The excuse of ‘I’m human’, is one that definitely gets overused in our society of believers.
Many of us use it to justify our actions when we’ve fallen short, or sometimes to actually convince ourselves that we can go ahead with doing something that we know isn’t right.
But here’s the thing, if only we would cultivate and nurture a good standard of self-control and self-discipline, as the bible instructs (Titus 1:8, Galatians 5:22-23), we would find ourselves resorting to this statement less and less…
I aim to challenge you with a few things today, in the hope of you developing a renewed conviction about some of the things you’ve allowed yourself to slack with…
You see, the bible teaches us to flee from sin, (1 Timothy 6:3-11), yet so many of us walk side by side with it.
Where we’re mingling and mixing with the things that lead us astray, some of us will find that rather than becoming more spiritually inclined, we’re becoming more accustomed to the ways of the world, and in fact becoming more comfortable with engaging in practices/activities/habits that we ought to really detest as children of God!
That’s why this message today reminds and instructs you to always
Submit your flesh to the Spirit of God in you!
It is an absolute MUST to do this.
“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?
Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?
For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”
When we make the decision to accept Christ and walk with Him, one of the first things we establish is that our old self has died, and our new being is alive in Christ, as the above scripture says. We are then encouraged to walk in the light of Christ, and to actively rid ourselves of all the worldly things we used to do when we didn’t know Him, in order to fully pursue this new life and new glory with Him.
But friend, these days your lines are blurred.
You’re speaking Jesus but you aren’t living Him.
You’re portraying Jesus but your heart isn’t really here for Him, fully…
So what’s changed?
Why does it seem like you’re caring less and less about the implications of your decisions?
Why does it seem like you’ve lowered your standard of how much you want to obey God?
Why does it seem like you’ve lost focus?
You see, the word of God is intentional, and therefore every word is for a reason, so when it says to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), it’s because being a follower of Christ is not at all a passive decision, but rather an active, alive and vibrant choice to walk in His way. This means therefore that if we don’t culture, grow, nurture, and pay attention to our spirit, then indeed we will so easily become entangled in sin (as Hebrews 12:1 puts it).
So for many of us, over time, our lax attitude towards our journey with Christ has allowed the old self to creep back into our environments and slowly infiltrate our minds and therefore our behaviours, beliefs, and attitudes.
What this means is that we’ve become more ‘okay’ with lying, theft, sexual immorality, drunkenness, idolatry, selfishness and all the other things that we were initially so eager to put behind us when we first got saved.
For some of us, we get tired.
Our enthusiasm runs out.
Our interest and ability to be ‘bothered’ with the things of God, and honouring God, decreases, and so we find ourselves drifting further and further away from the will of God and His purpose for us.
In some cases, what’s surprising is that actually some of us are still able to look ‘Jesus-good’ externally, but deep down in our hearts, we couldn’t be any further away from true worship and surrenderance to the heart and will of God.
If I’m talking to you, and this message is for you in any way, and you’re ready to be real, I’m saying let’s go back to basics…
Yes, I’m calling you out, and I’m hopefully making you uncomfortable with where you are in your walk with Christ right now, but understand that I’m not judging you – instead, I’m simply saying don’t spend another second compromising your faith or relationship with God! Rather, let’s return to that very fundamental aspect of giving our lives to Christ, and turning our lives around;
“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.”
You are not a slave to sin.
Sin is no longer your master.
Sin no longer controls you.
Sin no longer has a hold or any power over you…
I’m emphasising this point, because the weakening of sin’s power, by our death and resurrection in Christ Jesus, is such a key element to remember from today’s message.
When we stray away from the will of God, we often forget this truth because we are so immersed in the ways of the world.
Therefore sin begins to look convenient. And in this slippery area of dabbling, the devil capitalises on our state of mind and tries to trick us into believing that sin holds us ransom again as it once did, that it’s too hard to let go of the wrong habits, and that sin has defeated us…
But these are all LIES!
You are no longer a slave to sin. (I had to say it one more time!)
And you must rise with this strength daily, in order to conquer every wayward desire of the flesh.
You must understand from this truth, that the Spirit of Christ Jesus, who conquered death and destroyed all power of sin – that Spirit in You, is greater and more powerful than your flesh.
Your Spirit has authority over your flesh!
Therefore you ought to train your flesh to pipe down.
You ought to tell your flesh ‘not today, not ever, you’re not getting your way’.
You ought to submit your flesh to the will of God daily; your thoughts, words and actions – and begin to build up a resilience against any desire to engage in sinful natures (1 Peter 4:1-2).
I’ll finish by sharing something Paul said in the bible;
“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
[1 Corinthians 9:27]
Another translation says;
“No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (NIV)
Let us develop the understanding that we too have the authority, the courage, the power and the tools of the spirit, to discipline ourselves, discipline our bodies, and discipline our flesh, in order to ensure that we do what we are meant to be doing, and that we run our race with purpose and perseverance to win!
Further Scriptures to read and pray with daily:
Overcoming tiredness – Galatians 6:7-9
Overcoming sin – Romans 6:11-14, Titus 2:12, Ephesians 4:22-23, Romans 12:1-2
Growing in the Spirit – John 3:30 (a crucial daily declaration)
Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you