PART 7 TESTIMONY
How Do We Cultivate the Spiritual Grace Called Temperance So That We Will Become an Overcomer in the Area of Eros Sexual Desires?
In order to develop mastery over our sexual desires the following divine prescriptions are available for you to cultivate. Are you ready to find out what these are and apply them to your spiritual life?
Changing thoughts about myself
You need to start thinking about yourself as God sees you, and as you really are as a son or daughter of Him. Below are some of the verses you should memorize and speak out loud to yourself when you wake up in the morning. I have presented each verse as it appears in the King James Version of the Bible and the same verse again albeit with some additional meaning from the Koine Greek that might provide a more down to earth understanding of it. My advice is for you to memorize the main verse and pray to God the Father for guidance in the name of the Son and by means of the Spirit in appropriating whatever else will help you in cultivating the spiritual quality of temperance.
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man (the person who we are now in Christ), which is renewed (a new character in course of formation) in knowledge (to know oneself in the light of God) after the image of him (so as to resemble Christ; the renewal process has as its goal the complete restoration in the creature of the likeness of the creator106) that created him:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (a new creation; a new being; the new person on the inside107): old things (things that characterized the pre-Christian life108) are passed away (have disappeared; are finished and gone); behold, all things are become new (the whole sphere of being; which God himself owns as his workmanship, and which He can look on and pronounce very good109).
Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off (put away) concerning the former conversation (manner of life; behavior) the old man (the unsaved person dominated by the totally depraved nature 110), which is corrupt (morally decaying) according to the deceitful lusts (lusts excited by deceit, i.e., by deceitful influences seducing to sin;) 11123 And be renewed (to be renovated by inward reformation) in the spirit of your mind (by the Holy Spirit united with your spirit, and influencing your mind;112 intellectual and spiritual renewal; as the mind understands the truth of God's Word, it is gradually transformed by the Spirit, and this renewal leads to a changed life113);24 And that ye put on (choose to put on) the new man (the brand new man; the new person), which after God (after the pattern God, the new birth, the new life in Christ114) is created in righteousness and true holiness (causes everyone to see that you are living according to God's truth115).
Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete (to fully possess a maximum amount of blessing, i.e., to be richly furnished with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit116) in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption (deliverance effected through the death of Christ from the retributive wrath of a holy God and the merited penalty of sin117) through his blood (the price paid to divine justice), the forgiveness of sins (to throw a person’s sins behind one’s back; not to remember any longer a person’s sins), according to the riches of his grace;
You might say, “Well, what if I decide to start to memorize some of the scriptures mentioned and begin to think differently about myself, how will I be benefitted?” Do you know that Scripture tells us what will happen if we decide to appropriate God’s truth about ourselves?
Please go to 1 John 2:5.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
This verse tells us that whosoever keeps (keep on continually keeping) His Word (all that He has made known to us as His will in regard to our conduct), the love of God will be perfected (produced in us by the Holy Spirit and as such we will be characterized, not by any representative trait or quality of His (our) own personality, but merely as the subject of the work of divine love118). Did you get what was just said? I will restate it. If you habitually keep God’s Word, you will no longer be characterized by any representative trait (behavior that could involve sexual tendencies ascribing to self-benefit, self-gratification, etc.) of your personality, but of an agape love, i.e., a self-less, self-sacrificial love toward others for their well-being.
Now that we know how we should start out each day in the morning, what else can help us in becoming an overcomer in the area of eros sexual inclinations or propensities of the sin nature?
Confessing my sins – The many benefits of such
You might say, “You have got to be kidding me. I learned about this in catechism, and I’m not going to go to someone and tell them about my faults.” Well, I have good news for you. From what I have learned in Scripture, we have the privilege to go directly to God the Father when we sin, whether it be in our thoughts, words, or actions. Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
We have direct access to God the Father by means of the Holy Spirit, whom we received at salvation.
