The struggle is real and the fight is draining.
Those are my two favorite words used in many scriptures in the Bible. “But God.” It simply means we would be doomed, except God says NO. He makes a way out of our fallen natures, away from our sins, and we CAN conquer our flesh. But people – IT IS WAR! It requires our full attention, our firm resolve, and extreme desperate prayers to God for intervention!
I grew up and spent all my life involved in going to church and church events. I can safely say I probably didn’t have a lot of war between my flesh and my spirt simply because I was so sheltered. This is a nice warm and fuzzy scenario, but in the real world most people are wielding their swords against the plots and schemes of Satan, on a daily basis. I was fortunate, I guess, not to have experienced that. In some ways though, if you don’t experience being in a war you can’t lead an army, and you can’t lead in a battle you have never been prepared for.
Evil is real. We like to think maybe it’s not. We have downplayed the devil and his cohorts. We have underestimated what they hope to do to mankind. Not that they have more power than God – they do NOT. But we should see evil for what it really is, in order to fight against it. Otherwise you could find yourself standing on a battlefield with no armor and no clue how to survive.
What is temptation? Ouch. There is a word that conjures up different images in everyone’s mind. Maybe the question is more like, what is temptation to YOU. We all know what is our downfall. We all know what we battle.
You do understand being tempted is NOT a sin, right?
I really didn’t get that concept. As one who was sheltered, when temptations started hitting me from all angles, I thought I was the worst person on the planet. How could I have thought that? How could I have considered that? Satan would like to believe that his traps set for us, will destroy us in the end. That’s the plan. He tempts us, then shames us for being tempted, then hopes our shame will result in an actual fall from grace, so he can shame us some more and finally, kill us. He kills us from the inside out.
I have learned, or I should say I will be forever learning, that I don’t ever want to be proud. I don’t ever want to think I could not fall or I would not do THAT (we all have THATS that we are convinced we would never do). In my frail humanness and my broken parts, I have come to see that the war between my spirit and my flesh is going to be a journey from the cradle to the grave.
Character is made in the muddy trenches of battle.
When we are called upon to choose which way to walk, or which words to say or not say, or what deed to do or NOT do, every single time we choose well our Spirit man gets stronger and maybe even bigger. I’d like to think my inner Queen is starting to stand up straight and tall, and is ready with her sword to slay the enemy when he sneaks into my courtyard. I like to think I am learning to be my own fierce protector. I like to think I recognize evil when it shows up now. Not always; it can come in disguise – but the stronger my spirit gets the stronger my flesh becomes also. And when they meet up in the heat of the battle, NO enemy is a match for team Jesus! I John 4:4 says, “Greater is He that is in ME than he that is in the world.”
The real secret or key to fighting temptation, and sin, and shame, and all the blah blah blah from satan, is Jesus in us. It really is that simple. Satan shows up at your door? Don’t answer it yourself – send Jesus. It’s kind of as simple as – if you have a problem with donuts, don’t work in a bakery (I love sugar too much. Just sayin’). And be firm in your decision- yes means yes and no means no with nothing in between. Sure, all your ducks still may or may not always line up perfectly (or some may still be lost), but the shame will be lifted off of your battle as you understand the battle is really NOT yours, but the Lord’s.
“I am weak, but He is strong…Jesus Loves me, this I know.”