on the Front Lines
followers of Christ, we are instructed to live as He lived: to be holy as He is
Holy. But what does this mean:
“to be holy?” Being a holy
believer is being set apart from the defilement of sin for the service of God:
not allowing our sinful nature or the world’s philosophies and norms to
influence our thoughts, words, and actions, but living according to God’s Word
through the power of His Spirit.
about God’s desire for holiness in His children can produce probing, personal
questions such as: “Am I the only
one who struggles with sin over and over again? Why can’t I live a holy life
24 hours a day, 365 days a year?” Just
as these questions are sparked by His Word, their answers are also found there.
is comforting to know that I am not the only one who has ever experienced this
conflict. The Apostle Paul states
in Romans that he could not do “the good that [he] would,” but did “the
evil” which he did not want to do (Romans
). Paul goes on to say, “I find
then a law that, when I would do good, evil is present with me” (Romans
). Christ emphasized that true
life is available to us through the Spirit not the flesh: “It is the spirit
that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63).
struggle or battle is still present in God’s children.
Paul tells us in Galatians that our “flesh lusteth against the spirit,
and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other:
so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:1).
We are in a battle between the old and the new creation: our old desires
to please ourselves are fighting against our new desires to please our Heavenly
Father. With all the admonitions found in God’s Word that we are to “walk in
the Spirit, and [we] shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh,” why does the
battle to obey occur?
salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and a “new creature” is
born (2 Corinthians
). God’s Word reveals that the
new life within us and the flesh are “contrary” to each other; they have
desires that conflict. On one side
of the battle is our flesh with self-serving, self-gratifying desires.
On the other is the new creation with new, Spirit-given desires to serve
and please our Heavenly Father. Between
these two sides a battle ensues and this battle will not end until we are rid of
our old nature (through physical death or our Lord’s return) (1 Corinthians
15:54-57, 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, 1 Thessalonians 4:17).
in other conflicts, the stronger and better equipped combatant wins. For an
example, let us look at our country’s armed forces.
When our troops are in a conflict, they rely heavily on supply lines to
deliver their provisions. No matter how well they have been trained, if their
provisions are cut off so that no food, water, and ammunition are delivered, the
chances of victory become very small. During
the time our troops are deprived of supplies, defeat is almost assured if the
enemy’s supplies have gone uninterrupted because the enemy is better equipped
for the battle.
does this scenario correlate with our battle within?
The same facts hold true; the better supplied combatant wins.
Therefore, it is important to know which side of our inner battle is
we supplying the new creation within us with the necessary provisions: Bible
study, prayer, and church attendance? Have
we acquired spiritual ammunition through scripture memorization and meditation?
often the fleshly side of our conflict receives supplies more regularly and in
more abundance. Worldly
philosophies and fleshly enticements are prevalent in our favorite
entertainments: TV, radio, movies, books, internet, theater, etc. We are
constantly bombarded with information that is designed to appeal to, and to
arouse a response from, the flesh; however, we may only receive spiritual
provisions at church one to three times a week.
We might spend hours engaged in entertainments, but find it difficult to
have daily Bible study and prayer. Even
believers who have consistent times of study and prayer find that time spent in
this manner is considerably less than time spent in worldly endeavors.
as Christians, however, tend to overlook fleshly provisions if they are placed
in an entertaining setting. I have found myself (and heard others) offering the
following reasons for allowing influences contrary to God’s word into their
homes and lives.
I know my favorite TV show
depicts pre-marital/extra-marital sexual encounters, but I still watch it
because I enjoy the story line and the fornication/adultery is not the main
focus of the series.
There was only one/or a few use(s)
of profanity in that movie, but it had a good message (story line, characters,
I know it’s fiction/not real,
so the philosophies expressed don’t matter.
believe that we desire these types of entertainment because our flesh hungers
for nourishment. The Bible says that it “lusteth” against the spirit; it
cries out for things that are contrary to the Spirit within us. However, when I
contemplate what my Savior thinks of glorified depictions of sin and the
world’s philosophies, I am unsettled. How can I hope to do “the things that
I would” when I continually send provisions to the enemy? “Can a man take
fire into his bosom and not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27)
Can we allow worldly, flesh gratifying stimuli into our lives and not be
let us be sure we are “sending provisions” to the new creation God has born
within us and that we are “setting blockades” in our lives to keep out
provisions for the flesh.
As we strive towards holiness
through reading, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word, we will equip
ourselves to fight the appetites of our flesh.
As we yield to the promptings of
the Holy Spirit, we will have victories over our daily struggles.
And as we claim His promises
, 1 John 3:2), we will remember that this battle will ultimately be won through
God’s grace when we see our Lord and Savior face to face.
are not alone on the front lines of this battle.
Our Heavenly Father is near “unto all those who call upon Him”
(Psalms 145:18). He has given us
the charge (1 Peter
– 16) and He will be faithful in its completion (Philippians 1:6).