Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not go along with the crowd. Sure, the peer pressure is strong, and we want to fit in and not seem odd…but we also realize what the crowd is about to do is just plain wrong. Deuteronomy 13:8 tells us to not yield to or even listen to the enticements from those who are sinning. And the old excuse of, “Everybody’s doing it!” can’t stand up to the truth if it goes against the word of God. For any words of persuasion, guilt, or deception we hear will never change wrong into right.
Our mind is a battlefield. Our new nature under Christ Jesus is ever struggling with our comfortable old nature. Romans 8:4 tells us not to live according to our sinful nature…but that’s easier said than done when our old self keeps tugging us back to what’s easy, and familiar. But that’s when we need to memorize I John 4:4 and recite it out loud…” the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” The Holy Spirit indwelling within you is mightier than the devil…and more powerful than anything you are battling today. For it tells us to resist the devil and he must flee. So when your old and new self are clashing, look to the Lord for strength and victory.
The world doesn’t talk about sin as such. To them, sin is an archaic word. They’d rather shape the idea of sin into a palatable and more tolerable commodity that people will just accept without question. I found an interesting quote about this. The world says, ” My right is my duty.” The Christian says, “My duty is my right.” The question here being – what is your focus…putting yourself before others… or putting others before yourself? This is where sin and truth collide…it’s where the world deceives us into thinking sin isn’t that big of a deal…but truth tells us we need to come out from under the cloud of lies and self-indulgence and repent.
When we come to Jesus, He says to us, “Be clean!” And at that moment we are purified from all the pollution, guilt, and shame of our sins. For it says in Psalm 51:2, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Where we once were covered with the filthy stains of sin, we are now cleansed…our nastiness replaced by pristine purity and righteousness through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For it is only through the blood of Jesus that we can become cleansed from all our transgressions…it is only through Jesus we can be saved.
We all have things we’ve done that we’re not proud of. Lapses in our character where we actually thought we could hide willful sins…but God saw everything. And the longer we attempt to cover-up and rationalize sin, the harder it is to admit we’ve crossed the line. David in Psalm 32:5 told the Lord, “I acknowledge my sin to You, and do not cover up my iniquity.” The first part of David’s confession was Relent. We need to yield to God and admit we’ve messed up. The second part was Repent. There needs to be true remorse and shame for our sin. We’re sorry for what we’ve done, not just sorry we got caught. Finally, we need to Remove the sin from our life…by whatever means it takes. By keeping a short account with God, we won’t find ourselves outside His Will and far from His compassion.
Within us is an ever raging battle…sometimes with one side winning, sometimes with the other. The battle is between our flesh and the Holy Spirit. It was fine before we were Christians…there was no need for any kind of battle…we just did what we wanted. But now that we live by the promptings of the Holy Spirit within, the conflict has started. What do you have your mind set on? It tells us in this verse that you’re either devoted to your corrupt sinful nature…or you’re mindful of the Holy Spirit. So how can we change this cycle? It says in Galatians 5:16, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Living by the Spirit is listening carefully, reacting immediately, and obeying promptly.
All of us do it…we daydream. Pleasant fantasies that transport us from the drab and boring into over the top imaginings. But if we indulge in these musings more and more, they will soon take over our life…for the real world can never compete with fantasy. And it’s here in this verse we’re warned about willful pleasure-seeking thoughts. As humans living in a sinful world – ungodly thoughts are going to drop into our minds…thoughts that can even shock and embarrass us. Like, “Where did THAT come from?!!) But it’s at that moment we have to take captive that thought and make it obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5) For if we give in and allow these thoughts to have their way in our mind…our vivid daydreams will lead us farther and farther from God into disobedience.