As I told you earlier, after I got saved, I thought, spoke, and still did things as an unbeliever. I knew God had changed me, but that’s all I knew. When I began to learn about the doctrines of the faith, especially what thoughts, words, and actions were considered sinful, I realized how many more of my thoughts were corrupted. How was I to address these continual thoughts of sinful imprisonment? By confessing them to God the Father. Herein lies the problem. If we don’t think about ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life differently, we will never come out from under the misery of soul due to sin. So, what is the remedy? The remedy is learning and meditating on a different perspective other than our own, i.e., learning and meditating on God’s perspective, His Word.Many Christians who are encouraged to confess their sins don’t, why not? They don’t think they have to because they would argue that all of their sins were forgiven at the cross. Is this true? It’s true that all our sins were forgiven at the cross, but it’s not true that we don’t have to confess our sins. What is the purpose and benefit of confessing our sins?
Please go to 1 John 1:9.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The word confess can have some different meanings. One, it could mean to admit or declare oneself guilty of what one is accused. There will be times when we are approached by an unbeliever or believer about something we have said or done against them, where if true, we should confess guilt to them. In other instances, we might have said or done something to someone else and realize later that we committed a fault. Likewise, we should go to the person offended and make confession to our fellow-men of offenses against them.119 Second, this word could also mean to have any sin in our life discovered for us by the Holy Spirit, and ever eager to confess it and put it out of the life by the power of that same Holy Spirit120). When God the Holy Spirit brings us an awareness in our minds of sin, then confess it to God the Father and after you have done so don’t look back (think about it again).
Now that we know what the conditions are for confessing sin, what is the purpose and benefit of doing such?
We find the answer to this question in the word forgive. One definition of this word in response to our confession of sin is that discipline (chastisement) is removed from God the Father. What is chastisement? Chastisement refers to some sort of divine discipline that might involve physical sickness. So, confession of sin can bring about forgiveness from God that turns discipline into blessing. What kind of blessing? The blessing of being restored back to fellowship with God the Father that was broken by that sin.121 And, by the way, fellowship also can be referred to as recovering of the filling of the Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? We have already studied this, but its good to take another look at it.
Please go to Ephesians 5:18.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
The word filled refers to the believer being under the Spirit’s control. It also suggests the idea that this condition occurs because the believer has yielded themselves to Him. And when we are yielded to Him, He is said to control us in our mind, emotions, and will.122 Because of such, He will be filling (furnishing; supplying) us with Himself, which is another way of saying that when this spiritual condition takes place, we will experience His presence (divine joy; divine peace) in our lives.
As we can see, confession of sin can bring about many benefits for us. It turns discipline from God into blessing. It restores us to fellowship with God the Father. And it recovers the filling of the Holy Spirit, whereby we are able once again to experience His presence. So, if you are thinking about yourself in a different way and are confessing your sins to God the Father and/or confessing to someone whom you may have offended, you should begin to notice glimpses of the Spirit’s involvement in your life.
The next thing that inhibits a believer from going forward in the plan of God has to do with something that I think most believers are not mindful. While this is extremely important, for some reason other things seem to take precedence over it. It’s probably something that will surprise you.
The anointing breaks the yoke
What am I referring to here? We will begin by taking a look at an example of such from the book of Isaiah.
The yoke shall be destroyedIsaiah 10:27 And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
The Assyrian army has invaded Judah and has as its goal to conquer its capital city, Jerusalem. However, the yoke [(the oppression and calamity123 (adversity)] of the Assyrians shall be taken away by God, who will give a word to the prophet Isaiah, which will provide confidence to their king, King Hezekiah of Judah, that Yahweh will provide deliverance through His own intervention. As those anointed, the prophet Isaiah and Hezekiah, relied on their God, He, in turn, went into the camp of the Assyrians and killed 145,000 of their army. The king of Assyria, Sennacherib, seeing the killing fields of his army before his eyes turned from his intended plan with however many soldiers he had left alive, and returned back to the capital city of Assyria, called Nineveh. When he arrived there, instead of contemplating that maybe--just maybe--what had taken place was a miraculous intervention by the God of the Jews as usual, he entered into the house of his god named Nisroch where two of his own sons were waiting to kill him with the sword, which they did. We could say that this anointing is a type of our deliverance when we choose to obey God’s Word in the power of the Spirit. Deliverance from what? Deliverance from those fleshy sexual lusts or passions that try to overwhelm us with their intentions for fulfillment through various eros forms of sexual activity.
