Diehard Sins

Ste Casey suggests some summer reading: Diehard Sins: How to Fight Wisely Against Destructive Daily Habits, by Rush Witt

The diehard sin in my heart leaves me exhausted, down-hearted and doubtful of God’s grace. I know I’m not the only one. Every believer I know carries their own burden of not being the person they could, should or ought to be. Therefore any book that renews hope in Christ and eases the burden of failure is the tonic my soul needs on a daily basis. And that’s what I appreciated most about this book by Rush Witt. I found on page after page that priceless balance between insightful personal understanding, sin-fighting practical wisdom, and unlimited hope in a God who is with us in the battle.

Each chapter begins with a brief and relatable story of someone’s struggle in an everyday area of life. Whether it is unresolved conflict, temptations to gossip, laziness or people-pleasing, here is valuable help for real people who want real change.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a people-centred self-help book. In the first section, Witt, with keen theological insight and real-world illustration, lays a biblical framework for how to understand the nature of sin. Wonderfully, he does this whilst never venturing too far from the present hope of Christ. We are helped to grapple with the realities of hearts after the Fall, and find encouragement to battle on with a sense of “contented discontentment in the fight”. With insightful questions for personal reflection, I found myself being gently pastored towards the Lord.

The second section puts us more on the front foot, by inviting us to engage in knowing our hearts and submitting them more fully to Christ. What I appreciated here was that whilst walking me toward such familiar theology as ”every heart that will be freed from sin is a heart that must first become overwhelmed by the life-transforming message of the cross”, the author gave me a genuine sense that Christ is with me, even ahead of me. What a mobilising hope as I seek to live out of a heart that is ruled by Him. Hallelujah, this isn’t all down to me!

Whilst constantly sensitive to the wounds that we carry through loss and suffering, I found Witt to be wonderfully relentless in his insistence on what must fill our sights as believers in Christ: “I cannot emphasise this truth enough: your ability to enduringly fight sin is dependent on your daily interactions with the precious and magnificent promises that are yours in Christ”. But what makes this book worth buying or recommending is not just that he tells us this, but you get the sense that Witt is doing this with us as we read.

The final section is an exhortation to adopt practices that support heart change. “We form new habits by practicing the new patterns for living that God has shown us in His word.” As I read this lively take on the ancient disciplines of enjoying Scripture, nourishing our souls in the gospel, and fighting sin amongst a community of faith, I was filled with a fresh sense of how God’s gracious provision for us can go so sadly neglected in the busyness of modern life. This was a much-needed exhortation to my soul that I couldn’t wait to share with others.

In short, this book does what it says it will. If you need help fighting stubborn sins that don’t ever seem to leave you alone; if you’re feeling defeated, and hopelessness has begun to set in, then this book will bring biblical insight, Christ-centred hope and practical wisdom.