When we left off last time explaining more in detail how we have the choice to serve ourselves or Christ. When we serve ourselves and the longer we serve ourselves the less sensitive we will be to Christ and eventually, God will turn our hardened heart completely over to the flesh. The post left off with the idea that we tend to only fight back against temptation only when it starts which ultimately is futile.
For decades I struggled with the sin of pleasure. My flesh was consumed in it, and every time I tried to get away it didn’t happen. My mind and body had a fixation that only continued to grow.
God still reached out to me. He still helped me grow. But the thing was, I had other factors in my life that enforced darkness around me.
There was this tug of war in my spirit and I didn’t realize it.
Give It To God
I know people may think giving up certain shows, movies, or books is “only for the convicted,” but I’m telling you if we love Christ we MUST give up the things of the world. It’s telling God, “I’m leaving these at Your feet because they go against You. They go against Your holiness and Your Son. I want to find strength and comfort in the Comforter and You are the only One I can turn to. So please, help me continue to give up the things of the world. Help me love You more every second. Help me give You the glory.”
See, the core of giving up influences of this world is not about sin. It is not about sanctification even though this is exactly what sanctification is. Salvation is when we get Christ, and sanctification is when Christ gets us (we give up things of the world) Instead of sin, our true focus is on loving Christ and giving Him glory because of what He did, and our desire to draw closer to Him.
It starts with love.
When I started giving up things I became more sensitive and aware of what was not holy and loving to God. It hurt to hear on the things I was watching or listening to God’s name being taken in vain, cursing, sexual talk, etc, and when I started turning more to longer periods of worship, prayer and reading scripture something changed. Scripture says we will be a new creation. That we will continue to be renewed in Christ every day even though this flesh is dying!
At some point, turning to God more helped me let go of the things I once desired, things I thought maybe I would never give up because it was too difficult.
What I realized was if we are exposing ourselves to the world and its darkness we will struggle more in temptation and not being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
Self Control Cannot Come From Us
I tried to control my sin and giving it up. But when I gave up the things that were cloaked in darkness, it was only THEN that the ropes around my spirit lost their tightening.
My mind, spirit, heart, and even my body were being disciplined in a way I wasn’t fully aware of at the time. I did things BECAUSE OF GOD not because of my sin! Drawing closer to Him meant I had to let go of other things.
One day I noticed that several months had gone by and the hold of pleasure that once chained me in shame was gone!
Until then I foolishly misunderstood the scripture saying God would help us get through temptation.
(NIV) 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
I thought I could fight the fleshly desire because I had Christ with me. This is partly true. The false part is if I am not constantly seeking shelter in Him, and being renewed in His truth and glory daily my strength is simply that…mine. It’s on my terms.
And, well, I’m a weakling when it comes to the spiritual stuff. I can’t do it on my own.
Instead of fighting within myself, it was about embracing the Lord and hiding in His shadow instead of standing in the shadow of my sin and allowing that shadow to grow.
The discipline I needed? Why I didn’t realize this sooner, with the numerous gifts that all are part of the fruit of the Spirit, one of them…IS SELF CONTROL!
Self-control comes from the Holy Spirit, not us, and if we are desiring to break the cycle of falling into temptation we have to understand there is nothing WE can really do by ourselves to break away from fleshly desires. That’s why it is important to give up the things of this world, even if it seems some of it is small and we can keep it.
(NLT) James 4:04, “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.”
Understand we need to be soaked daily in the renewal of the Holy Spirit. The scriptures at the beginning of part one explain why. There is a lot of the world that pulls us in.
Time With God Is Crucial
We need to be covered in the grace and mercy of Christ not only in moments of struggle but entirely throughout. That’s how we prepare for battle. Moses was said to wear a woman’s veil around his face because of the time he spent with God, people couldn’t look at him.
We need that kind of time with God. We need that kind of connection. This is all about Him. Our king. Serving Him, following Him, talking to Him, and worshipping Him to the point we are so enveloped in Him darkness loses its hold. Only in Christ can we truly be freed from darkness’ grip.
(NIV) Phillippians 4:13, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
Only then is when we can truly fight against temptation in a way that we can endure and conquer. When true repentance is put to action.
(NIV) Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Surrounding ourselves in the goodness of God helps us overcome evil.
How has God helped you overcome temptation?
Monthly Scripture- (NIV) Romans 1:17, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
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