We Cannot Do God’s Will in Our Own Strength ~ blog
180 has about 100 men involved in our Online Support Team Ministry. The vast majority of the men are very thankful that they have a place where they can be completely honest and find the support of other men without condemnation. Many of them are following the program which is biblically based and finding God strengthening them to grow in purity.
However, that is not the case for everyone, which really bothers me. I want to know how come the program works for some but not all. I am actually going to begin tomorrow working with one of these men to drill down and find where the disconnect lies.
Everybody’s recovery, to some extent, is unique. Because there are so many differences between us what is driving one man’s addiction may not be applicable to the other. Biblical truth is universal to all of us and becomes the foundation for recovery. However, it takes time and effort for each person to learn what they need to do in their own battle.
We have been looking at the role of the Holy Spirit and why He is the most critical component in any believer’s Christian life. And especially when it comes to dealing with our sexual brokenness, He is the source of power to change us in our hearts and minds so that we will be able to choose to walk in purity instead of sexual sin.
Here is what we read in Galatians 5:16;
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
This is a promise to all of us. And yet it just very well may be the least understood and underused truth in Scripture. Notice what Francis Chan writes in his book “The Forgotten God.”
“If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit.”
Do you see the promise in this verse??? For those of us who understand how defeating and destructive sexual sin can be, this verse is telling us the solution to walking in the flesh.
Before we get to how to walk in the Spirit, I want you to notice that little word “by.” It could be translated “by means of.” It means we are to be using the Spirit as God’s solution to walking in our flesh. When I drive to work, I drive by means of my car. Elderly people who cannot walk can still be mobile by means of a wheelchair. When I had a cast on my ankle, I walked by means of crutches.
To be able to walk in purity and not continue to give in to the desires of the flesh we need to be walking by means of the Spirit. That means we are not going to be relying on our own ability to resist temptation, but that we are going to receive the power we need from the Holy Spirit and HE will enable us to not carry out the desires of the flesh.
For those of us who know what it is like to live addicted to sexual sin, we know the pain and shame of our unfulfilled promises. We have told our loving Father and Jesus our Savior and Lord that we will stop looking at porn. However, after a few days or weeks, the power of our flesh becomes unmanageable and we give in to temptation and become like the dog returning to its vomit.
Now the Spirit is in us to TRANSFORM us. He not only can give us the strength to resist the lusts of the flesh, but we are also promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He will give us an escape from sexual sin.
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Here is the problem. Most of the time we are not walking in the Spirit. Temptation comes upon us and we are outmanned, outgunned, and behind enemy lines. Calling out to the Spirit to help you escape is not something we are to do in the heat of temptation.
Being filled with the Spirit and walking by means of the Spirit … EVERYDAY … is how this whole Christian Life thing is supposed to work. That is the heart of the issue. God’s plan for us is that every day we offer our bodies to Him as living sacrifices. Every day we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.
I believe we should all daily ask the Spirit to not only fill us as we are commanded in Ephesians 5:18 but then we are to walk in the Spirit as we go through our day. This means that I am asking Him to enable and empower me to walk in the Spirit. And as my day unfolds with all of its challenges and temptations I am already filled and being controlled by Him and can walk away from temptation under His power.
We cannot live the Christian life and experience the power and be able to walk in purity apart from the Spirit. So, let me ask you …
- Have you presented your body to God as a living Sacrifice today?
- Have you asked the Spirit to fill you and empower you to walk in the Spirit today?
- Have you put on the full armor of God as we are told in Ephesians 6.
If not … why not? Quit pretending it doesn’t matter and everything will be fine. Do the work of recovery or continue to experience being defeated by your flesh.
It is the Holy Spirit ALONE who has the power to transform your life.