Summary: How do I not give in to physical desires? How do I discipline myself? What is "dying" to fleshly desires?
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How to keep the body from winning over the heart…
Ever felt like you wanted to do right, but your physical desires were so overpowering, it was hard or impossible?
Diet vs. eat
Getting up vs. sleep
Obedience vs. sin
Purity vs. immorality
Clean mind vs. lust
Drugs vs clean
Alcohol vs sobriety
Song in the 70s disco era - “my body keeps changing my mind/changing my heart”
Bottom line: If you allow fleshly hunger to dominate your life, it will crowd out and kill spiritual hunger.
First, I want to make sure that you understand I’m not down on the body – like somehow sin lives in your physical self.
We don’t believe the body is __evil____.
In the Scripture, these two words are often used when talking about the
Flesh (sarkos) vs. body (soma)
From the Fall From Creation
Sinful nature Physical body
Wants to be master Wants to be pampered
Commanded to starve it Commanded to care for it
Hate it Be suspicious of it
Must be put to death Must be controlled
Kill it Discipline it
How to keep from being controlled by fleshly desires:
1. Discipline your body.
1 Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
The body is a good servant, but a terrible master.
Ways to discipline your body:
Go crazy on ____fighting your weak areas._____.
Matthew 18:8 If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.
9 And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Let’s get this out of the way: You have weak areas. You have areas that you’re vulnerable to temptation and sin. I know that’s shocking… I know you were unaware… but you do. What are you going to do about it?
Jesus isn’t literally commanding us to slice and dice our bodies. (Notice he says “if” your body causes you a problem…) However, he’s making a point in a very shocking and memorable way:
It is better to hurt the body than to lose your soul. If it’s soul vs. body in any area of your life, make SURE the soul wins. You would literally be BETTER OFF without an eye than in hell.
If something is continually causing you to sin, some area in which your body is weak and soft, and you can’t discipline yourself, it’s better to get rid of the possibility entirely.
Here’s why Jesus had to make that shocking assertion – most people don’t want to conquer it LIKE THAT. The hunger for physical things (like having eyes and hands) overcomes the hunger for spiritual things (like going to heaven, knowing God).
Not only will you not cut off your hand, tear out your eye, but you won’t put a filter on your computer, get accountability apps on your phone, tell someone, delete that person’s phone #, embarrass yourself by admitting a struggle…
Then you’re not really serious about defeating it yet.
“You have the mind, but you do not have the body. So you must make the body.” - Teddy Roosevelt’s father
IS your weakness in your eyes? Always find yourself looking with lust? What do you need to do to discipline yourself?
Is weakness in your mind?
IN your desire for sleep?
What weak areas cause your body to be closer to surrendering to the desires of the “flesh?”
Go crazy and beat it.
Joel 2:12 'Even now,' declares the LORD, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.'
13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing-- grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
Fasting isn’t just a way to get things from God, it’s a way to help your heart hunger return to God.