On Killing Your Favorite Sin

Most Christians have what has been called a “bosom sin.”  This is the sin a person sometimes almost likes to commit; it’s his “darling sin,” “beloved sin,” or his “master sin.”  It’s the sin a Christian has a hard time putting to death.  For some people it’s cursing up a storm; for others its sneaking a peek at sexually explicit pictures.  Some Christians’ “darling sin” is going shopping and habitually getting stuff when feeling down; other Christians struggle with alcohol.  The list goes on: pride, anger, binge eating, hatred, etc.  There are many different beloved sins.

This “bosom sin” is the sin we for sure have to recognize and fight against with every fiber of our Christian being.  But if we don’t know what our favorite sin is, how can we find out?  Here’s what Christopher Love (d. 1651) said about this (I’ve edited it for ease of reading):

  1. The sin that is your bosom sin is the one you most frequently commit or fall into throughout the course of your life.  Consider what sin you often fall into, whether uncleanness or drunkenness or dishonesty in your work or spiritual pride (etc.).

  2. The sin that you quite easily give in to when tempted is your darling sin.  Your darling sin is not the one or ones you can usually say no to, but the one that easily besets you (Heb 12:1).

  3. The sin that is your bosom sin is the one that you are most unwilling to part with.  A bosom sin in Scripture is compared to the right eye and right hand – near and dear to the body.  When you are unwilling to leave a sin, that one is your master sin.

  4. The “darling sin” you have is the one that most troubles and galls your conscience.  If you go the way of sin, your conscience will haunt you.  The main sin that keeps bothering your conscience is your master sin.

  5. The sin that often appears when you are serving and worshiping God – the sin that is so bold as to intrude upon your heart when you are near to God – that is your bosom sin.  What sin is it that bothers you most on the Sabbath, or when you’re performing a duty to God (like hearing a sermon, praying, or reading Scripture)?  That sin is your bosom sin.

  6. The sin that your friends have told you to leave off, that sin is your bosom sin.  This sin is the one that even unbelievers may scold you for committing.

  7. The sin that first comes to mind and bothers your conscience when you are suffering affliction, sickness, or a difficult trial, that sin is your bosom sin.

  8. The sin that you get defensive about, that is your master sin.  If someone rebukes you for this sin, you get upset, angry, and cannot stand being rebuked for it. You stick up for your beloved sin.

  9. The sin you most indulge in and willingly allow yourself to indulge in, that is your bosom sin.

  10. The sin that other sins help along is your master sin.  For example, if pride is your bosom sin, then you will use deceit, lies, and so forth to uphold your pride.

I realize this list might sound tedious – but when it comes to that sin that constantly plagues us, I don’t think it’s tedious to find it out so we can better fight it.  “In that part of your soul against which sin and the devil make the strongest assaults, be sure to put forth the greatest part of your strength against them,” Love wrote.  By God’s grace, through repentance and faith, cleansed by Christ’s blood, and with the Spirit’s help, go after your bosom sin and put it to death!

The above (edited) quotes were taken from the 8th chapter of Love’s book, The Mortified Christian.

Shane Lems