In Part 1, we talked about the most important factor involved in our quest for purity as men – giving up. Stop trying to make it happen in our own strength and becoming desperate for His. In John 15:5, Jesus plainly reminds us “we can do nothing” on our own. We need His strength, wisdom, courage and grace to ever have a chance at living in victory morally.
It is hard work to let go, trust Him, and walk in obedience to what He is saying to you every day. Much like an alcoholic’s journey to stay sober, or an overweight person trying to lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off – we have to adopt a new lifestyle paradigm. We have to walk in that paradigm, and face the temptations of life, every single day. There is no day off, or any “fudge day” when we can let our guard down and indulge “just a little” as a reward for our good progress.
Jesus walked in daily obedience to His Father. He told his disciples to “deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Him” (Matthew 16:24). He tells us the same thing. We must choose to “deny our self-pleasing tendencies”, “take up our cross (life of surrender/death to our sinful tendencies) every day and then choose to “follow him”. Day in and day out, every day from here on out, that is hard work. Without His strength and grace to energize and motivate us – we are toast.
But notice in this passage that we also have a role to play, and no one can play it for us. We are the only ones who can “deny ourselves”, “take up” and “follow”. God will empower us if we ask Him to, but He won’t do it for us. This is a daily work that only you and I can do. Another powerful passage relating to our topic is – Galatians 5:16
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. This powerful promise from God is contingent upon us making a daily, continual choice to walk (put one foot in front of the other) by the Spirit’s power and direction.
Living a life of moral purity is a journey that is broken down into days. Each of those days is broken down into moment-by-moment choices that we make. We have all the power, resources and help we could ever need available to us in Christ – but the choosing to walk in that power is up to us. It is not a one time prayer; it is a lifestyle choice. The alcoholic chooses not only to not take a drink, he must choose not to go to the bar, or have any access to alcohol at home, or go out for drinks with colleagues/friends, or listen to that voice in his head that “he has worked hard and deserves a drink or two”. He lives in a continual state of battle, and he must continually “deny himself, take up his cross and follow” if he is to overcome.
We, too, must make choices every morning, and throughout each day, that we will surrender and follow. We must do the hard work of following Someone else’s lead. We have to decide to “walk by the Spirit”. God promises that if we do – we WILL NOT carry out the desires of our flesh. That is pretty black and white. That is the hope, the answer, the freedom that we seek. Start today. Make it through …today. Then repeat tomorrow.
By the Spirit,