If we could give a definition of what the life of the Christian is, I would say: "What is a soldier on the warpath". We are soldiers in the middle of a war. Every day, we face new dangers, new challenges, new temptations, new strategies; We emerge from one temptation and enter another.
The question is: How aware are you of this? When do you wake up every day, and get involved in your routine, do you remember that you are in a minefield? Do you remember that you must walk very carefully so as not to be ambushed by the enemy? Whether we like it or not, want it or not, keep it in mind or want to ignore it, we are at war.
The apostle Peter tells us: "That you abstain from the carnal passions that fight against the soul." When we talk about spiritual warfare, the situation is not simple, it is complex because the fight is fought from several fronts, and perhaps one of those fronts where we receive the most attacks is in the soul, in our interior, they are our passions. Peter identifies them as: "carnal desires that battle against the soul."
When the apostle says that our enemy is the flesh, he does not mean that layer that covers the bones. But to the perverse spiritual capacity within every human being. This meat has some characteristics:
1. Meat Promotes Anarchy:
According to the dictionary, anarchy is: The absence of norms, absence of authority, absence of control, absence of law. Read Romans 7.14-19. Do you remember who wrote these words? The Apostle Paul! Pablo, the missionary; Paul, the apostle; Paul, the martyr; Paul, the biblical writer. And he says: "The animal that I have inside takes control of me." Maybe you say: "Pastor, I don't like to hear those things." Believe me, I don't like saying them either, but we must face the fact that there is something beastly within each one of us. There is something bad - bestial - inside each one of us. "Good does not dwell in my flesh." Says the apostle Paul. That is why the Christian life is a daily struggle giving up what is called: Meat. Read Galatians 2.20.
Paul asks: "Who will deliver me from the power of death that is in my body?" And he himself answers: "Only God, whom I thank through our Lord Jesus Christ" Romans 7:25. Only God can bring order in the midst of anarchy, only God can control our passions.
2. Meat is our Achilles heel:
The Devil uses the flesh as a tool to gain control of our lives. Paul warns us not to give place to the devil "nor give place to the devil." Ephesians 4.27 "Give room" literally tells us to give right or give ground for Satan to attack. When we allow the flesh to run amok, various sins are unleashed. What are those sins: Read Galatians 5.19-21
Being clear, we could say that our worst enemy is ourselves. And the Devil knows this very well, and he knows very well how to use that fault within us to attack us, to defeat us, to destroy us completely.
How to achieve victory over this internal struggle that we all face?
1. Remember who you are and who you belong to:
"Beloved, I beg you as strangers and pilgrims." The term translated ‘foreigners’ refers to people who do not have rights where they live, and the term ‘pilgrims’ refers to those who are homeless, passing through. The apostle Peter tells us that in the midst of this internal struggle we have to remember: Who we are and to whom we belong. Because when we understand what our place is in this world, what is our responsibility in this life, and where I will be when I am no longer in this world, that will be a barrier to not letting the carnal passions that fight within us overcome us. Let's quickly look at an example: Read: Genesis 39: 2-6
José was an attractive man, he had everything: intelligence, everything that he did prosper, he had education, administrative skills, and without a doubt that the grace of God was in his life. Read: Genesis 39: 7 How could this young man be able to overcome those passions and face such strong temptation on the part of that woman? Read: Genesis 39: 8-9.
José was not a stone, nor a mummy, but a young man with the same passions, emotions and a burning heart of anyone who was walking in his 30s. However, José said: “It is a horrible sin against God. And he left. How could José remain firm in this seductive situation? I believe without a doubt that José understood who he was and to whom he belonged. How to achieve victory over this internal struggle that we all face?
2. Remember that someone is watching us:
"Be sure to act appropriately when in the company of non-Christians, so that even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they can see your good works and glorify God when he comes" 1 Peter 2.12 (VBL).
Believers must refrain from sinful desires not only for the sake of their spiritual well-being, but also to maintain an effective witness to unbelievers. A godly Christian lifestyle is a powerful means of convincing the world of its sin. We live in glass houses, we are on display, they observe our behavior, our works, our words, they evaluate everything we do, and how we react to certain situations, when we are a stumbling block for others, the good actions that you do, they are seeing how you react at work, at school, and how you speak.
They see how we face the problems of this life, at work with our children, in the environment where we move. They see how we treat our wife, and our children. Our lives are in the open, and Peter tells us that we must maintain irreproachable conduct. Christians were accused of many things, we are not going to get rid of that.
Christians were accused of being cannibals for saying that at the Lord's Supper we take the cup that symbolizes the blood and the bread that symbolizes the body. They loved each other and they accused them of incest, they believed in an invisible God and they accused them of atheists, they did not swear allegiance to Caesar and they accused them of treason. Of immorality for the holy kiss.
We are going to be accused despite our good behavior. But let's read what Peter says well, he tells us that they are going to slander us by doing things well, and if they slander you because you are really doing things wrong, you are bringing shame to the body of Christ. Therefore, take care of your testimony, take care of your relationship with God.
3. We actively need to depend on Christ:
We must recognize that we are weak but at the same time we need to depend completely on Christ. And how do you do that? Well it starts with prayer. The prayer of a Christian is not an attempt to force the hand of God to move but a humble acknowledgment of helplessness and dependence on God. Read Matthew 26:41.