How should we fight against sin in the flesh?
Human nature would rather sin than suffer, so how do we take up the battle against sin?
Sin in the is something that we have all inherited and are born with, as Adam and Eve’s descendants. It is not guilt, but the tendency or inclination to follow our own self-will rather than God’s will. We experience this tendency every time we are tempted by our lusts and desires to commit sin. However, if we have not agreed with the temptation, we have not committed sin. This is where the fight against sin lies!
To engage in battle is to give up every single thing that God points out to you as necessary to give up that would come between yourself and your goal – to be conformed to the image of Christ so that you can be with Him for eternity. (Romans 8:29) Your honor, your will, your desires, your thoughts. All of it must be given up to live according to God’s will for your life.
A desperate longing to be saved
Because the lusts and desires in your flesh are demanding something other than God’s will, denying them satisfaction will cause suffering in the flesh, which you will feel acutely. To be faithful requires a firm and decided mindset. You have to acknowledge that nothing good comes from the flesh. (Romans 7:18) This takes zeal, a determination, and a profound dependency on help from God. You have to be aware of how weak you are as a natural person, how powerless you are against sin, and come to the point where you humbly acknowledge that without God you can do nothing. When you are at that point then you will understand why it is written about Jesus that He prayed until His sweat came like great drops of blood. (Luke 22:41-44)
“Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:7-8.
Jesus was the Son of God, yet He Himself as a man had to pray with vehement cries and tears to God to receive the strength required to sustain Him in battle. That’s the spirit you also need to be in. A desperate need for help, a desperate longing to be saved from the sin that you find that so easily ensnares you. (Hebrews 12:1) It will also take crying out to God in prayer for you to be saved from sin. You need to pray to get the mind that was in Jesus, the mind to be willing to suffer in the flesh and endure in the battle to put sin to death. (James 1:12; 1 Peter 4:1-2)
The power of the Holy Spirit to fight sin
Sin lies at the door, and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it! (Genesis 4:7) If you don’t resist in the first moment, it gets a fingerhold, and then it grows and becomes another thought, and another thought. In the end, it becomes a way of thinking. Then it has overcome you, rather than the other way around. Don’t give sin an inch! Resist it until the desire is gone, no matter how long that takes. And then you will be free!
Also read: Are you catching the “little foxes?”
The power of the Holy Spirit from God gives you the energy you need to stand firm in the fight against sin and never give up, no matter how long the temptation continues. (Acts 1:8) To patiently, with endurance, deny the temptations to sin that rise up inside of you without ever giving in. It is a power that only the Holy Spirit can give you. It’s not something you have in yourself; humans are weak, and prone to giving up. That is why you need to humble yourself, acknowledge your own weakness, and come boldly to the throne of grace to find the mercy and grace for help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
The more you overcome in temptation, the more hope you get for the future. God can transform you, change you, make you new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The future becomes exciting, and filled with amazing possibilities, when you know that you are not bound to react according to the sin in your flesh, but that you can walk in the newness of life! (Romans 6:4) Sin has been put to death! We are born with an inclination to many sins that dwell in our flesh, but we do not have to die with them! Grace and peace will be multiplied to you, in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2)
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.