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Feeding the flesh?
- Jacob Ninan
Jesus died a painful death on the cross for us, not just to pay the penalty for our sins (Col.1:20), but also that we might become dead to sin (Ro.6:6;Ga.6:14). When we were sinners without Christ we had no real qualms about sin, except that others shouldn't catch us! A few of us who were troubled by our conscience or taught by some others would have made attempts to overcome sin, but without much avail. But when God gave us a new heart (Ez.36:26), one thing was that we began to want to stop sinning altogether. (If this has not happened, the chances are that we aren't born again yet. 1Jn.3:9). But even then we find that stopping from sin is not easy. This is because our flesh is still there through which we feel sinful desires (Ga.5:17). Satan and his demons are out there working against us, trying to fool us into sin (1Pe.5:8). The world around us attracts us with enticing offers (1Jn.2:16). Caught in the middle we are overcome many times, even though we wish we weren't.
Sometimes we wonder why we aren't really victorious over sin even though God is with us, we are His children and His power is available to us. Of course God's provision of grace is meant to ensure that sin is not able to rule over us (Ro.6:14). It is certainly not due to any fault on His side if we haven't yet come to enjoy this blessing of His grace which He has prepared for us through Jesus' death. There could be several reasons on our side why victory eludes us.
1. We may have neglected this possibility with regards to our salvation. We may have assumed that because 'we are human' we are going to fall, not believing that Jesus wants to give us victory and that He is able to keep us from falling (Jude.24). As a result we may not have sought for it seriously.
2. We may have tried for victory in our own strength, failed, and then given up. Instead of seeking God for grace to help (He.4:15,16), we may have struggled and found our strength or resolve to be insufficient.
3. We may not have sought to understand why we were failing and how God wants to help us. Some of us have assumed if we 'just believed' it would be all right, and others have thought that prayer was the key, and not realised that there was more than one aspect to victory.
4. We may not have realised that falling is a part of the learning process, and that we should not give up till we reach the goal.
5. We may have been 'feeding our flesh' now and then! The reason for denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily (Lk.9:23) is to put our flesh to death and put off the old self (Ro.8:13;Ep.4:22). Our flesh is to die of starvation, when we prevent it from carrying out its desires. But it gets revived if we indulge ourselves once in a while, think that we mustn't be so hard on ourselves and give in. Satan tells us that a little 'picnic' into his territory won't do us any harm but will give us great fun and relief from pressure.
We will get victory little by little. But let us not neglect or miss it.