April 12, 2022
War is a terrible thing. Some of you have experienced the ravages of war firsthand. All of us have witnessed the terror of war through our television screens lately. But realize this; the death and destruction caused by war is not only something that happens between men, but also within man.
Listen to the inspired words of Peter. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11, NASB) Fleshly lusts wage war on the soul! They will wage an all-out assault on your inner being and destroy your soul just as surely as artillery shelling will destroy a city.
What are fleshly lusts? They are sinful passions and desires that arise within us. These lusts, if not dealt with, will lead us into sexual sin, greed, strife, sinful anger, and many other things like these. When we indulge in fleshly lusts, they will do tremendous damage to our souls, and will eventually destroy us spiritually. We need to understand this fact.
Sometimes we entertain fleshly lusts. We invite them into our living rooms, and then into our minds and hearts. Sometimes we think that we can watch things, listen to things, and take part in things without being affected spiritually. This is simply not true. When we allow our lusts to be activated through what we see and hear, a terrible chain of events can begin. As James writes, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15, NASB) Note the pregnancy analogy in this passage. Once lust is conceived, it will give birth to sin, and sin will bring forth spiritual death. How is lust conceived? I believe it is by dwelling on our sinful desires and entertaining them in our hearts.
So, the key for us is to prevent lust from being conceived. How can we do this? As the Spirit said through Peter, we must abstain from fleshly lusts. Do not take part in them! Run from them! Get them out of your mind before conception takes place. And certainly, let us not invite sinful things into our minds that will stir up our lusts! Doing so is like inviting the enemy into your city in wartime. Nothing but death and destruction will come of it. May God help us to abstain from fleshly lusts. As we do, we will find peace and prosperity—not death and destruction—within our souls.
Leave a Comment » | 1 Peter 2:11, desires of the flesh, James 1:14-15, sin, temptaitons, temptation | Tagged: sin, temptation | Permalink
Posted by Scott Colvin
March 20, 2015
When I was in college, I ran for exercise. I was not fast, and I was no competitive runner, but I ran. Anyone who has run for any distance has probably experienced this sensation. You start to hurt, you feel like you can’t go on, and you want to quit. But as you press on, you catch a second wind, and you finish the course that you set out to cover.
The definition of second wind is “a person’s ability to breathe freely during exercise, after having been out of breath.” We then use it metaphorically as “a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort.”1
Christian living is compared to a race, and for most of us that race is a marathon (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Philippians 2:16, Hebrews 12:1-2). We must go the distance and not give up. This athletic imagery is also found in the use of victor’s crown or victor’s wreath. The Greek word is stephanos (from which we get the name Stephen). It is distinguished from the diadem, which is the royal crown. This is the imagery when Paul says:
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8, ESV — See also 1 Cor. 9:25, Jam. 1:12, 1 Pet. 5:4, Rev. 2:10, 3:11.)
Just like my night runs in college, running the Christian race gets difficult. We may feel the need for a second wind as we face difficulties, sorrows, and temptations. Here’s a couple of my favorite “second wind” passages.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV)
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30–31, ESV)
Are you struggling? I believe God is faithful to those who love him — just hold out for a second wind.
1New Oxford American Dictionary
Leave a Comment » | Christian living, Christian race, discouragement, encouragement, endurance, temptaitons | Permalink
Posted by Russell Holden