Let’s take another look at this word “anointing” as this word appears again in a New Testament book, called 1 John.
You need not that any man teach you1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
But the anointing, the person of the Holy Spirit, which you have received of Christ, abides (has taken up permanent residency) in you. And you need not that any man teach you meaning that no teacher, even a God-appointed one, is the only and ultimate source of the saint's instruction.124 The same anointing teaches you all things (under the guidance of the Spirit you must test the teaching of men as you search the Bible for yourself (cf. Acts 17:11);125 as he endues us with judgment and discernment, lest we should be deceived by lies126).
So, the anointing is the person of the Holy Spirit. Not only does He impact us with His presence, but He provides us with discernment when we are listening to someone who proclaims they are presenting Godly instruction.
What are some of the truths that we should be aware of which comprise Godly doctrine?
~ That there is one God, who evidences Himself in three persons, otherwise known as the Trinity with each person being deity. ~ That salvation is only in one person, Jesus Christ.~ That a person is saved by repenting and believing in Christ. ~ That there is no other way to receive the Holy Spirit except to become a child of God and have assurance of eternal life. ~ That in order to be filled with the Spirit, we need to confess known sin and reflect upon God’s Word with respect to ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life.
These are some of the truths we should be hearing about when receiving instruction from those in leadership, otherwise, in all likelihood, those in the assembly will not have received the indwelling Spirit and subsequently will not grow spiritually. Sadly, if this is not the case, then they and their leaders will be characterized like those mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:5.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
They will only have an outward appearance of godliness. However, by exhibiting sinful behavior like those who are not saved, it will be evident in their actions that they haven’t changed. By their life, character, and conversation, they gave the lie to their Christian profession. Christianity with them was an outward form.127 Why was this the case? This was the case because they refused to allow access to their lives the divine power that leads to salvation along with the divine power provided by the Spirit that is inherent in godliness and operates upon souls. And according to whom, we are instructed to have no kind of fellowship with them.128 Keep in mind when attending a local assembly, the truths that should be prevalent so that those in leadership and those who attend are saved and have received the indwelling Spirit, who is the true teacher that will assist us in breaking the yoke of sexual inclinations and passions.
What else will help us in addressing our sinful tendencies and inclinations?
Thinking about others
Hopefully, if you have responded to the suggestions previously mentioned, you are in a better place spiritually. You are thinking differently about yourself. You are confessing mental, verbal, and overt sins to God the Father and are participating in a Spirit-filled assembly where God the Holy Spirit shows up, and where you are learning how to be filled with His presence. The next step is to learn more verses that will cause you to have the proper mindset toward believers and unbelievers with respect to how we should be thinking about them as relating to sexual inclinations and tendencies. Some of these verses are those which follow.
The following verses pertain to what we should be thinking about concerning unbelievers.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come (as an application, because we are saved God can use us in this respect) to seek and to save that which was lost (people who have gone astray).1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers (having a house in a city without the rights of citizenship) and pilgrims (staying for a time in a foreign land), abstain (not only refraining from indulging in something, but of not allowing it to dominate one’s life) from fleshly lusts (bodily passions), which war against (are opposed to) the soul (that part of a person which can relate directly to God's Spirit129);12 Having your conversation (behavior) honest (telling the truth: to do that which is right, beautiful by reason of purity of heart and life, and hence, praiseworthy; morally good, noble130) among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works (good deeds; works which, on careful consideration must move the pagan to praise God131), which they shall behold (look intently upon), glorify God in the day of visitation.
