Have you ever been to a women’s retreat or heard a Sunday sermon or even a podcast on your way to work that was just what you needed to hear? You knew change was needed in your life and that message helped you see exactly how to make that change. You felt motivated. You could visualize actually being changed and living out that truth in a new way.
Hours later an opportunity comes to actually model that change and BAM! You did the same thing you always have done. Yup. That describes me too.
See we agree with that truth, in theory. We see ourselves obey, in theory. We see the change, in theory. We can see it in our lives, in theory. But when theory meets reality it’s a whole different story isn’t it? As we consider or imagine the new self, we do not see (or feel) the temptations that will litter our path as we go from theory to reality. We don’t feel the inevitable loss of leaving our old self behind.
We seem to forget that we have a very real enemy who will “…steal and kill and destroy.”[i] That unseen forces are aggressively seeking to make sure theory doesn’t become reality. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”[ii] I am not saying our excuse is ‘the devil made me do it’ for a several of reasons:
- Satan no longer has power over us. Let me repeat that: Satan no longer has control or power over us. He CANNOT make us sin but he can severely tempt us to sin. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.[iii]
- Temptation is personal, individual, and targeted. Our flesh patterns are our kryptonite – what tempts one of us may not tempt another for “…each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.[iv]
- We are never without a way out. God ALWAYS empowers us, by His Spirit, to say no to temptation and yes to Him. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.[v] We just need to appropriate that power by faith (no small deed). I say it like it’s simple – we all know it is not.
- God has provided us a very real, very present, very powerful weapon for this warfare. “…though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, …[vi] (underlining mine)
- It starts with the very first thought and what we do with it. The moment we give ourselves permission to consider that which teases our flesh we are heading down a path that, if we continue, will take us to a point of no return. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”[vii]
I need to preach a little message to myself this morning and you get to listen in. I see how lacking transition is in my life to move from changing in theory to changing in reality. I need to acknowledge the hindrances and hurdles, prepare a counter attack based on faith, chose to believe God and trust His sufficiency to pour into my life more than I ever lost by leaving my old self behind.
[i] John 10:10
[ii] Ephesians 6:12
[iii] Romans 6:6
[iv] James 1:14-15
[v] 1 Corinthians 10:13
[vi] 1 Corinthians 10:3-6
[vii] Romans 13:14
Written By Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and provides ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at email@example.com.
Think About This: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” ―
The Daily Bible Reading: Reflection | You can download our 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here.