Sunday, April 03, 2011

FAQ: I frequently fail from time to time from impure thoughts. Help!

Paul understood the inner struggle that you are battling with. He wrote in Romans 7:18-20, “For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me.” You are experiencing the inner struggle that we all face as Christians. Your flesh is at war against the Spirit and it is a difficult battle no matter what you are at war over. For you this is manifesting itself in at least this particular area of your life. Certain Christians will struggle with certain issues throughout their Christian lives (like gambling, extramarital flirting, over indulgence of alcohol, homosexual urges, etc) and this may be that particular issue for you.

If you sense that this is a key area of struggle in your life then you should keep in mind what Paul exhorted Timothy to keep in mind. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:1-4, “So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many others as witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well. Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him.” You have been enlisted into the army of the Lord. Do your best to be found faithful and completing your duty. Don’t fraternize with the enemy (your flesh in this case) and don’t be found loitering around in the enemy camp. But instead kill the enemy.

Paul explained the battle against the flesh in this manner to the church in Rome. Romans 8:10-17, “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you. So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.”

I would also add that you should heed what Paul wrote in Romans 13:14 – “Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.” One way you can kill the flesh is to starve it. When you eat food your are providing nourishment to your body to grow stronger and mature. Likewise, if you feed your flesh with sensual lust and physical stimuli your flesh will overtake the Spirit and the war will be in favor of the flesh. On the other hand, if you feed the Spirit with righteousness, holiness and Jesus the balance of war will be in favor of the Spirit. The question now becomes, who do you want to win this war? Do you want the Flesh to overtake the Spirit or do you want the Spirit to overtake the Flesh?

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