The War Within (Part 2 of 2)
The War Within (Part 2 of 2)
Last week we covered the basics of the battle that rages within every Christian – the battle between our spirit and our flesh. This week we take a deeper look into the three major battles we face and the God given strategy for victory over our fleshly desires.
- 1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Verse 16 clearly identifies the three primary battles we face. Our Spirit is constantly battling against our flesh to avoid:
The Lust of the Flesh – I Need
- We all battle with the sense of need brought about by our flesh – whether it be food, drink, clothing, peace, comfort, etc. In and of themselves, these are not bad. It is our warped sense of what constitutes a need and how we go to extremes to satisfy them (gluttony, drugs, anything we use to dull our senses or escape from reality).
- Scripture is clear, seek God first, and all your needs will be met.
- Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The Lust of the Eyes – I Want
- We all battle to some degree with desiring something different, better or more than what we have. We look with longing eyes upon the possessions, relationships and/or status of others. Then we start to feel like we deserve what they have.
- True satisfaction comes from a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. God has commanded us to be satisfied with what He has given us (not to lust over what others have).
- Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
The Pride of Life – I Am
- Look at me! See what I did!! I am so ________!!! You fill in the blank with whatever makes you feel better about yourself – holy, smart, strong, beautiful, wise, righteous, forgiving, humble …
- Pride got Satan (see Isaiah 14:13-15). Pride will get you!!
- Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
- 1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
For more on how the works of the flesh are revealed in a life, see Galatians 5:19-21.
So which is stronger? The Spirit of God that lives in you? Or the flesh that struggles with sinful desires?
Make no mistake; the Spirit of God is infinitely stronger than the weakness of our flesh!
Then why do so many Christians struggle so mightily with fleshly desires? Simply put, whichever part of yourself you feed the most will dominate your life!
- Feed your flesh more, and your unredeemed flesh will dominate your life.
- Feed your spirit more, and your Godly spirit will dominate your life.
How do we win this war between our Spirit and our flesh?
- Romans 8:5-6 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
How do we feed our Spirit (Walk in the Spirit)? We read our Bible, pray, love God, love others, serve, go to church, fellowship with other Christians …
How do we feed our flesh (fulfil the lust of the flesh)? We are consumed with gluttony, lust, lying, cheating, gossip, envy, covetousness, adultery, hate, intimate friendships/fellowship those living an ungodly life …
We get victory by focusing our time, attention and efforts on the things of God. See Galatians 5:22-23 for a description of how the fruit of the spirit is revealed in the life of a Christian.
I stated above that the Spirit of God is infinitely stronger than the weakness of our flesh. Which leads to the question, why don’t all Christians experience victory over the lust of the flesh. The answer, spiritual immaturity.
Spiritual immaturity has many causes. A few examples are: recently converted and just haven’t had time to grow; not willing to put in the time and effort to learn about God; not willing to break away from ungodly habits, commitments, friendships, etc.; a rebellious or disobedient attitude; and on and on and on.
Never forget – any victory we have over our flesh is a testimony to God’s love, grace, mercy and the power of His Spirit dwelling in us. To think or feel otherwise is pride.
- Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.