Warning: This is not an extremely organized post. This would be known as... a story which turned into a Bible study which turned into a rant which turned into a blog post which turned into an article which... you get the picture. :D Nevertheless, I hope God uses it to bless you, since He already used it to bless me.
Not too long ago, I was thinking about the sins of my cousins (the five older than I on my mom's side have at least one child... and none are married. :P) and how glad I was that I haven't gone down that path. And then I realized that I really haven't been in a situation where it was actually an issue...
And I thought, well, I won't ever do that. At the very least my pride will keep me from it.
And then: thankfully!-- Not a second later, I realized--with horror--what I had just thought and the evilness of that kind of thinking.
For one thing, "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18).
Secondly, as C.S.Lewis brings out in Mere Christianity, Satan is perfectly fine-- in fact glad!-- if he can get us to be good out of pride. Eek!
Through this little thought battle thingie, by the grace of God, I realized once again that it's only by the grace of God that we can withstand the flesh and it's passions, and that should we think we "won" the battle by "using" our pride, we have actually lost the greater battle.
"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for:
“ God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 5:5-11)
So... how exactly do we resist the flesh?
"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." (Galatians 5:16-26)
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints..." (Ephesians 5:10-18)
We must keep ourselves immersed in the things of God, and we must constantly cry out to Him for help in our trials and temptations.
"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15-16
I love those verses!! :D
This earthly life is so short. We aren't guaranteed another breath-- much less another day! We don't have time to mess around with sin! And after all God has done for us, how can we do anything less than give everything we have for Him? How can we not serve and love and give as hard as we can for His sake? He died for us! And who are we? We are minuscule, rebellious creations of His. But yet He loves us. How can you not love this God? How can we continue on in sin, in laziness, in our "good church stuff"?? No!! We cannot. We must love and fight and serve with everything we've got, where we are right now. Yes, that means your siblings. Yes, that means your chores. To me, one of the most thrilling aspects of being a Christian is that NOTHING is insignificant!! I can be washing dishes for God's glory! I can be changing diapers for God's glory! :D I know, it's odd to be thrilled about that... but if you think about it long enough, it's actually very exciting. That fact eradicates the word "mundane" from our lives!
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
And what does that mean? Well, tell God. "I'm doing this for You." And mean it! Also do it as well as you possibly can--thus representing Him well.
If we are faithful now, in these little things...
"And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities." (Luke 19:17-18)
... we will be given much more, and our reward will be great.
Therefore, my fellow soldiers, Let us "press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus[!]"