10 Things Every Christian Should Give Up

10 things every Christian should give up

I’ve been thinking recently about some of the essential Christian principles that have been hammered into me throughout my life and how so many of these principles have been things I have since had to give up.

Before I get started I would like to add this disclaimer to the article – This is not meant to be a comprehensive article with in-depth teaching, if you want more on these things please check out the other articles on this website and some of the audio/video resources.

So, with that said, without further ado, here are…

10 Things Every Christian Should Give Up

Trying to please God

You can’t, so don’t… That’s why Jesus came to make you a new creation! You were incapable of getting “right with God”! Don’t fall into the Galatian bewitchment and think that now He’s made you right with God you have to keep up a certain standard to please Him.

Trying to please others

You can’t please everyone – it’s impossible. In fact to please one group of people you are invariably going to displease another group! You need to resign yourself to the fact Christianity is not a popularity contest. Of course we don’t actively try to be disliked but ultimately we just have to follow God’s voice, walk in the Spirit and trust that we are affecting those God wants us to affect, how He wants us to affect them.

Spiritual warfare that takes more than 1 minute

If you are breaking a sweat in spiritual warfare I can guarantee something has gone awry! In Christ every power and principality has been disarmed and defeated and the only power they can receive is that which we give them. So if what you are fighting is fighting back someone is empowering it (and it’s most likely you) – that is what to focus on, not the demonic! The New Testament gives us two instructions on spiritual warfare… 1) Focus on what we ourselves believe and 2) stand in Christ’s finished work.

Asking what is right and what is wrong

Did you know that God doesn’t want you to try to do what’s right and avoid what is wrong? In fact just knowing the difference was something He never wanted for us! The only thing God didn’t want for Adam and Eve when He put them in the garden was for them to know good and evil! He didn’t want them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Rather He always intended them to just live good in relationship with Him. The same is true for us today.

Paul explains this in Romans 7 when He explains his greatest problem is knowing what’s good and bad and feeling he should try to live based upon that! Don’t spend your life evaluating everything as good and bad – rather just live your life following the leading of the Spirit.

Fasting for breakthrough

Fasting has never been for the purpose of gaining something. To think that we can fast to convince God to do something is basically us doing a hunger strike to try to change the mind of the creator of the universe! We don’t ever try to convince God to change His mind – as if we have more mercy or compassion than God in the first place!

There is nothing wrong with fasting, do it if it helps you clear your mind or hear God better or maybe for health reasons but don’t do it to try to bend God’s arm into doing something! Trust me, He is even more willing than you to see His will done here on Earth.

Praying “if it be your will”

Praying “if it be your will” is the ultimate cop-out! In the vast majority of situations we know the will of God – Jesus Christ manifested the will of God perfectly, not only that but He told us how to recognize God’s will – He said His will is that things on Earth would be as they are in Heaven. If you don’t know His will ask God and He will tell you. God’s not looking for your permission to exercise His will. He’s looking for a vessel to manifest it!

Trying to obey the law

Contrary to popular belief the law is not for the believer, Paul details this again and again but never so clearly as in Romans 6 and 1 Timothy 1 when He states emphatically “the believer is no longer under the law” and “the law is for the unrighteous, not the righteous”. You have been made righteous and you have the Spirit of God in you. Living by a list of do’s and don’ts is not what you are called to but rather living in the walk of the Spirit! If this is a tough pill to swallow check out this article – What’s the role of the law in the new covenant?

Rating sins

Have you ever noticed that we rate sins? The Bible doesn’t rate sins as better or worse than one another. Even if it did, it’s clearly not how we go about rating sins – consider this, there are more than a thousand verses talking about idolatry (greed, gluttony, lust, worshiping anything other than God) and six about homosexuality.

So why is it that we have so many Christians willing to walk down the street with signs to show how much “God hates gay people” and yet no Christians picketing McDonalds because (some) people in there are being gluttonous? We pick and choose our cardinal sins… If we personally do it or have struggled with it, it’s under grace, if we don’t, then we judge and condemn people. Let’s stop picking which sins are better or worse and instead just realize we all fall short in our own efforts. Let’s trust in God’s grace and let other people do the same!

Trying to become holy

This is a big one, realizing that holiness is not something to be measured on a scale changes everything for the believer. You are either holy or you are unholy! You can’t be 75% holy, that would be the definition of unholy. When we are freed by this truth we realize that God is not expecting us to try to become holy by our own efforts and works. Rather He’s asking us to rest in the truth that we are holy in our new nature. In Christ we have been made holy outside of our actions. Let’s leave our actions where they belong, outside of the holiness equation.

Comparing yourself to others

So many of us love to feel like we are doing better than average. The problem is that we are not called to try outperform each other! We are called to walk in the Spirit and live Christ’s life. Our lives should look like Jesus. It’s easy to feel good about yourself in some areas if you look around your immediate circle of influence, maybe you’ve seen more healing than your friends. But it’s also easy to feel pretty bad, maybe we look around and we see the church in the next town seeing many more people saved than we do!

