Bible Ballistics: BBs #367 Winning The Body Battle???
Many of you reading this are thinking, “Oh, great, another magic diet!” Or, “Yeah, this will tell me how to have ‘six-pack-abs’ in 48 hours!” Well, sorry, but the ‘Body Battle’ I want to deal with is the fact that Christians, believers and follower of Jesus Christ The Lord, are in a constant battle with our bodies. We are in a war with the ‘flesh’. Paul wrote on this seldom-mentioned principle, but I think it is imperative for us to consider it today; for we live in a culture transfixed on the “flesh”!
“Know ye not that they which run in a race
but one receiveth the prize?
So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery
is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown;
but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run,
not as uncertainly;
so fight I,
not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body,
and bring it into subjection:
lest that by any means,
when I have preached to others,
I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Paul was determined to “keep under my body, and bring IT into subjection”! It is a constant battle to keep this dying flesh in line, but when we fail to consider its reality, we will be caught off guard by the deceit of the enemy. The lusts of the flesh are ever pulling at our hearts and minds! Why? Because we are still walking around in a body of flesh. It’s what Romans chapter 7 deals with, as Paul helps us understand that we must depend on the Holy Spirit to overcome the desires and demands of our own flesh!
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,)
dwelleth no good thing:
for to will is present with me;
but how to perform that which is good
I find not.
19 For the good that I would
I do not:
but the evil which I would not,
that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not,
it is no more I that do it,
but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good,
evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God
after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members,
warring against the law of my mind,
and bringing me into captivity
to the law of sin
which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am!
who shall deliver me
from the body of this death?” Romans 7:18-24
That’s pretty depressing if you stop there, but Paul answers his own question, “who shall deliver me”, in chapter 8—Praise The Lord Jesus, who provided the deliverance at Calvary!!! We are not hopeless but empowered by The Holy Spirit dwelling within believers. We can overcome the flesh by God’s spiritual power—the Resurrection Power of The Risen Lord Jesus Christ living in us. The Holy Spirit of Jesus/God living and working in us to help us control this “body of this death”. And without going into a lot of detail, Paul is simply assuring us that Jesus provided for our “abundant” overcoming living. How? Let’s continue on.
“There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus,
who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
hath made me free
from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do,
in that it was weak through the flesh,
God sending his own Son
in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh
do mind the things of the flesh;
but they that are after the Spirit
the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death;
but to be spiritually minded
is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh,
but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God
dwell in you.
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,
he is none of his.” Romans 8:1-9
To put it simply, those who are ‘born again’ by the power of the Holy Spirit have the supernatural power of God to overcome the sin that is in our flesh. But we must –we must—continually recognize the weakness and sinful draw of our flesh. We must constantly be diligent to “keep under my body, and bring IT into subjection”! And just because my battle is different than yours, it is still a battle with the flesh! For some of us it’s an obsession with food, or it may be drugs, alcohol, foul language, sex, porn, wanderlust or a loose and unguarded tongue! Whatever the battle is, it is always with our own flesh. I think this is why we are so often prone to throw rocks at others. If I can keep other’s attention on your faults, then maybe, just maybe, they won’t notice mine. But Paul reminds us so clearly that if we don’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, and doing His purifying (cleansing us), and sanctifying (setting us apart from the world) work, then we don’t belong to Jesus—we are “none of his”. What about you/me? Do we sin without compunction? Do we claim the name of Jesus and then continually walk in the flesh without any correcting, convicting work of the Holy Spirit? If so, you might want to check out what you think ‘saved’ you!
Instead, we sons and daughters of God, are called to extend mercy and kindness to others regularly, as we consider our own battles, knowing that the only overcoming victory comes from God, His Word and prayer—not from throwing rocks at others (Praying for them, Yes! Counseling and confronting, when appropriate, yes! But condemning, and gossiping, Never!) Here are a few passages to think on today, as we consider our own weakness and those sins of the flesh that we are battling, and considering the need to encourage others who may need help from us.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” 1 peter 4:8-9
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35
So whatever your struggles are today—you can walk in victory because Jesus has won the battle over the flesh at Calvary. Will you walk in victory with HIM today or succumb to the sin of your flesh? The choice is yours—but remember there is a test at the end.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
But such “WERE some of you”–but now……!!! How about YOU? Are you “washed”, “sanctified”, “justified” in HIM?