Title: Don’t think about it

By: J.O. Lawal

Date: January 26, 2020

Series: From Pastor’s Desk

Number: Vol. 8, No. 38

Beloved: Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. I welcome you to the last week of the month of January 2020. And my prayer is that you will be kept safe in all your ways and also preserved in the purity of Christ all through it, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

As you go this week, I want to remind you that even though we are new creations in Christ Jesus, we are still living in a world of corruption. In addition to that, the body we still operate in is one that is mortal and responsive to all kinds of evil desires. So, the fact that we are now Christians does not mean that we are never again going to be confronted with desires to do evil. We will, as long as we are in this world. However, we are not powerless against them. We have the Spirit of God in us to teach and to strengthen us to walk in victory over them. All we need to do, then, is to take His ministry in our lives seriously and keep in step with Him. And we will never again be rubbished by any form of sin. 

Now one of the things the Spirit of God teaches us on how to walk in victory over sin is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans in which he says, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Rom 13:14NIV) Did you see that? Paul says put on the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. That means the flesh has desires. And these desires are constantly rising in us to take charge of our lives and determine the direction in which they go.

The problem, however, is that the desires of the flesh are mostly contrary to the will of God. In his letter to the Galatians Paul also speaks about this. He says, “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (Gal 5:16-17NIV) Look at that. What the flesh desires and wants are contrary to what the Spirit of God in us wants. In other words, our flesh is naturally against the will of God for us. It wants us to have untamed pleasure and to take the whole world for ourselves at the expense of others. Also, it wants us to think and live like our own gods, having no regard for any form of authority whatsoever. (Cf. Gal 5:19-20)

You can examine your own life to see whether these things are not true of your flesh. Are your desires and feelings not naturally selfish, immoral, rebellious and wicked? I am sure you will agree that they are. And if you give these desires and feelings enough room to take charge of you, you will soon enough find yourself doing things that you yourself know to be wrong. James, in his epistle, describes this process for us, when he says, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15NIV)

Did you see that? Every kind of sin begins inside us. It starts with a seed-thought that is planted in us by the enemy. And our flesh loves such thoughts, thoughts that give it the feeling that it is going to enjoy itself one way or the other. But when we allow such thoughts to have their way in us, they will result in sin. Then sin, when it has fully taken hold of us, kills us and makes a waste of our lives. That is why Paul instructs us not to think at all about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Those desires will definitely come to us. We cannot stop them from coming, for it is the enemy of our souls that is using them to war against us (1Pet 2:11). But we can refuse to think about them or to think about how to make them happen. 

See, if you want to sin, your mind will always come up with ingenious ways to do so and avoid the consequences. That is why you must deal with every thought coming to you, as we are told in the scriptures, and make it obey the Lord Jesus (2Cor 10:5). Yes, you must learn to say of wrong thoughts, “This thought is contrary to the will of God for me. So I refuse to think it or ponder on how to make it happen. And I receive strength from the Spirit of God to reject it, in the name of Jesus.” And as you devote yourself to treating all your thoughts like this, you will find yourself growing stronger and stronger in saying ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passion.

Do have a fabulous week.

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