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  March 2012

   How To Win The Battle Over The Flesh

How is it that people, even ministers, who love God and have walked with Him for years, backslide and do things they never thought they’d do? How does that happen? It’s because they lost the battle over the flesh.

Every single one of us has to deal with the flesh, no matter how long we’ve known the Lord and no matter how spiritual we may be. You may think flesh has to do with just sexual lust. Actually, “flesh” in the New Testament refers to the unregenerate state of man, or the carnal cravings of our natural man that war against the soul. It’s the weaker elements of man.

Paul tells us some of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (sensuality), idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (quarreling), emulations (jealousy), wrath.”

You might as well face it and learn to deal with the fact that as long as you’re alive on the earth, you’re going to battle the flesh. I’ve been a believer for over thirty 35 years, and I still battle the flesh. Now, I don’t struggle with the stuff I used to struggle with, but I constantly have to keep my flesh in check. The good news is that no matter what battles you’ve lost in the past, or what you’re facing right now, you’ve not lost the war. Today is a new day.

Before venturing into HOW to deal with the flesh, let me explain WHY we must be aggressive when it comes to this subject.

Romans 8:13 tells us, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” My friend, if you don’t kill the flesh, the flesh will kill you.

I don’t want to just “make it” to heaven. We make it by the blood. No, I want to enter heaven having been victorious on this earth. So much of our lives is focused upon what’s temporal. It’s all about self – how you can be everything you want to be on this planet and how to get everything you want to get. God looks at all this and says, “No. Remember, you’re a people passing through. This earth is not your home.”

1 Peter 2:9 admonishes us, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.”

Let’s find out from the Word of God how to effectively arm ourselves to win this age-old battle of the flesh.

You can win the battle by committing to watch and pray.  This may come as a shock to you, but the first ten minutes of every day are like hell on earth for me. I am not a morning person by nature, but I made a commitment to get up early each day to spend time with Jesus. Not once in all these years has my body been happy to get out of bed, but rather than give in to my flesh, I get up, make myself a cup of coffee, and then sit still for a few minutes as I wake up. Then I go into prayer. All the while, my flesh is giving me fits. Yet as I press through, the Lord faithfully meets with me, and as a result, I’m spiritually alert and ready for whatever comes my way that day.

Jesus exhorts us, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38).” To watch means to be sober, to stay alert. To pray means to be in continual communion with God. The devil is crafty. He’s waiting to slip into your life when you’re unaware, at a time when you think everything is fine and nothing’s going to happen. That is why you must stay sober and alert, 24/7.

You can win the battle by filling yourself with the Word of God. My friend, if you’re not reading the Word on a daily basis, something’s wrong. You’re on the wrong kind of spiritual fast. You’re giving up spiritual food that is absolutely vital to your spiritual, mental and physical health.

It makes us wise (2 Timothy 3:15)
It helps us grow up (1 Peter 2:2)
It directs our lives (Psalm 119:105)
It keeps us from sinning (Psalm 119:11)
It guarantees our success (Joshua 1:8)
It prepares us for God’s plan for our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

If you talk to any backslider, you’ll find that before he ever backslid, he quit reading the Word. The Word is your ammunition. Don’t go to battle unarmed.

You can win the battle by refusing to participate in ungodly behavior. We are told in Titus 2:11-12 that we should deny ungodliness. That means to refuse to participate in it. You reject it. It’s a decision you must make each and every day.

Do you know what happens when you participate in ungodly behavior? You get the stench and filth of the world on you. Denying ungodliness means you choose not to watch movies that have swearing, nudity and blatant adultery in them. It means you refuse to participate in backbiting and gossip. It means you guard your thought life, don’t cheat on your exam, and remain upright in your business dealings.

You would think it absurd for a sewer worker to come home after a long day at work, take a shower, and put back on the same smelly, filthy clothes. Yet a Christian who does not deny ungodliness is virtually doing the same thing. Beloved, the blood of Jesus has washed you. Now don’t keep putting on the filth of the world!

You can win the battle by recognizing and fleeing temptation. To flee in the original Greek means to run or to escape to the point of vanishing. That means you’re gone. You’ve run so far from the temptation that you can’t even see it any more. This truth is so simple, yet so profound! It’s also the area where so many stumble. When faced with temptation, many run a little – but not far enough – away from temptation.

You must cut sin off at the root. If you’re weak in certain areas, don’t keep surrounding yourself with the opportunity to stumble. Avoid. Flee. Disappear. There’s no wisdom in entertaining the thing sent to destroy you. Escape that temptation to the point of vanishing!

Friend, no matter what battles you may face, the Lord has already given you the tools you need to overcome. As you heed the Word and stay filled with the Holy Spirit, you will win the battle over the flesh every single time, and live a life of honor before the Lord and man.




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