Likewise, how should we be thinking about fellow believers, and subsequently, what are our actions that we should be exhibiting before them and toward them?
1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
1 Peter1:22 Seeing ye have purified (you have gotten rid of the sin that spoiled you132) your souls in obeying the truth (habitual obedience to the word) through the Spirit unto unfeigned [some had put a mask of feigned (hypocritical) love over their usual countenances when associating with certain others of their brethren133] love (brotherly love; the context in which it is found is concerned with one's attitude toward one's fellow Christian as contrasted to one's former worldly associates;134 one likes another person because that person is like himself in the sense that that person reflects in his own personality the same characteristics, the same likes and dislikes that he himself has135) of the brethren, see that ye love (divine love) one another with a pure [not for the love of ourselves; to not use for our advantage; free from hypocrisy (a pretense of having a virtuous character136)] heart (mind) fervently (in an all-out manner):
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example (like Timothy our life should be an example; an example to be imitated; a model to be followed) of the believers, in word (in what we say privately and in publicly; in doctrine; teaching nothing but the truth of God137), in conversation (in the whole of conduct), in charity (in agape love; the motivation of our life is from God’s love), in spirit (in the manner and disposition in which thou dost all things138), in faith (in faithfulness to Christ; in all trials show to believers by your example, how they ought to maintain unshaken confidence in God139), in purity (an upright and morally blameless life, and specifically as referring to being free from any immoral acts, especially acts related to sex140).
And there you have it. Our mindset is such that we have at the forefront of it sharing the Gospel with unbelievers so they can receive the indwelling Spirit and embark on a new life of faith. And as for believers, we are operating toward them in agape love, a sacrificial love that has as its object the spiritual and physical benefit of someone else in mind.
The final decision that you will need to make that will enhance your spiritual growth is one that is not easy to make because it seems to be contrary to the agape love in which we desire to operate.
A friend of sinners
After I got saved, I wanted to tell everyone about my conversion to the Christian faith, and I did. Doors opened to preach the Gospel. Some of my relatives and friends got saved. One of the difficulties I noticed early on was associating with some of my unsaved friends while professing to them that my life had changed. Their mindset was, hey come on let’s party. It was about going to church on Sunday and living like hell the rest of the week. It’s true that Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees for hanging around with sinners. But the difference between Him and me was that He was always Spirit-filled and spiritually mature. The unsaved didn’t affect His sin nature, because he didn’t have one. His life affected others and not the other way around. When we get saved, our sin nature is still very much in control. It takes time to learn how to think differently about ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life. We need a constant intake of the Word of God in the power of the Spirit before we begin to see small measurable spiritual changes in our lives. In the meantime, how do we address associating with our friends who are unsaved and continue to live in behavioral patterns that we had also come to accept and engage in ourselves before we were saved? The best way to answer this is to be introspective concerning yourself as to what begins to happen in your thought processes, your speech, and actions when you hang around with some of them. What I mean is if they are encouraging you to think, speak, and act the way you were before you were saved, you have to make a decision concerning how much time you should be willing to spend with them. While the object of our faith should be to witness the Gospel to them at some point, how would they even respond to it if our testimony is such that it is still reflective of the person we used to be and not the new person we have become in Christ?I can only tell you from personal experience that the temptation to commit fornication, adultery, take drugs, etc. was too great for me when I hung around with certain friends whose orientation was continually toward such conduct. So, I decided to immerse myself in learning the Word, gathering together with the assembly of believers, volunteering in church activities, etc. While I initially did feel guilty in not contacting my former friends, I knew that the only way I would be a testimony for Christ toward them in the future would be to get to know Him intimately first. As some might say, all good things must come to an end, but not in this case. I have some closing remarks for you to read.
