Have you been frustrated with yourself as Paul was, that you do the things you should not do and do not the things you should?
In every child born there is the natural tendency to do what he/she is told not to do. This tendency causes the child to disobey, to tell lies, to deceive. Normally for these, punishment is meted by parents who know the laws and values of God. This tendency to do wrong known also as the flesh continues through life and is stopped only by one experience – when a person accepts the Victorious Jesus Christ as Saviour into their lives.
When Jesus comes to stay in a person’s life by personal invitation, He breaks the control of sin in that person’s life and the person is given the freedom to choose to follow the Truth, Christ Jesus or to continue to follow the flesh . Jesus is our atonement for our sins and paid by his death on Calvary as a sacrifice for our sins. When we accept Him as our sin-bearer, His victory over sin and death follows and is attributed to us. His Holy Spirit comes in to our lives to empower us to live a God-pleasing life. He changes our inclination to sin, to an inclination for righteousness. When we are obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to obedience and love for the Lord, we have the power to say “no” to the wooing of the flesh and the tendency to do the opposite of good according to God.
Why then is there a constant struggle within the life of a Christian?
It is because of the two natures that are present since becoming a Christian – our sinful nature and our spiritually righteous nature. The pull between the two causes a struggle, a tension in the Christian.
If you listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit you will be an overcomer. If you listen to the voice of the enemy you will be a loser to the flesh. Doing nothing will probably lead you into temptation to do what is wrong and act in the flesh. However, when Jesus is Lord in your life and His Word fills your mind and heart, with trust and obedience on your part , you know you will have the victory over the flesh and yes, over the temptations which upon yielding make you feel lousy.
Our speaker at church this morning gave an illustration how he overcame the temptation of pornography and all the unclean thoughts that are the result. He said while he was studying at Bible school in the U.S, and away from his family, it could have been very easy for him to fall prey to the temptations on the internet. He had been given a very small miniature white Bible. He placed it right next to his computer mouse next to his computer. Each time he used his mouse, he was reminded by the miniature Bible’s presence that he was to keep himself pure in thought and action. He said delete those advertisements. Do not even try to take an honest look or peek at them for they inevitably quickly lead to addiction which cannot be overcome except via counselling, repentance, prayer and personal support to remain strong and accountable to the Lord. He said say “No” even before there is any tendency towards the temptation and not after you are trapped when it may be too late.
And so it must be that if we want to win and be victorious, we must make Jesus Lord of our lives.
Every step we take, every move we make in our choices and decisions, we must make in His Presence, reminding ourselves always that we belong to Him, in the counsel of His Word and obedience empowered by the Holy Spirit. We must have the consciousness and the commitment that we are living for Him and for His glory.
We cannot stand alone against the onslaught of the enemy and our flesh, we need the support and encouragement of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Tomorrow a cell group brother in Christ is starting in a new job. He has been out of job for one year and the Lord has wonderfully moved on his behalf with the offer of the job. He feels inadequate having been so long out of action. However, as he shared with our Bible cell group, we as members of the body of Christ pledged him our daily prayer support. We indicated first he must be fixed in his mind that he wants to glorify the Lord and be His witness at the new job. Then, if ever he felt inadequate or did not know what to do he should turn his eyes on Jesus and pray for wisdom and discernment for the Lord is with Him in the work he has been sent to do. He will not be alone at his workplace, and even though there may be wolves in the marketplace, the Shepherd will lead him in peace and paths of righteousness. In addition, he should remember that he has all his cell group members praying for him and the Lord in heaven will hear our prayers on his behalf. He was greatly encouraged and who do you think will be stronger in his life if he sticks with the advice that he has been given? Those who put their trust in the Lord shall not be ashamed. Praise to the Lord.
Testifying and appreciating every success in the Spirit provides positive affirmation towards growth in our spiritual life. If we know it works and we are encouraged, success breeds success. When others hear about it, they are encouraged and praise the Lord. They also feel they can have the victory too. For every testimony given the giver becomes more committed to winning over the flesh. The victorious mindset leads to greater confidence in the Lord and better performance… there is a chain reaction which cannot be under-estimated.
Sometimes the war between flesh and Spirit may be fierce and should one fall into temptation, the quickest recovery steps of acknowledgement, confession, repentance and recommitment to Christ must be the order of the day. The earlier reparation is done the less the hold of the flesh. Overcoming victory is a booster in the armoury of faith. If we know who we are in Jesus, we can claim the victory and start from a position of victory not depression or failure. It makes a real difference in living.
Those are but a few points to encourage you dear reader, to fight the good fight of faith and to continue to walk in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. As a child of God your freedom to choose is conclusive in impact – do what is right and reap the blessing and peace of God, and when you do what is not right there is perpetual struggle and a war that is unyielding and punishing. Be strengthened by each victory won. You may lose a battle but you must win the war.
The victory is even to the weakest for in our weakness are we made strong in Him. Choose to be strong in the Lord by seeking first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.. yea even the victory over the flesh.
The Christian life is a struggle but it is possible in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.