We can’t get into comparison because it never leads anywhere healthy, neither guilt nor pride are great places to go! Instead let’s just compare ourselves to one person. Jesus. How does our life measure up to the life of Jesus? Can we truly say “it’s not longer I who live but Christ in me”?

What about you?

These are just a few things every Christian should give up, what are some of the things that were hammered into you as essential Christian principles or disciplines that you have had to learn to give up over the years?

Enjoy the post? Share it…


  1. something I gave up which is kind of along the lines of a few of these here in the article, is that feeling of having to take a time out from God’s presence after I fail or commit a sin.
    I have given up that feeling of guilt! when something happens where I mess up, I run to God and not away from Him! i loved what you posted a few weeks ago about ow we have to remember that in the garden, Adam and Eve hid from God, not the other way around!

    • That’s such a good one to give up. I used to do that all the time too… Living under that constant guilt and uncertainty was awful. Sad to look back and realize it was so unnecessary too!

      Bless you Austen!

  2. Used to be that when I felt ‘dirty’ from doing something wrong, I would feel I have to run to the anointing to ‘wash’ me ‘clean’. Sounds silly, but that was then!

  3. Hi Phil, I agree on many points above, but the fist two points will make some people confused. I believe in “pleasing God”, not “trying to please God”. Something like in 1 Tim 2:1-3, 1 Tim 5:4, 1 Thess 4:1 etc, not to get right with God, but because of changed nature when I am in Christ. It is impossible to please God while we’re living in flesh! For point number 2, “trying to please others” does not have the same meaning with “trying to please everyone”. I think it’s okay to please others in order to build them up. I might lose some context, but those points above might be taken wrongly by people.

    • Hey Erick,

      That’s cool :) We clearly agree but there are just some area’s for misinterpretation you don’t like… here are some clarifying points on those two.
      I think that fundamentally neither trying to please God nor man is a good idea. “Trying” to do something says that it is on our own effort that we achieve something.
      I’m not saying we should be pleasing to God, quite the opposite, I’m saying we are pleasing to God so we should kill anything in us that says we need to try to be pleasing to God or try to act a certain way in order to please Him.
      God doesn’t want us to earn His pleasure. In fact that’s the whole message of the gospel, that we can’t! The only thing that allows us to experience God’s pleasure is “faith”… our belief that He is pleased with us!
      As far as pleasing man – it’s totally fine to please man, but we should never try to please man. We should just walk in the Spirit. If our motives are ever to please man we’ve become distracted from walking in the Spirit. It’s fine to please someone, the question is was it a result of us trying to please them or was it merely a fruit of walking with God?
      Hope that helps clarify what I was saying :)

      Bless you bro!

        • So glad Amy… That’s a great one!

          I totally agree with your article – we are called to equip the saints to go out into all the world. Not to drag the world into a church building and try convert them. That just results in two sets of miserable people, Christians and Non-Christians! haha

        • Dynamite blog post, Amy. It seems so illogical that we should mask who we are as the body of Christ in our assemblies in order to be more appealing to those who are incapable of discerning what is happening in our corporate worship in the first place (1 Cor. 2:14). And even if we are successful at enticing them to come, and they actually make a decision for Christ, much of that decision was based on a pretense, and you have to wonder what the “seeker” was drawn to in the first place.

          Anyway, I don’t mean to ramble. This is something that hits home with me for reasons that space here does not allow.

          – damon

  4. One I was taught was trust your leaders. Let me clarify that statement. Any leader that expects you to take anything they say as true is manipulating you. We have the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth. One of the best things I did was take what I’ve heard and study it on my own letting the Holy Spirit confirm something to me.

    • Absolutely Josh, leadership is a great gift to the church from God, but leadership is there to facilitate and help bring vision to the church and champion everyone in their vision. Not to control and manipulate as we have all unfortunately seen a bit too much. God is doing something globally in the church today where we are seeing this change though which is awesome.

  5. Thanks for this, it brought up such great discussion in my college dorm room. You’re doing a great job explaining the gospel.

  6. Since we (the church) will be the bride of Christ at some point in future, do you think that sins such as adultery and sex outside of marriage is particularly significant to Christians?. And if we regard homosexuality as one of such sins, maybe that is why it gets so much attention?

    • Personally I don’t think so… not unless you are planning on having sex with Christ.

      I mean with that analogy if you are “saving yourself” for Jesus surely having sex with your wife is just as offensive as with another woman outside of marriage or a person of same sex.

      God doesn’t rate sins on a curve in my opinion. We do.

  7. 2 of the greatest mindsets that I gave up were 1: constantly believing I lacked something and that God was holding something back from me and I was in need of always seeking for more of Him. But now I’ve realized that I have the fullness of the Spirit and all I need for life and Godliness.

