Our Obligation to Mortify the Deeds of Our Flesh ~ blog
Yesterday we learned from Paul and the text in Romans 8 that as followers of Christ we have an obligation. An obligation is a duty or something that we must do. If you run a stop sign and get a ticket you have an obligation to pay that fine. If you say something stupid to your wife in a moment of anger you have an obligation, since you promised to love and cherish her, to apologize and make things right again.
When it comes to our flesh or our sin nature, we have an obligation but to whom do we have this obligation?
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
Certainly, our obligation is not to our flesh. We do not have a duty to give in to looking at porn and masturbating. It cannot demand and command us to sin. As new creations in Christ, we have been set free from the penalty of our sins and the power of sin over us has been broken. Broken but not eliminated. In heaven, it will be forever gone but for now, it remains in us and we are told we must “put to death the misdeeds of the body.”
We have this obligation to God since He has purchased our potential freedom through His death on the cross, rose again, and gives to us eternal forgiveness and eternal life. He has redeemed us, purchased us, and even our bodies are not our own as we are told in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20;
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
So, clearly, we have an obligation to God to care for this body of His in which we are dwelling.
We also have an obligation to others in our lives. For those who are married, we have an obligation to our spouse and family. For those who are single, you have an obligation to your parents, family, and friends. And as a believer and member of the body of Christ, we have an obligation to the other members of our local church.
Lastly, we have an obligation to ourselves. When we sin in any way, we are harming ourselves. Why? Because the wages of sin are death and even though we may be doing something that feels so good and helps us escape the stress and pain of our world, it will always have detrimental consequences.
However, we rationalize to ourselves that nobody will know and find out. Sorry, but that lie goes all the way back to the garden of Eden. The serpent told that to Adam and Eve. Go ahead you can hide it from God…not true then and not true now.
God has clearly told us that we will reap whatever we sow. He also promises that our sins will always find us out.
So, how exactly does one mortify or put to death the sins of the body?
How can we kill the deeds of our flesh?
First, let’s understand what this verse is saying. We cannot kill our flesh. What we are told we need to be doing (present tense so ongoing actions) is to put to death the DEEDS of the flesh. Or, to put it another way, we are to be putting to death the actions our flesh is wanting us to do. It is to kill the temptations we are feeling or having.
It is not to sit down with it, think about it, play with the idea, and perhaps searching a word on Google which just might show you some skin. That is not putting the temptation to death. That is only throwing fuel on the fire. The flames will rise. The heat will rise and something on your body, what I call our sex thermometer begins to rise as well.
So, putting to death the deeds of the flesh are doing whatever it takes to stop the temptation from growing in your mind and pants…and taking decisive action to keep it from spreading. To put something to death requires action and guess what will help you do that?
Having a Plan of Action
All of us know we are in a battle, but we live like we are on leave. We live on the front line but act like there is no enemy around at all. We isolate ourselves so that we can keep this pet of porn around so that we can play with it when we want to or need to. Yet, our need to spending time with our porn seems to have grown into an addiction. And now with our smartphones, we can take our pet with us wherever we go and play with it almost whenever we want.
We keep falling back into sin because we have not taken action to eliminate the ways we know we fall into temptation. And this is not rocket science. If you tend to fall at night after your wife goes to bed…then go to bed with her. There was a day when you couldn’t wait to get into bed with your wife. But now you stay up to spend time with other women in images and videos or people who in no way have any love or concern for you at all.
If you struggle to take your phone into the bathroom what action could completely end that issue? If you struggle is whenever you are alone…stop being alone. Set up times to be with friends, family, or neighbors. Or, better yet, get on an Online Support Team and always have a group of men available to give you help.
Actions that end moments of temptation are the most essential way of putting to death the deeds of the body. Think through your day or week and schedule escapes from the temptations you know you will be facing each day. Yes, those escapes that God has promised to give you so that you will not have to fall back into sexual sin.