I once had a horrifying dream about a lion prowling around my neighborhood, crashing through people’s doors and dragging them out into the street. Fun times! Needless to say, I didn’t sleep anymore that night. But it reminded me all too vividly of a verse in the Bible:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Now we’re going to talk about a topic no one likes. Sin. Because Satan doesn’t have the power to devour us unless we let him. And the way we let him is by giving into temptation and allowing sin to ruin us. So is it right to say ‘The Devil made me do it?’ NO!
James 1:13-15 puts it this way:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
So if it isn’t Satan or God causing us to sin, what does?
We learned from Tracy's chat with a weightlifter that God sends trials to produce steadfastness in us. However, when our own desires for control, comfort, safety, recognition meet an opportunity and are not held back, it leads us into sin.
Sometimes I wonder how seemingly godly Christians can sometimes commit heinous sins. But the truth is we are all capable. The reason is our flesh. Instead of taking our thoughts or desires captive and conforming it to God’s will, we entertain those thoughts and let them grow into sin.
So when we let down our guard and allow ungodly desires to be cultivated, we are choosing sin. But, all is not lost.
Galatians talks a lot about the flesh and the Spirit, which are at war within us. I picture the Loony Toons guardian angel and devil on each shoulder. Instead we have our old sinful flesh and our new heart with the Holy Spirit indwelling (Galatians 5:17).
But these are not equal forces. The Spirit within us has a lethal weapon; the Word of God!
This is how Jesus was able to be tempted but didn’t sin in the desert for 40 days. He used Scripture to fight the temptation and kept himself from being lured by His flesh (hunger and exhaustion). He even warned his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane the night of His arrest.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
As my goofball husband says, our greatest enemy is “the unholy trinity of me, myself and I”. It is the old part of us that we won’t be released from until we meet Jesus face to face. But we CAN be increasingly more like Jesus. The key to how is in Romans.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…
Death or peace. We have the choice. The remedy for winning the battle of the flesh is to renew our minds as often as necessary (pray without ceasing??!). Read His word. Meditate on His word. Memorize. Sing it. Write it down. Whatever it takes to overcome sin!