Fulfilling My Spiritual Destiny
I hope you enjoyed this study. I can only say I had no idea of writing on the topic of TESTIMONY. Certain events seemed to take place which drew me to this topic such as the reporting of sexual abuse of young boys in a mainstream church on TV and an article about a different mainstream church that my wife found on-line whose founder confessed to having engaged in such. And so, I decided to read this article in which some of its members, who professed to have relations with those of the same gender were apparently disgruntled as to how they were being treated by their fellow believers and leaders in the church, because of their sexual orientation. So, after hearing their comments, I decided to see if what they said was supported by Scripture. This was done not to condemn them, but provide scriptural clarity, whether in agreement or not. All of us (Christians) have perceptions about this or that to which only the Word of God can provide answers. Once we know what the Word has to say, then it is up to us to obey its instructions or not. One who can testify that walking by faith is not easy is me. After I got saved and began to hear sound doctrinal teaching, I began to realize how most of my thoughts, words, and actions were not aligned with how God would have me to think, speak, and act. Some beautiful descriptions of what the words sound doctrine mean are found in 2 Timothy 4:3.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; Sound doctrine refers to "sound (or healthful) doctrine," with reference to the effect produced because it actually instructs to godliness.141 Another definition for sound doctrine is that it is doctrine contributing to the health of the soul142. As I continued to hear about how God thought about me, I decided to appropriate these truths for myself, and subsequently, the realization of God’s perspective slowly became the reality of how I thought about myself. There is a beautiful verse which exemplifies this.
Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
He that chooses to concentrate on the natural desires of his flesh will reap corruption (moral and spiritual decay). But he that chooses to concentrate on the desires of the Spirit, i.e., the desire of promoting his own spiritual growth143 and of concentrating on the fruit of the Spirit144 will reap life everlasting. What does it mean to reap life everlasting? It means we reap the blessings of the eternal life which God has given him.145 And just what are these blessings of eternal life that God has given us?
1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
The words eternal life refer to the zoe or abundant life that God has given us. The zoe life pertains to all those superadded things which are needful to make that life eminently blessed and happy.146 Some of these superadded things are the indwelling Holy Spirit and His fruit (influences; graces; elements of character), which when developed causes us to have rest (refreshment and rejuvenation) for our souls; experience times of refreshing (divine peace and joy); operate in righteousness (correctness in thinking, feeling and acting; upright character and disposition; integrity); have His peace (regulating, ruling, and harmonizing the heart), and have His joy (inner happiness without any kind of mental agony or fear) in our lives.
Is this the kind of life you want to operate in?
If you do, then choose to sow to the Word of God and the Spirit and you will see the sexual inclinations, passions, or desires of your flesh decrease and all that God has for you to operate in increase so that your life evidences these inner changes to both believers and unbelievers, who will be drawn to want to find out how your life has been dramatically transformed.God Bless You!If you would like to communicate with me, be placed on my email list to receive weekly messages, or have questions, then the following is my email contact address, [email protected]Endnotes
106UBS New Testament.107IVP Bible Background Commentary. 108UBS New Testament.109Adam Clarke’s Commentary. 110Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.111Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 11 April 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.112Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary. 113The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament. 114Robertson’s New Testament.115UBS New Testament.116A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis https://books.google.com/books?id=1E4VAAAAYAAJ.117Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon.118Vincent’s New Testament Word Studies Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 16 April 2019˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.119Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary. 120Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.121Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.122The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament. 123Barnes’ Notes.124Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.125The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament. 126Calvin's Commentaries.127The Pulpit Commentary. 128Adam Clarke’s Commentary. 129UBS New Testament.130Thayer’s Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon.131Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary. 132UBS New Testament.133Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.134Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.135Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.136Dictionary.com.137Adam Clarke’s Commentary. 138Adam Clarke’s Commentary.139Barnes’ Notes.140UBS New Testament. 141Calvin's Commentaries. 142Barnes’ Notes. 143Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament, 2000, 20 April 2019˂http://www.biblesoft.com>. 144UBS New Testament.145Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.146Barnes’ Notes.
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