OVERCOMING THE FLESH
Living the Christian life could be challenging at times. We go through those moments where our flesh literally wages war against our spirit and we find ourselves struggling with our sinful desires. Like Paul said in Romans 7 we desire to do what is right but we find ourselves doing the wrong we do not want to do. Moments when reading your bible or praying feels like the most boring activity to do, or when your friend stops by and you want to get all “the juice” or you find yourself on that TV channel you know you probably shouldn’t be watching.
Aaaaah, I have those moment when the Pastor Olayinka you know struggled to mutter some words of prayer.
If you don’t know, those days I can go without reading the bible throughout the week yet am a worker in the church as you as. Yes the struggle is real brother/sister! I know. Because have been there but glory to God we are where we are now by His grace.
The good news is through Jesus Christ we can overcome our sinful nature and live according to the Spirit. But you have got to consciously put in the effort and live according to the desires of the Spirit and not the flesh; like Paul said in Romans 12:2 renew your mind and do not conform to the pattern of the world. Not conforming to the pattern of the world is consciously making the choice and effort not to do certain things the world considers alright and letting the word of God guide you in everything you do instead.
The fight against the flesh is a daily struggle and so we have to stay prepared and wage war against it. Many times I declare a fast and vigil without a concrete reason to do that, but I did it just because I felt am too relaxed (eating everyday and sleeping all night) which in turn can make me yield to the flesh.
Most times it might be some phrases from my mouth that will alert me, something is wrong. Sometimes it can be tolerating what I don’t tolerate before. I tell myself openly, Yinka, you need to go back to where you have missed it.
Here are 5 ways that could help you overcome the flesh and stay alive in the spirit;
- Bring your thoughts under control: It is said that every battle is won or lost in the mind. Well this applies too to the battle against the flesh. Let the Spirit govern your thoughts. Before you dwell too much on any thought, ask yourself if that is going to lead you to sin. If it is, dismiss it before it goes beyond being a simple thought to becoming a sinful act. Philippians 4:8 “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
- Don’t miss a day, meditate on the word of God every single day: Reading the word everyday gives you a daily reminder of the standards by which you should live by. It refreshes your mind and Spirit and keeps you focused. Life could get really busy and hectic at times and we could neglect studying the bible. You don’t have to read very long portions of the bible at a time; meditating on a few verses a day is alright. Just create the time and be committed to it. Just don’t skip a day! Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you maybe careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
- Make Prayer a Habit: (you can read the article I prayed in church but I can’t pray alone) Let prayer be a habit. Fall in love with prayer! Pray at every moment, at any place and at all times! Practice saying quick prayers in your mind or out loud when faced with a temptation; ask the Holy Spirit for help. Remember the battle against the flesh is not a physical battle; it is a spiritual battle so you have got to use the right weapons to fight. Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms”
- Don’t overestimate yourself: Better safe than sorry oooo. Like My good brother will say “nobody be commando”. You might think you would not give into any temptation because you are strong and have overcome the flesh through Jesus – which indeed you have – but as long as you live in the corruptible body, you are prone to the sinful desires of the flesh. So it’s better to avoid anything that will lead you into sin. Watch what you look at, the places you go to, the people you hang out with or anything that will bring temptation your way. Play safe sister/brother! Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night..
- Be Accountable to Somebody: You could find someone or a small group of people who are strong in the faith and are committed to spiritual growth to be accountable to. Make sure these people are able to hold you accountable. Creating accountability for yourself makes you more careful not to sin and keeps you alert. God uses others to rebuke and discipline you when you are wrong because he loves you. Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Keep on fighting the good fight brother/sister! Keep the faith and run the race faithfully till the end. So that on that day the Lord, the righteous judge will award you the crown of righteousness He has in store for you.
Lastly, i strongly believe most of us reading this know about some point alighted above but the problem is in the application. Brother, you can’t overcome the flesh until you are determined to do so by your total compliance to the word of God.
Thanks for reading this long; we believe this write up is helpful. Please feel free to comment below and share this write up to your friends and family. It can save a brother/sister.
©Oladimeji Olayinka Joseph