Like you, I have been battling the flesh my entire Christian experience, yet it seems as though I have been unable to create a sustainable victory over my sinful desires. Let’s face it, for most of us many of the sins that we have the most problems with look, feel and taste good to our senses. We anticipate moving towards that sin that “so easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1) and it seems as though, at times, I can muster up enough strength to resist the flesh for a season, but other times resisting the flesh only increases the likelihood of my failing.
I am discovering that in Christ I am literally a new creation. I am not saying that my sinful temptations have gone away. I am saying that God has now given me the choice to choose Him. When I choose Him I am choosing Eternal Life.
While having a conversation with Nancy a few weeks ago she enjoyed the ways that I was telling her that I was receiving more success at conquering the sin that so easily wins over me. And she asked if I might write a short article on my experiences. So here it is.
I am finding that there are two things that help me more consistently win the battle with my flesh. The first is a living and vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. That is His Spirit living in my spirit which gives me an experience of Eternality in my life. Yes, I need to “fall in love” with Christ. For me I bask in a God that loves me in spite of my brokenness, in spite of my sin, in spite of my arrogance and pride, in spite of who I know I am. This means I don’t have to listen to that little voice in my head (shame) that says you messed up, you’re no good, you will never amount to anything, God doesn’t love you, you always mess up, you already messed up so you might as well just go further, “God sees that sin just like any other sin”, so you might as well enjoy the big one. Again a great healing part of this first principle is being wholly convinced in my heart that God loves me unconditionally.
The second is a very fascinating aspect that totally took me by surprise: Accountability. Now many of us use the word accountability, but what we mean is when we get caught we have to “pay a price”. The accountability I’m looking at is a little different than that. I ask for it (accountability) before the sin happens. At that moment when God’s spirit is prompting me in one direction, and my flesh is pulling me the other, I involve a friend just as I’m about to enter the sin. So picture this, you look at something, you desire it (knowing its wrong) you start to resist, but your desire for it increases and increases. You know you can’t have it and that makes it even more desirable, and sometimes you cross the line and you get it anyway. Then you realize that it wasn’t as satisfying as you had anticipated. You had built it up in your mind to be much better than it really was and the consequences are much harsher than you had self-justified in your mind. Most of us can identify with having regrets in this way.
So I’ve discovered that as a man when I am in the throes of temptation (if I am tempted to have an affair, look at porn, or plan a mean revenge), if I will call a friend and tell him my intention the need toward the sin dissipates. I’ve discovered that there is something about hearing out loud what I am planning in my mind that seems to take away all of the thrill and excitement of doing the secret thing. One of the greatest advantages is that this action forces me to take off my mask that pretends that everything is okay when it’s not. Yes, sometimes a friend may be able to talk me out of it and may be able to help me come to my senses with regards to the consequences, but really it seems like the power of God is in the spoken word when I make that phone call… If indeed in Christ we are a new creation and we can choose, that means that Satan really does not have any power or authority in my life… the only power sin seems like it has is only there because I gave it it’s position. Prior to having the Holy Spirit, I had no choice, but after I’ve accepted Christ I now have full choice and can choose to turn away. The way out that is provided for me it’s to voice the desire or the plan. (1 Cor. 10:13)
I have full choice now that I have a relationship with Christ to choose to bask in His love enough to where that temptation subsides, becomes less important, is all fluff created by Satan, and has no real power over me. After all, it’s just my selfishness and flesh attempting to confuse me. So pick up the phone and call someone. When you take off your mask you will grow into the real person God intended you to be, as well as you will be helping the person you call (your trusted friend) by illustrating vulnerability and truth in your walk with Christ.
Written by Ed Riemersma
On June 25th, 2015 at 3pm-6pm PST Ken Nair and special guest Doup Leeper, a Christ Quest Institute Group Leader, will be hosting an online event dedicated to helping men with questions they might have on this topic. They will spend this time dedicated to giving answers, principles and projects to help defeat this area of concern. Click on website below to participate in this event.
Please feel free to invite any of your friends and family who would be interested in discussing this topic.