Fighting the Inner Demons
“I am at my wit's end! I have been fighting against my sin for so long and I just can’t seem to overcome it! I am weary, frustrated, exhausted, and most of all, I feel hopeless.” Perhaps you can identify with the young woman who recently said this to me about her inner demons, the sin in her life. Many of us wonder why we can’t seem to overcome specific sins in our lives despite our best attempts to do so. I would like to offer you several suggestions to help you overcome besetting sins in your life.
The first one is to understand what you are really dealing with. if you are a Christian, you must remember that you have two kingdoms at war within you. The kingdom of heaven which is ruled by the Spirit of life, and the kingdom of self which is ruled by the flesh (Romans 8:2). The battles you face daily take place in your heart, and you are constantly given a choice of who you will worship. Worshiping self will bring temporary rewards and pleasure, but in the end, it will lead to death (James 1:13 – 15). Following the leadership of the Spirit of life will also bring death, but this is death of self. We are called to self-denial and we are commanded to put sin to death in our mortal bodies (Romans 8:12 – 13; Colossians 3:5). It may seem like these battles will never end, but they will. One day we will live in the glorious presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and our fight against sin will be over. Until then, we must violently war against our flesh. As we do so, we will grow in grace and we will be conformed to the image of Christ.
The Holy Spirit
We have a mighty advocate on our side in this war. The Holy Spirit knows our hearts (Psalm 139:23 – 24), and the good news for us is he hates our sin even more than we do. He also loves us more than we could possibly ever comprehend. He is our ever-present help in time of need. When the battle is hot you can turn to Him because he is there. You can begin by admitting the reality of your situation: Admit to God that you are struggling with your flesh and that you are deeply tempted to sin. Tell Him exactly what you are dealing with and don’t shy away from the details; remember, He knows! Remind yourself that your struggle is what Christ died for. If you could handle it apart from Him, then you could manage your own sanctification and His death would not have been necessary.
Be Aware of the Deceitfulness of Sin
My next recommendation is to be aware of the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 12:1 tells us that sin easily entangles us. Because sin works in a heart that is deceptive and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), we are often unaware of how self-deceived we are about its activities. The heart is deceitful above all things. The Bible speaks of the heart more than 400 times and it is rarely flattering (Matthew 15:18 – 19; Luke 6:45; Mark 7:18 – 23). Contrary to the philosophy of the world, the heart is not basically good but is seriously flawed and utterly corrupt. Proverbs 28:26 indicates it is foolishness to trust in your heart. This is because there is no aspect of our person that is untouched or un-perverted by the sinfulness and wickedness that lurks within us.
Necessity of Christ
The Bible also makes it clear that without Christ it is impossible to fight our inner demons and have victory. But, once we are regenerated by the Spirit of life we have the capacity for heart change. God gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), and new desires (Romans 7:18; 2 Corinthians 5:2; Hebrews 13:18), and he gives us a new mind (Romans 7:25; 8:26; 1 Corinthians 2:16). These incredible gifts of grace enable us to change through the person of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our responsibility in this relationship is to tap into the resources God has provided by reading the Scriptures, confessing our sins, praying for His help, and trusting in His faithfulness. These are the means by which we can fight against our inner demons. When we put into use the tools God has given us we can expect God to come to our aid as we fight against the flesh.
Dear friend, your strength will come through Christ’s indwelling presence in your heart (Ephesians 3:16 – 17). Meditate on His mercy, tenderness, and kindness! Consider the riches of His grace and the inexhaustible strength, power, and help that are available to you in Christ (Colossians 1:19; John 1:16). Christ died to free us from the power of sin, and the Spirit of God will help you to be victorious in your daily life. Do you believe this? Do you believe this is true about you? If not, you must spend time in Romans 6, 7, and 8. Francis Schaeffer says, “Our faith is not just a theoretical thing. It is faith amid temptation. It is faith amid tribulation. It is faith among the rough and tumble of life.” (Schaeffer, 1998, p. 132)
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our heart as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. ~2 Corinthians 1:21 – 22 (NIV)
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