Day 72: Hesitation to Run

RUNNING HEAD STRONG

The path towards freedom can be frustrating at times. The world is full of obscene sexual content that can seemingly derail those who strive towards purity. Have you ever been going strong in your walk towards freedom when suddenly you see an image that starts a spiral into severe temptation? I certainly experienced moments like this frequently, and it nearly drove me insane. I remember the feeling that would come over me when I'd see something, and I knew it meant trouble.

As we near the end of the course, it is incredibly important that we examine how we can weather whatever temptations may arise. We need to learn how to become unbreakable. While there are certainly sources of temptations that we can cut out or avoid, the world is full of temptation and we need a plan to deal with it when it happens. This is where amputation meets practicality. Remember from an earlier lesson when we talked about “bouncy eyes”? Having "bouncy eyes" means that whenever you encounter temptation, you immediately “bounce” your eyes and thoughts away from it. This is a key in strengthening the purity of our hearts and minds. It may sound like it's too simplistic of an approach, but it’s often the second glance that gets us into trouble.

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But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. -Matthew 5:28

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, -Matthew 6:22

MOMENTS OF WEAKNESS

Run from those moments of weakness, train yourself to resist the enemy both physically and mentally. During my struggle, I had to be cautious about when I went to the gym. It is obvious why, many women like to dress promiscuously at the gym.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. -Ephesians 4:11-16

There are several implications this passage has for our discussion about purity and handling temptation. Foremost, verse 14 details what it looks like before we have matured in Christ and in his body - the church: As "infants" we are swayed by the schemes of evil. In other words, we are caught off-guard by evil and temptation. These "infants" make the mistake of assuming that there are not forces which seek to work against them. Even worse, when they are under attack they are blown away by it; they cannot weather the assault and discern the truth. If this is where we start, how can we mature?

Verses 11 and 12 explain how Christ establishes his people to be gifted in various areas so that they may be mutually edifying. As Christians and a part of the church, we are meant to be in this together - growing and maturing alongside one another to reach unity in faith and knowledge of Christ. Increasing in faith and knowledge within the unified body of Christ (the church) leads to a wonderful result: we are perfected into the full measure of the stature of Christ. In doing so, we will discern and speak truth while holding steadfast in times of tribulation.

Boiling this passage down to its core reveals the root of what is being said:

  • Individually we are infants, quickly overcome by any influence we encounter
  • As Christians, we are part of something larger than ourselves. We are able to grow and heal in the true community of believers
  • Together we mature and become more unified and solidified in Christ, able to withstand that which would have previously devastated us
  • In maturity, we play a part in the community of believers, utilizing our strengths and weaknesses to love others

STRIKING A BLOW TO OUR BODIES

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. -1 Corinthians 9:27

Like Paul, we must “strike a blow” to our bodies, teaching them the reality of who we are now. (Be careful here... we're not condoning mutilation) It’s an aggressive thing to do, and it takes an aggressive approach to sin to implement this truth. The old you is dead and gone when you gave your life to Christ. The new you has no place for sexual immorality:

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We feel at times that our bodies are out of control, as if that temptation will never cease until we give in. This is a lie; we have the power to overcome those thoughts before they can take root. By quickly rebuking temptation and running the other direction (both physically and mentally) we are making a stand against the enemy, in turn developing a healthy habit of denying sin.

Controlling our eyes is just one facet of maturing in Christ. Ultimately what we want to take away from this lesson is that there are many ways in which we can grow out of and far away from sin. Many of these methods have been laid out in this course, but The Risen is not the end-all-be-all. Find ways to continue to grow on the outset of this course. Keep up with your accountability partners, read the Word of God, pray, worship, and always remain teachable.

Day 72 Application

What does a typical temptation scenario look like for you? Why do you think the Bible describes our eyes as "the lamp of the body?"

Do you find yourself easily falling into sin through seemingly innocent lustful glances? What are some ways that you can mature in Christ after this course is complete?

Do you find yourself easily falling into sin through seemingly innocent lustful glances? What are some ways that you can mature in Christ after this course is complete?

What implications does Galatians 6:1-4 have for us if we hope to help others who are struggling? How can you "watch yourself"?