Like a ball and chain around his ankle!
(John Angell James, "Christian Progress" 1853)
"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the
sin which so easily besets you." Hebrews 12:1
Besetting sins are powerful hindrances to Christian
progress. In the case of most people, there is some
one sin to which, either from their situation, taste,
constitution, or other circumstances--they are more
powerfully tempted than to others.
Satan knows very well what in every case this is, and
skillfully adapts his temptations to it. He is an expert
angler, and never chooses his bait, or throws his line,
at random! Independently, however, of him, the very
tendency of the heart is in that direction.
That one sin, whatever it is, while indulged, will hold
you back! You cannot make progress in holiness, until
it is mortified. Even its partial indulgence, though it
may be considerably weakened, will hinder you!
Study then your situation, circumstances, and constitution.
You cannot be ignorant which temptation and sin, you are
most liable to succumb to. You must know in what way
you have most frequently wounded your conscience, and
occasioned to yourself shame and sorrow.
Is it an unsanctified temper?
Is it an impure imagination?
Is it a proud heart?
Is it a vain mind?
Is it a taste for worldly company?
Is it a proneness to envy and jealousy?
Is it a love of money?
Is it a tendency to exaggeration in speech?
Is it a fondness for pleasure?
Is it a disposition to censoriousness and backbiting?
Study yourselves! Examine your own heart! You must
find out this matter, and it requires no great pains in
order to know it. It floats upon the surface of the heart,
and does not lie hidden in its depths. There, there, is
your danger! As long as that one sin, be it what it may,
is indulged, you cannot advance in the Christian life!
Other sins are like unnecessary clothing to the racer.
Besetting sins are like a ball and chain around his ankle!