Christ says, "if you love me, you will obey what I command," (John 14:15 NIV). We also know that God disciplines everyone He calls a child (Hebrews 12:8). This discipline and training is what leads us into mature Christianity and the solid food we were intended to eat as faithful followers. Once you come into the family, God instructs you by way of the Holy Spirit as to what is sinful and what is godly. He punishes His children for steering off the path of righteousness; however, His anger lasts but a moment and His favor a lifetime (Psalm 30:5). This strict training keeps us from falling into major sins. However, some sins are hard to break and God knows that. He gives us time and the Holy Spirit to work and change our hearts and selves into a new creation in Christ. He disciplines us so that we will not be condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:32).
This leads us back to our question, "am I still saved if I struggle with the same sins." My answer in short is yes, you are likely saved if you care about whether or not your life and love walk is pleasing to God. By asking this question, you indicate that you are saved. However, if every time the Holy Spirit says to you "STOP," you don’t listen — you should question whether or not your commitment to God is what it should be. If you consistently ignore what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do, what difference is there between you and a pagan? God is forgiving but the bible says "do not put the Lord your God to the test," (Luke 4:12). You will be disciplined until you listen to God’s voice. His voice is meant to save you not be a slave-driver or mean task-master. God won’t let you face any temptation that there isn’t a way out of (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Holy Spirit gives you the power to overcome sin (Romans 8:37).
Temptation and the Power of Deliverence
The reason we can still be tempted with the same sins is because the devil knows our weaknesses and will push to get into our realm of thinking until he can win a stronghold in our lives. All humans struggle with temptation — even Jesus was tempted, but He didn’t sin. Instead of sinning and giving into temptation, He defended Himself with the Sword of the Spirit (the Word or Bible). He phrased his rebuttals with "it is written..." preceding a biblical or scriptural quotation (Matthew 4:4-10). We are to use the same model to fight off temptation today. But how can you fight off that temptation unless you have the Word in your heart? That is where the Holy Spirit gives us deliverance and supernatural power to fight off the darkness that lies in sin. It helps to know the Word and to memorize verses that help you fight off your individual temptations that might plague you.
The Bible also says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." The devil can’t stand when we use biblical truths to fight off temptation. That is why the scriptures are called the "Sword of the Spirit." They penetrate the darkness with God’s light and truth. If we show the devil that we listen to God, he cannot stand against God, so he flees. God is loving, and He doesn’t allow us to be tempted so much that we cannot say no to the temptation. As Christians, we are indwelt with the same Spirit that was in Christ when He faced temptations and said no. We have the ability to tap into Christ’s power of resistance when we listen to the Holy Spirit and use the Sword of the Spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Christ says that "if [we] remain in Him and His words in [us]," we can ask whatever we wish and it will be given to us (John 15:7 NIV). Therefore, if you ask for deliverance from a sin you continually struggle with, Christ will deliver you if you remain in Him and His words remain in you.
How to Stop Falling into Habitual Sins
Stopping a habitual sin can be automatic and immediate depending on your faith and God’s will. If you believe God can help you stop that sin it will be done as you believed as long as it is God will. Also, you have to want to be delivered from that sin. If it is a sin you are enjoying and don’t wish to give up, don’t expect to be able to pray a trite prayer for deliverance when you’d just as soon carry on with the sin. Perhaps a better prayer would be to ask God to take the desire to sin away. Again, this should be sincere, too. But when God sees His children struggling and they pray to Him for deliverance, He is willing to help them in any way to get rid of sin. Jesus died for our sins and so that we could live lives free of sin by the power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But the saved can still sin and be saved because Jesus’ death paid the penalty for all of our sins — past, present, and future. Continuing to sin is a different story. The word "continuing" implies that it has been going on for a while and you’ve already been rebuked for it.
If you don’t mind heavy reading, there is a book called "Future Grace," by John Piper that talks about sin in the lives of the saved and what God’s grace covers. It’s very well written but some of the language is not for laymen. The point of the book is to say that God’s grace covers future mishaps. Note that I said "mishaps" and not continual and intentional reprobate sin.
Paul speaks on this grace and its abuse in Romans. He says we should not go on sinning because it makes God’s grace even greater. This is ridiculous, as he points out (Romans 6:1-3). My advice is that if you know your temptations and their triggers - stay away from them. Listen to God’s voice while it is still called "today," and don’t harden your hearts (Hebrews 4:7). How does one harden his/her heart? If you don’t ever listen to the warnings of the Holy Spirit and you are continually being corrected without a response on your part, your heart will grow resentful, calloused and indifferent toward God. In other words, if you constantly rub against the truth and don’t let it penetrate your core your heart will become calloused and hard. This is spoken of in Hebrews when Paul talks about reprobate minded sinners (Hebrews 10:26). These are Christians that have been rebuked and don’t listen or stop their sinful behavior. A reprobate minded sinner would not care whether or not he or she was still saved because sin would be more important to them than their relationship with the Father.
1 John 3:8-9 (NIV) says,
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.