Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Is your life about you or about the God in you?
In this world, “Just do it” “Make your own way” “Do your own thing” “It’s about me” are the catch phrases for life. This way of thinking is a breeding ground for feeding your flesh. What you have to understand is, if you spend all of your time feeding your flesh then you won’t live righteously. You won’t make godly decisions and God will not be able to get the glory He desires to get out of your life. Another part of the training, as you fight this war is learning to deny your flesh. Paul describes the conflict in Romas 7:
Romans 7:21-24 Through my experience of this principle, I discover that even when I want to do good, evil is ready to sabotage me. 22 Truly, deep within my true identity, I love to do what pleases God. 23 But I discern another power operating in my humanity, waging a war against the moral principles of my conscience and bringing me into captivity as a prisoner to the “law” of sin—this unwelcome intruder in my humanity. 24 What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death? (The Passion Translation)
This war is always raging. Choosing God over yourself is not always easy. What are some of those fleshly desires (in case you were wondering): irritated and rash responses; no respect for other people’s feelings; rudeness and impatience; always wanting your way; inability to listen to someone else’s opinion; avoiding responsibility, but taking all the credit; flying off the handle, etc. There are plenty more, but you get the picture. But there are other fleshly desires that are not by nature negative and not driven by your desire to give in to worldly pleasures. They can be deeply emotional things, like not wanting to make the self-sacrifice to be used by God in a difficult relationship, wanting to raise your children instead of work, not wanting a loved one to be sick or die, etc. Paul also gives us “the way” of escape:
Romans 7:25 I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles. (The Passion Translation)
What do you have to do so your mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles? You have to fast more. It is the best way to crucify your flesh, and it is necessary. Fleshly responses don’t give God any glory! Whether your desires or worldly or from the heart, neither give God glory if they are not His will. Your whole purpose in life is to glorify God by what you do. Live to fulfill your first purpose.
Ephesians 2:10 We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! (The Passion Translation)
Please agree with me as I pray:
Father, I thank You for showing me my true purpose and teaching me how to deny my flesh. You continually show me the danger in accepting the world’s way of doing things. You also show me the danger in emotional wants that are not fulfilled and the bitterness that can set in. You have shown me though I may treat others poorly because I am bitter; it is You I am angry at because You did not do what I wanted. You are guiding me so I will live a fasting life. If I do, I will give You glory. Please continue to draw me, examine me and show me the condition of my heart. Help me seek You more and spend more time with You. Father, I desire for You to continue to wash over me with Your presence and with Your spirit. When I am in Your presence, I am strengthened in my inner man. When I try to go it alone, I am pulled away by my own lusts, desires, and the traps of my flesh. I know the war between my spirit and my flesh is continuous, and I need Your victory every day. To walk in victory I know I must crucify my flesh. I will fast, pray, consecrate myself and do these things as often as You lead me. Father God, I want to be a vessel that is meat for You use. I thank You…