By Patrick Hawthorne
There is no greater battle that can be fought than the inner battle between your own personal spirit and your fleshly side. As the Apostle Paul said, and I paraphrase, I want to do right but my fleshly man wants to do wrong. “O’ wretched man that I am.” (Romans 7)
If I were a betting man, I would bet that the last time your flesh got a hold of you, you fought and struggled before eventually giving in. This has been a repeated cycle over and over again. You do well for a short period of time and then, “whamo,” here comes the temptation again, followed by guilt and self- condemnation.
The question is, “Why?” Why do we constantly fight this urge to do wrong when we know to do right? It is because we have been fighting the wrong enemy. Let me explain by first asking a couple of questions.
Would you agree that, as a Christian, we have been given authority over the devil through the shed blood of Jesus? I sure hope your answer is ‘yes,’ otherwise we have some major work to do. Would you also agree that all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world? Again, I hope your answer is ‘yes,’ because this is straight from 1 John 2:16.
If your answer was ‘yes,’ to both questions above I will now offer you the solution for fighting the flesh. You ready? Ok, the next time your fleshly desire rears its ugly head I want you to first recognize where the temptation is coming from. If it is something that you personally opened the door to, then ask the Lord for forgiveness. You have to shut that door.
Next, and this is where we all miss it, you must take the fight to the proper source. If you are turning the spiritual fight towards yourself and your flesh, you are fighting with the wrong attacker. Take your fight to the one who is the author of death, the devil himself.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that you take on the devil in all-out war. That would be foolish. Besides, the battle has already been fought and won by Jesus. All we need to do is simply remind the devil of this.
So, this is how I personally fight the devil when he sneaks in with a fleshly attack. Some of you might find this a little unorthodox but I am seeing results in my life. I personally use the authority given me and tell the devil to shut his mouth in the name of Jesus and to not budge from the spot in which he stands until I command him to go. I then make him listen to Bible verses which tell him who I am in Christ Jesus.
“I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I am a son of the Most High God, and a joint heir with Jesus. I was purchased by the blood of the Lamb and it is through Him that I am sanctified, made holy before my God. No weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue that rises against me I shall condemn. For this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is of me, says the Lord.”
By the time I am finished, all temptation has left. I then command the devil to flee in the name of Jesus. That’s it…that’s all there is to it. Oh, and this is very important. You can only pull out that which you put in. If you dwell on soap operas there will be no well to draw from and no weapons available. Get the Word in so you can get the Word out. Be blessed.