Monday, June 10, 2013

Praying for wholesome desires

"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul." (1 Peter 2:11).

That's hard to do. My sinful desires are always cropping up, willfully and forcefully. Even Paul had that problem.

"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:15).

In a way, it is a comfort to read that Paul struggled with this. He wasn't a superhero, immune to the sins of the flesh and impervious to the influence of the culture. He was a real guy, and he struggled with putting the 'old man' down. We are a new creation in Jesus, but as long as we are in the flesh, we still struggle with the sin that wants to influence us to do evil actions.

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:13).

Pulpit Commentary sums up that petition contained in the Lord's Prayer that we are to make: "The words are a cry issuing from a deep sense of our personal weakness against the powers of evil."

Personal weakness indeed! For me, it is a total helplessness, the only antidote of which is for the Holy Spirit to aid me. For is is the Spirit which reveals the things of Christ and thus, His holy desires for us. (John 16:14).

Do a word search in an online bible for "desires" and see how often the word appears, to the negative. (1 Timothy 6:9, 2 Timothy 4:3, Ephesians 2:3, Acts 15:29, Romans 6:12, and so on)

The good news for those of us who believe is, the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross means that He broke that domination. (Galatians 5:24). As He gradually sanctifies us, making us a new creation, we will always struggle on this side of the veil, but the Spirit helps us reflect Jesus as He conforms us to His likeness, day by day. (Ezekiel 36:27). The fruits of the Spirit are proof that the new creation in us is growing. (Galatians 5:19-21).

The process isn't passive. Peter said that this is a war. Sinful desires are waging war in your flesh. They won't win in the end, because Jesus will perfect us at the resurrection. But meanwhile, these sinful desires have an influence on us because our flesh isn't glorified yet. So, Peter says to abstain.

A powerful weapon in our arsenal is to pray for wholesome desires. We abstain, or as Joseph did, run. (Genesis 39:11-13). We also submit to the helpful influence of the Holy Spirit by actively praying for Him to substitute the old sinful desires into wholesome ones!

What a great thing, to honor Jesus by praying that He place within our hearts the desires of HIS heart! Doing this glorifies Him. Jonathan Edwards said,

"God’s purpose for my life was that I have a passion for God’s glory and that I have a passion for my joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.”

Praying for wholesome desires draws us into that happy circle ever tighter, the center of which is our Holy God, the effectual Spirit, and our faithful and true Savior.

His Goodness to us is infinite and a complete delight to continually discover. He helps us in our need and in our weakness. Thank you Father.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever." (Psalm 136:1)

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this, I needed to hear it as I'm struggling mightily against my flesh and have been for several months. This gave me much encouragement.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Pray to the Spirit for Him to instill wholesome desires, and He will. He will help you! 100% guaranteed. :) Peace be unto you, Brethren

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  2. This encouraged me too. This is like a daily, even hourly battle. Sometimes I think I am alone. Thanks for showing I'm not and that God is the only one who can help and that he is mighty and faithful to do so!

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