Summary: Examining the benefit of walking in the Spirit.
How To Win The War Within (Part 1)
I ask you to think back to the day that you were born again? Do you remember the freedom, peace and joy that you experienced? Do you remember the amazing feeling when you realized that your fears and burdens had been removed and your sins had been washed away?
- You had a new love for God
- You had a new outlook on life
- You had attained eternal life
- You wanted to learn all there was to know about God
- You wanted to tell everyone what Jesus had done for you
- You wanted to serve the Lord in any (and every) way possible
Then shortly after that amazing transformation the enemy mounted an attack! You were tempted to sin and ...YOU DID JUST THAT! The guilt and shame was overwhelming and you felt miserable. Then the enemy began to whisper words of doubt in your mind. He makes you ask certain questions to yourself:
- How could you do such a thing if you were really a Christian?
- How could you have such thoughts if you were really born again?
- How could you say those things if you were really a child of God?
Then (along with the doubts) discouragement sets in.
In salvation you did not just get a free pass out of Hell and receive a home in Heaven. You also enlisted in God's Army and you were placed on the frontlines of a war! You are not involved in a small battle, you are in the midst of an intense war... A WAR WITHIN!! - I am referring to the war between the flesh and the Spirit. Galatians 5:17 ...the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other...
Many Christians that you encounter are living defeated lives! And I believe that much of the blame belongs to the church. For far too long the Church has put all of the focus on professions of faith, baptisms and numerical growth and has neglected to "make disciples" It is a great joy to see someone born into the family of God but there are countless people who have prayed a prayer and hove no idea what comes next.
> The U.S Army has recruiters who seek out and enlist men and women into the Army. They tell those individuals of the great benefits of joining the armed forces. After the individual signs up they are sent to basic training and then they receive specialized training. They are provided with weapons and trained how to use them. Before that soldier is ever sent into battle they are prepared for what they will face from the enemy.
In many cases the church's evangelism process is the equivalent of a recruiter convincing someone to join the Army and then sending them directly into battle without any knowledge, skill, weapons or training. As a result, many of our brethren are in the heat of the battle facing certain defeat!
- Maybe you are here and you have asked this question... "If I am truly saved then why do I sin so easily and so often, even when I don¡¦t want to sin?
It may encourage you to know that the Apostle Paul faced that same struggle- Romans 7:18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can¡¦t.19 I want to do what is good, but I don¡¦t. I don¡¦t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.20 But if I do what I don¡¦t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.21 I have discovered this principle of life¡Xthat when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.22 I love God¡¦s law with all my heart.23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
- Adrian Rogers so rightly stated that "The Christian life is not a playground, it is a battlefield" - It is a war! And today I would like to walk through these verses and see "How To Win The War Within"
I will go ahead and tell you just "How To Win The War Within" in fact the answer is found in verse 16 - Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh
The key to victory is clear, but the battle is not an easy one! In order for us to truly "follow the Spirit", we must understand the differences between the Spirit and the flesh. So let's' look to verses 16-21 and see the contrast between the flesh and Spirit.