I am excited about this post for this very cool reason:
I started out my study time with the intention of digging into Romans 11:22, which I still plan to do. But, when I was praying before my study I was praying that God would forgive the wicked sexual thoughts I had last night. As I prayed I was asking God for discernment as to whether this was a spiritual attack or just more of the same from the wickedness that lies deep in me. I don’t want to blame demonic influence, but I don’t want to be ignorant to its reality either. The reason I had this confusion is because the coincidence is too much to go unnoticed. It seems like the two-month mark of “doing good” in my fight against the flesh is met by a fall. In addition, a “spiritual high” seems to have a spiritual collapse on its heels. Yesterday was a good day of ministry; fruitful posts on social media that resulted in some Truth sharing, etc. Then last night something triggered a stroll down the wrong road in my mind.
As I prayed for cleansing, I began to thank God that these wicked thoughts “died on the vine” so to speak. As I prayed this I started to think of the progression of sin:
1) We know it comes from the wickedness that is on our heart
2) Then it goes to the mind where we play with it
3) When we play with it long enough in our mind, it becomes reality, we obsess about it until the desire of the flesh has been satisfied
4) Then once satisfied, the shame immediately follows
The mind is the battle ground. Our mind, our flesh is at war against the Spirit and will remain at war until glory. There is nothing we can do to uproot the flesh, but we can charge in to the battle of our mind equipped, and prepared to fight for our soul. The mind is where sin must be put to death, the mind is where we must “put to death the deeds of the body”! When I say “I was thankful it died on the vine” I am saying that the fruit of wickedness has hanging on a vine in my mind waiting for my flesh to become so obsessed that I had to have a taste. But instead, by God’s Grace, I was reminded how that story ends, I was reminded that I am not a debtor to the flesh, I owe it NOTHING!
It seems that the more wickedness you have in your past, the more the fruit of wickedness appears on the vine of your mind. Of course, I wish this fruit never appeared at all, but as long as it continues, I must show allegiance to my King and battle.
We all must fight one battle at a time, after all, Christ has already won the war, He has defeated sin and death; and is Lord and Savior of all who repent and believe the Gospel. Make no mistake, if your view of the severity of sin has not changed, if your war against sin is not steadfast, there is no peace, there is no assurance of salvation – the Christian life is not a life of auto-pilot – you must be a fighter pilot!
There will certainly be those that would read this and think, “hey, that’s works righteousness, this isn’t Grace.” Answer: We are saved by Grace, not of works, yet, when saved, we are given all things that pertain to life and Godliness. If living “right”, living righteously, if living holy is optional, why would the Scriptures say, “be holy, as I am holy”? Christ sets us free, He sets us free from our bondage to sin so we can now be slaves of righteousness. Before we are set free we have no ability to live righteously, but now we have been given the Holy Spirit who gives the desire and ability to live for your King. So the question is, where’s your allegiance, where does the evidence point? As 1John 3 says, by this it is evident, who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil.
Romans 8:5-13 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 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.
1John 3:7-10 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Romans 2:6-8 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
1Peter 1:15-16 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."