Have you ever played a game using yourself as your opponent? Did you win? I bet you won. At the same time, I bet you also lost. This was me as a kid, I would play against myself all the time, but for every W I racked up, I had an equal amount of Losses. The reality is you can’t win a fight against yourself and that is why we so often feel powerless to defeat the sin at war within us.
We too often try to fight in our own power, but is not in our ability to fight sin. It is a battle we cannot win no matter how hard we fight. So how can we win?
Let’s break this down a little bit. We know we serve a triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s important we know that you and I are also a triune being, spirit, soul and body.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The sin battle occurs at the soul level. Most people agree the soul is made up of your mind- the thoughts you think, your will- the decisions that you make, and your emotions- the things you feel. Every temptation you will ever experience comes from one of those three areas.
James 1:14 (ESV) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
So here is our core issue, our temptation comes from our soul yet so often when it rears its ugly head we try with all our might to will away the desire. We try to force out the temptation by sheer force of will. We might succeed for a season, but no matter how hard we soul will never be able defeat soul.
It’s the same way that darkness cannot defeat darkness. You will never get rid of the darkness in your life by throwing more darkness at it. Yet, even a small amount of light enters the room and the darkness is instantly dissolved.
We cannot defeat sin on our own, but the moment we surrender and let the Spirit of God work within us it has to leave.
Zechariah 4:6 (ESV) Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord
As with all things in our faith, it is only by the power of God that we overcome. We will never be strong enough to overcome the enemy.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I love that! God’s power works best in my weakness! Another way to put it would be His power is demonstrated most clearly in the context of my surrender. When we think about the winning team, it isn’t usually the team that lifted their hands in surrender. Yet, for you and me to win the war with sin we must surrender, that’s our starting point.
To win the battle we must give up the battle. We can’t win, but God can’t lose. Battling sin requires a shift in perspective. We must move from trying to be strong, to depending upon God’s grace to strengthen us to the point of overcoming.
Tomorrow we will attempt to discuss how to obtain freedom from sin, but for now I pray we would learn to truly surrender to the Lord and seek to be empowered by His presence to overcome the temptation within us.