Those who live godly, in Christ Jesus, will suffer persecution”
– 2 Timothy 3:12
It is inevitable as Christians, we will be faced with two things: First the Word tells us that we will experience persecution. Persecution is that which seeks to destroy a person’s spiritual walk from the outside in. Second, there is a war between the spirit and the flesh.
“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” – Galatians 5:17
Unlike persecution which is external, the battle with the flesh is something that happens internally. Even though something external may “spark” that battle. The battle between the flesh and the spirit is a war that rages inside the soul.
Some might say, there is little that can be done about the war between the flesh and the Spirit. Still there are others who try and win the war daily through personal resolve. I’ve heard great teachers use phrases such as, “we must die to ourselves”. We should be careful with this phrase. Paul told us to “Reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ”(KJV) in Romans 6. This significant truth from Romans tells us that we are already dead. How foolish to try in the flesh to die again. Rather we must trust by faith, that we are already dead to sin and instead focus on walking in righteousness.
The power to live the Christian life is summed up here. You are dead to sin, you don’t have to obey it anymore. You have been freed from its bondage. Instead we must believe the truth that we are alive in Christ. This is not a plea to become involved in the power of positive thinking, that movement has it’s origins in the flesh. I am exhorting you to picture yourself alive to Christ, to believe it by faith. Picture yourself walking with Him, with your mind set on Him and the what He might do through you today. As you wake up in the morning, think about what the garden of your life might look like as Christ is working in and through you. When the flesh or the devil brings up the potential for failure, treat it as if you would that weed that pops up in the garden. Pull it out and keep moving on.
We don’t need to worry about Jesus beating us up over the sin. After all, He was not surprised by it. In fact He knew that you would do it, long before you did. What He is concerned about is that you repent from that sin, agree with Him, accept His mercy and glorify Him, and just keep walking in the garden of your life. You will never overcome sin, which some would call habits, hiccups and hangups, by focusing on those sins. You overcome sin with good. You overcome sin with repentance and a choice to follow Jesus and be His disciple.
Do not get caught up over one weed – one sin that comes into your life. Whether it has come one time or a hundred times. Confess it to God, ask Him to change you and help you see that sin before it grows up again. Then accept the mercy of God and KEEP WALKING.
Do not let the flesh where you down, and begin a spiritual battle that is not yours to fight.