You knew it was wrong, yet you did it anyway. Why? Sometimes we're all attracted to sin, despite our beliefs. Every day, a spiritual battle rages inside us, and we need to learn how to fight so we can win the moral victories. When your actions align with your beliefs, you can enjoy a more vibrant faith.

Here are some ways you can strengthen your moral character:

  • Realize that powerful warfare goes on in spiritual realms every day, and that it can influence you. Wrong choices will open you up to attacks that will drive you to make more wrong choices and put you in bondage. But right choices will fuel your relationship with God and help you grow stronger.

  • Invite the Holy Spirit to fill your life and help you be alert to your current moral struggles. Pay close attention to what the Spirit reveals to you, then confess your sins, decide to make better choices in the future, and ask for the grace you need to do so.

  • Don't tolerate "little things" that you know are wrong. Confront and challenge yourself when you're tempted to do them, because "little" sins can be just as significant as "big" ones.

  • Meditate on God's holiness, and strive to live a pure life so you can better honor Him. Offer your attempts to grow in purity as a gift to God, given because you love Him.

  • When you experience a moral failure, try to make things right. For example, if you lied to someone, go back to that person and change your story so it reflects the truth.

  • Take God seriously. Remember that Christianity is not a hobby - it's meant to be a faith that connects you to the living God and transforms you completely.

  • Plan in advance for situations that you expect will tempt you to make wrong choices. Draw extra strength from prayer and Scripture reading before entering those situations, and avoid becoming involved in any situation in which you would be ashamed to invite Christ to join you.

  • Don't wallow in regret for past sins. Accept God's forgiveness, and ask Him to use the pain in your past to shape a brighter future for you.

  • Don't keep secrets. Have at least one godly friend or family member who will help hold you accountable for your thoughts and actions, and encourage you to keep growing.

  • Be persistent. If you build good moral habits over time, you'll be more and more inclined to make better moral choices.

Adapted from The War Within You: Overcoming the Obstacles to Godly Character, copyright 2001 by Doug McIntosh. Published by Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., www.moody.edu, 1-800-678-6928.

Doug McIntosh is the senior pastor at Stone Mountain Community Church near Atlanta. He has taught courses at Carver Bible Institute and College and at Columbia Bible College and Seminary. The author of three other books, Doug has three adult children with his wife Cheryl.

Do you ever catch yourself doing something you believe is wrong? Why have you sometimes done what you don't want to do? How has God helped you align your actions with your beliefs? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.