We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:6)
The scriptures excite my mind in all directions, but in my opinion way more important than the understanding of scripture in all its complexity is the application of first principles: Can I leave the old man of sin behind and become fully a son of God?
The devil’s distractions intrude into the mind when you least expect it, when you think you’re at last safe from the temptations that dominated your past and your guard is down. If lust is your weakness, it could be the clickbait ads between the online article and the comments, a pixellated offering of flesh that opens the door to every titillating image burned into your memory. If it’s gluttony, the hoarding of leisure time while your long-term projects rust and rot. If it’s alcohol, the mouth-watering sight of a liquor store next to the road after a hard day at work. If it’s wrath, the person who talks over you who reminds you of the inconsiderateness of others. If it’s vanity, the receding of your hairline and physical decline into middle age. If it’s envy, reconnecting with an acquaintance you used to consider yourself superior to, but you learn after so many years has it all: career, family, house, and leisure.
And, perhaps most tempting, the desire to give up on being God’s child when you fail, the confirmation in your heart that you can’t do this and you may as well give up trying.
The devil is not a bogeyman you can outrun. He’s with you all the time like a conjoined twin, feeding you suggestions as you’re hit with a hundred things simultaneously. You cannot avoid sin so much as you can build a spiritual immunity to it. That’s the experience of legalism.
Having an active defense system is essential. You can do it, but you can’t do it alone. You need to enlist help. You need the recurrent healing ministry of Jesus and/or to build structural accountability into your life. Usually older friends whose faith you respect ought to do it.