The Christian’s Internal War
Galatians 5:17 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. (NKJV)
General Douglas MacArthur said and I quote, “In war there is no substitution for Victory.” Every true redeemed child of the King currently is in an internal war between the old nature received at physical birth and the new nature received when born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must choose which nature will prevail victoriously in our every day life. The flesh that Paul hereto refers is not our bodies but it is our corrupt nature. However, I believe that Paul speaking of the spirit is really talking about our dead spirits made alive to God the Father by the new birth.
When you read the Book of Joshua, you see many battles between the Israelites and the pagans still occupying some of the land. God the Father gave His people mighty victories but sin caused some defeats as well. The Book of Joshua pictures the walk of every person who has truly been born again. Every believer through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit must conquer attitudes, propensities, and habits. We must not grieve Him, yet we often times do and in so doing we bring swift destruction upon ourselves in our daily warfare.
Romans 8:6-7 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot. (Quick Amplified Bible)
Here we have the greatest of conflicts in all the History of man. The Holy Spirit of God is moment by moment every single day inclining or influencing us to do what His Word declares, but our old fallen nature is at the same time moment by moment every day with the influence from the devil to have us go back to our old unregenerate life.
The nature we feed the most will be the one that influences our actions out of the body the most. It will grow, grow, and become the stronger of the two subduing the other. However, we know that the influence of God the Holy Spirit upon the heart will prevail in every believer who walks closely to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is partly how we are conformed or molded daily into Christ image along with trials and sufferings.
This is a quote from Dr. John Gill (1690-1771) “There is in regenerate men a propensity and inclination to sin, a carnal I, that wills and desires sin, and wishes for an opportunity to do it, which when it offers, the flesh strongly solicits to it; but the Spirit, or the internal principle of grace, opposes the motion; and like another Joseph says, how can I commit this great wickedness and sin against a God of so much love and grace? It is a voice behind and even in a believer, which, when he is tempted to turn to the right hand or the left, says, this is the way, walk in it, and will not suffer him to go into crooked paths with the workers of iniquity; and so sin cannot have the dominion over him, because he is under grace as a reigning principle; and the old man cannot do the evil things he would, being under the restraints of mighty grace. This is the apostle's principal sense, and best suits with his reasoning in the context; but inasmuch as the lusting and opposition of these two principles are mutual and reciprocal, the other sense may also be taken in; as that oftentimes, by reason of the prevalence of corrupt nature, and power of indwelling sin, a regenerate man does the evil he would not, and cannot do the good he would; for he would always do good and nothing else, and even as the angels do it in heaven; but he cannot, because of this opposite principle, the flesh.”
I was spending time in the Word allowing my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus to speak to me, and He showed me in Chapter 23 of the Book of Exodus His Heart for His people Israel. He wanted so much to bless them, heal them, honor them, but He wanted them to understand His hatred for sin and all evil. He counseled them and warned them of the consequences if they would not heed His voice but go along with what they observed in the lives of the pagan people all around them.
It was His desire that Israel be different from these people and in so doing show them the goodness, mercy, and might of their God Yahweh. Because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever, He wants the same from us today. His burning desire and His will is to see us daily walk in conquering Victory over sin and our old nature through His grace and power. In so doing we will be able to live blameless lives before those still snared or trapped by sin, darkness, and the devil. We will truly be the light of the world before them showing them that in Jesus Christ and in Him only there is deliverance, victory, and freedom.
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) said these very penetrating words, “The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God Who will make him holy. Never tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means un-sullied walking with the feet, un sullied talking with the tongue, and un sullied thinking with the mind - every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God. Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.”
Beloved we are not here to make nice with this world or the earth where we currently reside, but we are here to daily crucify our flesh and allow God the Holy Spirit to conform us into every aspect of Christ image. The loving Christ, the compassionate Christ, and the angry Christ.
One day I stopped at the post office on my bike and this well meaning older lady said to me “Wow that is a great way to go green”, I said, “Dear lady thank you but this is not why I’m on my bike.” I said, “As much as I love the people who want to preserve this earth, I have to tell you that the Bible states clearly that this earth will be destroyed by fire upon Jesus Christ second coming.”
We are not here beloved to preserve this planet or to preserve our lives down here by building our own little kingdoms here, but we must mortify (put to death) our flesh every day as Christ is going to destroy this earth and create a new one. Beloved if you are a new creature in Jesus Christ then live like it daily. Let people say of you that this man or woman does not consider the lust of this world of any allure to them. Stay in daily meditation upon the Word of God and feed the new nature through God’s Word and you will see how big and strong God will grow you spiritually and we will be able to say this and mean it “Sin no longer has dominion over me.”
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author, Silent Assassins of the Soul (not yet published; coming soon as the Lord wills)
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