Self-control is the answer. We must strive to maintain self-control, take captive the thoughts that we know are not in alignment with God’s Word and intentionally choose obedience over submission to our flesh.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” -- John 5:24 (NASB)
When we confess our sins and receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, the battle for our eternity is won, but the battle for our flesh is far from over!
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” -- Galatians 5:17 (NASB)
Not too long ago Pastor Johnny Hunt made the statement, “It’s a battle every day,” referring the desires of our flesh. My immediate response was “yes! I am so thankful for an honest assessment of this very real conflict.” It is refreshing to listen to the teaching of a pastor who is willing to be transparent about the everyday struggles we face as Christians. For many years I allowed Satan to double the impact of his attack against me, first by simply being tempted, and second by allowing him to condemn and shame me for letting the temptation even cross my mind.
Delighting in God’s law internally and obeying God’s law externally will remain a source of conflict for the believer in this life.
In Romans 7:14-25, the apostle Paul gives us a clear account of this very struggle. Verse 22 states that, as Christians, our inner being will joyfully concur with God’s law while at the same time, the very next verse describes how the members of our bodies will wage war against the very law we joyfully concur with.
So what’s the answer? How do we survive this very real, very challenging struggle?
Pastor Johnny sums it up well in the following article:
If I am going to be a Christian leader that influences others I must be a leader that knows the meaning of self-control. The longer I live, the more I realize that self is the greatest enemy to Christ-honoring leadership. Self-preservation, self-indulgence, self-centeredness, self-focused … I could go on and on in mentioning all the words that speak to the opposite of self-control. I realize that self-control is a fruit of the spirit, therefore, only as I yield and surrender myself on a daily basis -- and might I add, on a moment-by-moment basis -- to the Lord Jesus Christ, self-control becomes a reality.
Self-control is the answer. We must strive to maintain self-control, take captive the thoughts that we know are not in alignment with God’s Word and intentionally choose obedience over submission to our flesh. Remember, we are in a very real battle and in order to be successful, we must come into the battle prepared.
Here are just a few ways you and I can prepare ourselves daily for the battle against our flesh:
1) Pray: Begin each day in prayer, thanking God for the many blessings in your life and asking for protection in the area of your life where you are vulnerable.
2) Study: Read and Study God’s Word daily, building on your knowledge and understanding of who God is and how He desires that you live your life.
3) Share: Identify at least a few safe friends that you are able to be completely transparent with who will challenge you in your ability to overcome the temptation of the flesh.
What will you do to intentionally implement a daily routine that will help you claim “victory” over your battle with your flesh?