard sins (page 152). Before one can look with hope at his or her sin, he or she must look at Christ through His gospel (page 157).God designed many tools to help His children overcome diehard sins: drawing near to God, conforming to His Word, resting in Christ’s work, partaking in the ordinances, and clinging to the gospel. Click To Tweet
God designed many tools to help His children overcome diehard sins: drawing near to God, conforming to His Word, resting in Christ’s work, partaking in the ordinances, and clinging to the gospel. Another tool that Witt highlights is constant engagement through fellowship and accountability with members of your local church (page 168). When we face any particular sin problem, our natural tendency is to retreat from other people. Shame and despair provoke us to hide—yet, isolation is unwise (p. 169).
The Appendixes offer helpful tools which include:
Questions and exercises for a daily fighting strategy.
A strategy for fighting temptation.
A plan for bringing God’s Word to bear on every situation.
Quotes from various theologians or pastors included in the book with additional context.
Explore Diehard Sins for practical strategies to fight against the destructive habits in your own life.