Sometimes I feel attacked like I’m a victim or a hostage in a war within myself. Part of me wants evil and part of me wants what God desires. Then I remember, there is a huge war going on for my soul, for my purity, for my heart that is taking place within myself yet it is so much bigger than myself. Huh, explains why I feel that way.
That seems logical, but do you really ever think about that? There is a war fought within your body for your soul. I don’t mean to talk about spiritual warfare because I’ve found more often than not “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their OWN evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15 NIV).
I would so much rather blame my temptations and shortcomings on demonic spiritual attacks because that keeps me from having to come to grips with own my depravity. If that were the case I could say things like, “The devil is tempting me, I don’t desire those evil things. I’m a pretty good guy.”
But my fleshly desires are evil, and they love what is evil. Time and time again I see Christians try to purify their flesh or tell themselves their flesh doesn’t like evil things. I can tell myself whatever I want, but I still think naked girls are attractive, and sex with multiple partners outside of marriage sounds pretty fun. I’m a terrible guy, right? RIGHT! Exactly right. My flesh is evil. Lying to yourself telling yourself you don’t want to look at porn, or masturbate, or experiment sexually, can only get you so far before the true desires of your flesh come out.
What then? Live by the Spirit! “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16 ESV). That’s way easier said than done. We have to come to grips with our own depravity, admit our sinful desires, and ask God to give us his Spirit of power and love and self-control. We have to live outside of our flesh in the Spirit. We don’t have to rise up to beat temptations of this world, we have to go low and live in abandonment of ourselves to experience the freedom God intends for us.
For a practical example of this, I was watching my Dallas Cowboys lose another football game last Sunday. That’s pretty innocent, right? Just watching football. However, the scantily clad Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleaders took up their fair share of airtime causing my eyes to stumble. I got so mad! I’m just trying to enjoy the game and then BAM! I get sideswiped with lustful thoughts. I went from hoping Romo would come up clutch in the 4th to fantasizing about cheerleaders in about three seconds. Honestly, I was mad at the world, at the cheerleaders, at the TV network, at the devil; I was mad at anything and anyone but myself. But wait? My lustful eyes caused me to sin, not the cheerleaders. My evil desires is why I sinned.
There are so many temptations, and so much pressure to live outside of God’s plan for our lives, especially sexually. There is temptation to experiment, to try everything, to live for the moment. Please do not blame the world for this temptation! We can’t control the world; we can only control ourselves. When you play this pity party like you are a victim of the world and evil forces are constantly at work outside of yourself causing you to lust and fall you will be enslaved to your sin. I don’t mean to be harsh, but your flesh is evil. Live in the freedom of the Spirit!