    And the second mindset ties in to the first and that’s the belief that someone else as “more” of Daddy than I do or that they are more “anointed” than I am. Being free from this has helped m, hear dads voice more clearly cuz I’m not trying to hear it through somebody else. :-)

    Great article!! All things that I’ve let go of and am still renewing my mind to! :-)

    • Thanks so much Nathan! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and very encouraged to hear you have already let go of these things and are enjoying the journey of renewing your mind to these truths!

      I totally hear you on your 2. They have both crippled me at different points in my life. I am more and more convinced that my personal Christian maturity has come from unlearning stuff as much as it has learning stuff! haha

  8. Awesome article! Loved it! The Holy Spirit had just been talking with me about these things!!! Timing is perfect!

  9. What’s your view on Christians drinking, taking into account the scripture that says don’t do anything to make your brother fall? I’m going through this atm, I don’t want to drink cause I have a serious problem with it yet all my Christian peers don’t think twice about having a few too many.

    • Hey Jeff,

      All things are permissible, not all things are profitable. At the end of the day we have to figure it out with Holy Spirit and if we really feel it’s not going to benefit them then don’t drink, i.e. if they would only drink if we had one and it would be a bad move for them, then don’t. On the flip side if they are going to drink anyway then perhaps it’s better to enjoy a beer or two and show them how to drink responsibility. (lets face it us… us not drinking is not going to stop an alcoholic drinking if they want to).

      There is nothing wrong with alcohol – the Bible is in fact very pro-alcohol. The only issue with alcohol is over getting drunk – but even then there are passages in the OT that promote that haha so my encouragement to you is the most helpful and yet probably most unwanted … ask Holy Spirit :) haha

      Thanks for asking!

      • You obviously don’t actually understand alcoholics. They don’t drink because they want to they drink because they need to. It is extremely difficult for an alcoholic to control the urges of drinking especially if there are people around them that drink.. If Christians are drinking alcohol around an alcoholic without even considering what it’s doing to that individual then isn’t that ‘making a christian fall’. When did it become more important to satisfy ourselves or justify ourselves without thinking of others. Alcohol isn’t something that we should take lightly as you have no idea who is actually suffering out there because of it. I always thought that ‘Church/God and Christians were meant to be a place that you felt safe a sanctuary but obviously not for an alcoholic if you deem it OK to drink around one. Modern day Christianity is no different to the world these days and it saddens me to my core.

        • Hi Kiri, I don’t think Jeff or I talked about alcoholics at any point. We were simply talking about people who may or may not drink to much.

          I actually have had many alcoholics in my family and have worked a little with alcoholics in the past so I am well aware of what many of them go through.

          I’m sorry if I offended you however :) Like I said, if drinking around someone is an issue then don’t do it. If it isn’t then drink as you feel you are able without stumbling yourself.

  10. I especially like giving up “spiritual warfare that takes longer than 1 minute” and “fasting for a breakthrough.” How Christians want to get back to their works!

  11. Hi Phil,

    This comment is slightly unrelated but I would appreciate your input. I have recently got into speaking on Sunday Morning at our Church. When I read this article is put into words the thoughts I had been having recently. Is it OK to take these points as the basis of a preach even though ‘its not my own writings’.

    I feel this is something our Church could do with hearing and it mirrors what I believe God has been stirring up in me. What are your thoughts in ‘stealing’ other people articles as a basis to talk from?



    • Hi Andrew,

      By all means – please do use anything you find on this site. If you like to as a courtesy you can mention my website so people can dive in deeper to stuff.

      At the end of the day I just want the message to get out there.

  12. Thank you so much for this article. If we would just take a deep breath and just enjoy God and who He is we would not be so stressed and confused . It was a great reminder to rest in His finished work!

  13. Another thing I am trying to give up is thinking that my knowledge of grace is what gives me access to the things that grace provides. I very quickly and easily loose site of the purity and simplicity of Christ and begin thinking in terms of my understanding of a thing being the key to gaining access to a thing.

    Ironically, the knowledge of grace can itself become a hindrance to actually experiencing grace when I think that I get to experience grace because I understand grace. A little child doesn’t have a clue what grace is. They simply take Christ at his word and enter in. Our understanding of grace is not the key. Grace and faith themselves are the key.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, understanding grace will keep me from doing stupid stuff like thinking that fasting or long hours of prayer or Bible study earn anything for me. But knowledge should itself be lumped into that same category.

    If the knowledge were itself the key, then I again have something to boast in, exalting myself over others because of it. As if I get to say… I understand grace and you don’t? What an inferior Christian you are! As if I was born always understanding Grace.

  14. I don’t know who you are, but you are absolutely wrong about your 3rd comment. YOU CAN’T PLEASE GOD. But yoy also contradicted yourself. When you become a new creation in Christ, you pleases God, not of yourself but through Jesus Christ the source of your every being.

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