In our last article we shared that God expects us to be perfect. We then defined that biblical perfection is a step-by-step process. In this article, we will now look at some practical steps to live up to this high calling of Christ. The first step is to recognize that you cannot gain victory on your own.

But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.  {COL 159.3}.

 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.  John 1:29

The Saviour took upon Himself the infirmities of humanity and lived a sinless life, that men might have no fear that because of the weakness of human nature they could not overcome. Christ came to make us “partakers of the divine nature,” and His life declares that humanity, combined with divinity, does not commit sin.  {MH 180.5}.

Victory over sin can only be gained through Christ. Christ gained victory over every sin to empower us to do the same. Notice the condition in which Christ gained this victory:

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh – Romans 8:3

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. – Hebrew 2:14,16

Notice that Christ gained victory over sin while partaking of the same sinful flesh that we currently posses. Why did He do it?

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 1 Pet 2:21-22

Let us summarize: Christ took on sinful flesh, the seed of Abraham, the post-fall nature of Adam, not the nature of Angels, condemned sin in the flesh, leaving us an example so that we should follow His steps who did no sin. In others words Christ gained victory over every sin in the same sinful nature as man, beset with the same temptations. Notice these strong word of scripture:

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Hebrews 4:15

James 1:13 tells us that God cannot be tempted so we know that Christ did not use His divine power to overcome sin.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.

So how did Christ gain the victory? Did you notice that 1 Peter 2:21 said we should follow His steps. That means there are steps to gaining victory over sin.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.  – Psalm 37:23

What were the steps that Christ used to gain victory over sin? Before we look at the steps let me quickly add that when a person skips steps or misses a step, they fall. As in the natural, so in the spiritual. Jesus promises in Jude 24, that He is able to keep us from falling, but we must follow the steps that He followed. Jesus did not skip any of these steps.

The Saviour’s life on earth was a life of communion with nature and with God. In this communion He revealed for us the secret of a life of power.  {MH 51.1}  The childhood of Jesus, spent in poverty, had been uncorrupted by the artificial habits of a corrupt age. Working at the carpenter’s bench, bearing the burdens of home life, learning the lessons of obedience and toil, He found recreation amidst the scenes of nature, gathering knowledge as He sought to understand nature’s mysteries. He studied the word of God, and His hours of greatest happiness were found when He could turn aside from the scene of His labors to go into the fields, to meditate in the quiet valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. With the voice of singing He welcomed the morning light. With songs of thanksgiving He cheered His hours of labor and brought heaven’s gladness to the toilworn and disheartened.  {MH 52.1}

Notice the steps Jesus followed:

  1. He held constant communion with His father
  2. He engaged in useful labor. By working with His hands, He learned lessons of obedience and patience
  3. He spent time in nature and studied nature learning lessons of life through the handiwork of God
  4. He studied the word of God
  5. He meditated on the words of God
  6. He Sang
  7. Welcomed the morning light (the manna had to be gathered before the sun waxed hot)

Jesus did not allow anything to interfere with these steps, He knew that if any of these steps were skipped He would fall. That is why we are counseled:

In the great conflict before us, he who would keep true to Christ must penetrate deeper than the opinions and doctrines of men. …Guard jealously your hours for prayer, Bible study, and self-examination. Set aside a portion of each day for a study of the Scriptures and communion with God. Thus you will obtain spiritual strength, and will grow in favor with God. He alone can give you noble aspirations; He alone can fashion the character after the divine similitude. Draw near to Him in earnest prayer, and He will fill your hearts with high and holy purposes, and with deep, earnest longings for purity and clearness of thought.

A true knowledge of the Bible can be gained only through the aid of that Spirit by whom the Word was given. And in order to gain this knowledge, we must live by it. All that God’s word commands, we are to obey. All that it promises, we may claim. The life which it enjoins is the life that, through its power, we are to live. Only as the Bible is thus held, can it be studied effectively.  {GW 100.1} 

The Psalmist says thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee – Psalm 119:11.

When the word of God as well as sacred songs are hid in our hearts, we are fortified to resist temptations. Trials and tribulations will come our way, but the Lord will bring to remembrance, the precious promises and experiences as revealed through His word, songs, nature, meditation with Him as well as lessons learned through toiling with our hands. This combined with the power of the Christ, we can gain victory every time. I remember when I came into the church and I was struggling with movies and I was passing a theater and was tempted to look back to see what was airing, the Lord immediately sent a text to my mind from Luke 9:62.

No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. 

Instantly I had the victory over that temptation. When these victories are gained constantly it become habitual for us to do right.

All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us. {DA 668.3} 

What a precious promise! Let us determine in our hearts to follow these same steps that Christ followed to have the same experience that Christ had. Remember when you skips steps you slip and fall.

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. – Jeremiah 10:23

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. – Psalm 119:133