Sometimes it scares me how right on the Bible is. It seems that as I dive into it more and more, it speaks to the very situation I’m in and shows me exactly what I need to read when I need to read it. Truly, the Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).
I know that the Lord is performing a purification process with me (and wants to do so in you, too). As I continue this year in the Word of diligence, I find my will fighting for it’s way and I get discouraged at times. You see, the Lord spoke a very specific Word to me last June and has expanded on that same word as I take obedient steps. As I expected, there has been some opposition (in me and by spiritual attack) to His will and as I get closer to the end of the process, the heat is increasing. The pressure is on; my will is trying to get me to quit.
Remember the Borg in Star Trek (Nerd Alert!!))? My will repeats their motto, “Resistance is futile!” Sometimes I think my will may be right. I want to fight the “assimilation” but it feels like I just can’t win. Romans 7 explains this really well:
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”Romans 7:18
I know what I should do, and I know that to know to do good and not to do it is sin (James 4:17), but I find it very hard at times to do what I know God is calling me to. I have a hard time resisting my will, though I know God’s way is better. I’m not involved in any habitual sin, but the calling God spoke to me is clear and goes right along with His written Word:
“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”1 Corinthians 10:23
As Christians, we are to look like Christ, who resisted human will even to the shedding of blood (Luke 22:44). We haven’t nearly gotten to that point (Hebrews 12:4), but we are called to submit to God and resist the devil (even the devil that is sometimes “me”). Sometimes we like the devil in us, though. We want to keep our will (our patterns, habits, desires, dreams, even blatant sins) at times. It’s our “precious” (insert Gollum voice from Lord of the Rings). But God is calling us to a better way, a more abundant life. Therefore, we must suffocate our will (the flesh) until it dies, because:
“…those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”Romans 8:8
If we let our will live, we will surely die. But,
“…if by the Spirit, you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”Romans 8:13
How do we put to death the deeds of the body as it says?
- Read the Word – Listen to it, read it, pray on it. The Holy Spirit will convict us of our sins and reveal to us those things we are holding on to that are “permissible, but not beneficial.” We shouldn’t be toeing the [plumb] line in any area. If something we are doing, thinking of, or saying is not in line with His measure of righteousness, we need to fix the problem.
- Repent – When we are in constant repentance mode (because let’s face it – we sin ALL THE TIME, and if we aren’t sinning right now, we likely will be in time – 1 Corinthians 10:12) on our face before Him, He is able to lift us up. If we are repenting of everything, He can and will (1 John 1:9) clean us up and lead us on. *Note: If we are constantly “repenting” of the same sins over and over, we aren’t really repenting, we aren’t really sorry, and we aren’t willing to change. Check your heart and get some help.
- Submit – Submit to God: we must give the problem to Him. If we have thoughts of hatred, we need to pray about it. If we are worried, we should cast our cares on Him. Anytime we are in sin or are doing that which is not beneficial, we’ve got to submit it to Him and cry out for help. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, He won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will provide you with a way out so you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). He will show up and help out every single time.
- Resist – We’ve got to set up road blocks for our problems. At every turn we have a choice to make. My will or His will? Seriously. Put down the cheeseburger. Turn off the phone. Unplug the TV. Leave your bank card at home. Call a friend. Sometimes out of sight, out of mind works, but most of the time we need help. We have to set up accountability (I did this when I was slightly addicted to Flamas chips and I’m telling you it worked. I haven’t had one since I told my friends the problem). When the urge for whatever it is we have a problem with arises (even negative thoughts, spending too much time on the phone, calling or checking up on an old boyfriend, engaging in an argument/debate that we know will get us nowhere, buying Starbucks for the 5th time today, etc.), we have to pass it to the Lord immediately. But it’s a choice.
Resistance isn’t “futile.” Resistance is life and death. It is death to our will by way of suffocation and life to our spirit in Christ. As we are obedient to His purification process, He will hide us and strengthen us, and will make it easier to resist the devil and gain victory after victory.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”1 Peter 5:8-10
Prayer: God, I’m so trying to do what You are asking of me, but my will keeps getting in the way. My flesh wants what I don’t want it to want, and I have a hard time not giving in sometimes. Please strengthen me and deliver me from evil – from myself. Help me to resist, to not give in to my flesh which wars against Your Spirit in me. Teach me to submit to You and to set up resistance tools to keep my will from even entering my mind. Help me to be alert. Speak to me through Your Word and remind me again and again that You already have the victory from Your death on the cross for me. Help me to remember that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. Help me to live the resistance. I submit to You right now in Jesus’s name, Amen.