Antidotes To Fleshly Lusts
It is not news that even after coming to Christ, we are all faced with temptations that we really struggle with. The former wrong stuff that we used to do, did not leave immediately without a trace. We still make some mistakes.
Then in order to present a good face to many in the church, many of us then try to work on ourselves, focusing on how to stop those acts and putting in place drastic measures to help prevent those deeds from ever surfacing. However, after some time, these suppressed lusts explode in our faces. We then fail time after time and this causes most of us to give up and abandon the faith with claims that we are not worthy to be a part of the church because we still sin. The condemnation of many in the church are not helping either.
It is rather refreshing to know that God understands; this is shown in the Book of Hebrews:
“…Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b).
The Word of God agrees that there is a particular sin that so easily ensnares each and every believer. This sin is the one that mostly troubles you. For some it is the lies; and for others it is sexual immorality. This particular ensnaring sin can be anything; but everyone has it. You are not alone. Here is what the Bible says about it:
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
There is no need hiding this aspect of yourself. God knows about this ensnaring sin(s) and yet He understands. You don’t need to deal with it alone; the Word of God provides the best antidote for your dilemma.
Hebrews 12:1 advices not fight but to lay aside that sin that so easily ensnares you. How are you to accomplish that? The answer lies in the next verse; “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2). You lay aside this ensnaring sin by looking unto Jesus. How do we do that too? It is not like we can find Jesus physically anywhere around. How do we look to Him?
1. Acknowledging Him As Your Advocate.
The Bible reveals Jesus as the advocate for all who sin. It says here in the epistle of 1 John:
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2).
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines an advocate to be one who argues for the cause of another in a court of law. That is what He does for you if you sin. He paid the price for you, and your righteousness is in Him. So he comes up and pronounces you righteous since he had already paid the penalty for you. You are advised not to sin nonetheless, but if you happen to make that mistake, He won’t desert you. He will stand by you as your advocate.
With this in mind, a huge chunk of burden is taken off your shoulders to begin the next step in taking care of those ensnaring lusts.
2. Consider Yourself Dead to Sin
Paul, the apostle, states in Romans 11-12;
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”
The only way that you can oppose the reign of sin is to reckon yourself to be dead to it and alive to God in Christ Jesus. The word “reckon” was translated from the original Greek as logizomai which means to consider, estimate or to think. This doesn’t mean that sin doesn’t exist in or around you. It simply means that you choose to ignore it. It may not be dead to you but you have decided to be dead to it. Once the old self of sin is dead to you, there is no need of minding it again. If you happen to falter and make a mistake, just don’t give it the pleasure of depressing you. You have an advocate. Just go to Him, tell him everything and receive your forgiveness. He knows when you are truly sorry in heart. Then focus on your new self which is alive to God, which happens to be the next step.
3. Keep Focus on The Things of The Spirit
The solution starts from the Book of Galatians that states:
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, NKJV)
From this passage, you are advised to walk in the Spirit in order not to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Things of the flesh are the bad stuff your body loves to do. Some of them are listed here in Galatians 5:18-21. These things are directly in opposite to what God expects of you.
Instead of fighting the flesh, you are admonished to ignore it, and rather focus on walking in the Spirit. How do you walk in the Spirit? The Book of Romans presents this solution to us:
“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, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5).
When a believer focuses on the things of the flesh, he/she lives according to the flesh. This means the more you focus on preventing these deeds, the more you fail; because the flesh prevails as long as you focus on it. The antidote is to have your mind set on the things of the Spirit. This causes you to live according to the Spirit.
Living According To The Spirit
The antidote to the desires of the flesh is to look to Jesus as your advocate, consider sin as dead to you and focus your mind on the things of the Spirit. These can be accomplished by focusing on the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When you have an issue with envy or fornication; lay them aside, consider yourselves dead to them and rather focus on developing the love of God shed abroad in your heart. Focus on your purpose in Him. The Book of Philippians helps us out on what kind of things to focus on.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
When you stick with these steps, you allow God to work graciously in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.