Making Your Body Your Slave – blog
What does a runner focus on in their race? What is it that drives them to give everything they have into those moments after the starting gun is fired? It is the finish line. Every fiber in their body is straining to reach the tape and hopefully being the one who breaks it.
In Hebrews 12 we are told to think this way as we consider how to live our lives. In that passage, we read …
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of faith.”
When we all accepted Christ as our Savior, we started the journey we call living the Christian or Christ-like life. The writer is likening this journey to a race or a competition. Paul does the same thing in 1 Corinthians 9 …
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave…”
In some passages, the Christian life is referred to us being in a war against the world, our flesh, and the devil. In other passages like these two, this Christian life is referred to as being a competition or running a race.
Both of these metaphors make sense because they both have one thing in common. They are totally different settings but with one common denominator. Both call us to diligence and endurance because we are up against an enemy or a competitor.
The analogy of war is real because we daily must fight against our flesh, the fallen world and all it offers us, and the devil who is looking for his next meal to devour. The analogy of competition is real because at the end of our lives we are going to receive eternal rewards as well as experiencing a more fulfilling life in the here and now.
The problem with sexual sin is that it takes us out of the game and off the battlefield. We are no longer a threat against the devil and the world because we are ashamed of who we are and what we have done. Internally we go into hiding mode while externally we wear a smiley face and tell everyone we are fine.
God does not want us to get better and go further in our recovery so that we can pursue the American dream of being successful in life and be filled up with the trinkets of this world. He wants us to learn endurance so that we grow stronger and become perfect and complete lacking in nothing.
Perhaps you are not progressing in your recovery because your motive is not the right one. You want to get better so that you can get rid of the shame and stop feeling like a phony. While God has far bigger plans for you than just stopping sexual sin. He wants us to move forward in our sanctification.
He wants us to become like Jesus and grow in holiness so that we can stay in the battle and start winning and defeating the enemy. He wants us to run our race with all our might so that we can receive from Him eternal rewards for us to enjoy forever. He wants us to discipline our body and make it our slave.
So often we are being led astray by our flesh because we have been feeding it for so long that it has become really powerful. It is used to having its way with us. Or to put it more scientifically, we have developed strong neurological pathways in our brains over years of sexual sin.
When will you grow sick and tired of being led around and manipulated by the world, your flesh, and the devil? When will you get tired of going back and eating more of your own vomit? When will you get pissed off enough to go to war against these things like your life depends upon it?
Paul said that he beat his body and made it his slave. While we tend to beat only one part of our body and we have become its slave. He applied the discipline of an athlete and the training of a soldier in order for him to advance in his battle and win his race.
Is there something in you that can be ignited again to get serious about your recovery? To begin to do the daily disciplines that you know are lacking? To begin walking in the power of the Spirit so that you are not fulfilling the desires of your flesh? To daily offer your body to God as a living sacrifice and putting on the full armor of God so that you might stand strong against demonic forces?
Tomorrow we will begin looking at the basics of Christian Basic Training or what I like to call Christian Boot Camp. I hope you show up for duty tomorrow and advance with me deeper into enemy territory and take back the group we have given to him.