Staying home to survive a pandemic seems all great and well, but what if it is wrong for your walk with Christ? Every single time you wake up not just with an inclination to want God but a wayward flesh that never stays behind. I often wonder why God didn’t take the sinful nature at the date of receiving the Holy Spirit, but that’s for another post. For some of us the extra time isn’t going well at all, we experience a rebound of our weaknesses. These for us may mean fear, apprehension, pornography, masturbation, idleness, greedy, bitterness, steady rage, unhealthy isolation, returning to relations that war against your race with Christ, etc.
Here are some approaches I have used to handle on them.
1. Why a resurface?
Trust me, it’s not quarantine that started this. It was breeding all along. We walk with a sinful nature that is interested in dominance. We are in a fight even if we don’t accept it. James says we sin when we are drawn away by our own lusts. The propensity to sin runs from a place where we are not contented in Christ. It’s like we are asserting, ‘God is being unfair because here is something ‘proper’ and he doesn’t choose for me to have it.’ That was Eve’s response to the temptation. To counter that thought, what scripture would you use?
It could be also these weaknesses somehow to entertain ourselves from our present reality. The experience is like a drunk who forgets about their problems while the ‘spirit’ is active, but after the hangover, everything comes plummeting down and is sometimes worse. It could be where you get joy, for example, by idling. It could be a ‘stress reliever’ for you. Or even to ease the lonesome feelings. Reasons should never become excuses. It’s important to find the root so we can mortify it.
2. Find Out the Truth
Jesus expressed in His prayer that God would sanctify us through truth and concluded the Word was true. Anything not justified by the Word is false. Our thoughts are wayward to the truth. Our emotions are to be blamed, but we know we have authority over our emotions. To do this, the word must be a sharpened sword in our hands to fight back the lies. We are governed by what we believe, not what we want to believe. Some nights I listen to music that counter my thoughts, it keeps me focused on the truth, rather than the turmoil in my mind. Listen to this, the Holy Spirit reminds us of Jesus’ words, verbal and written. If we don’t hear or read how will we remember?
3. Surrender to the Spirit
When I contracted dengue, one symptom was that my tastebuds were completely covered, and I lost my appetite. We may find ourselves not having an appetite for God. This is a sign that we are spiritually sick. Who came for the sick? Jesus. He is the One who works in us, both on our will and desires. True prayer gives God access to our hearts. When we aren’t running or hiding from His presence but transparent, authentic, vulnerable, humble- accessible.
4. Learn Self Control
Self control is more than bodily restrictions, it’s about where your heart is. Self-restraint that doesn’t honour God is not what he desires. I know persons who have strict diets, a couple of fast days, restrictions from Television or social media etc. but it is an effort to either lift themselves. I have tried to win God’s favour by works. I found out soon enough that I can’t. The favour of God is not something I can work for, but it is a gift. Just like everything God gives us. Therefore, in my desires to exhibit that part of the fruit of the Spirit, I must ask the Spirit to help me.
Starve your weaknesses. When are you most vulnerable? Avoid those situations that breeds it. What triggers your taste for it? What thoughts always precede the act? Watch them, find the truth and attack them before the act. (The video below gives more wisdom on this.)
5. Confess It
The church has long debated what this means, whether it’s in the presence of the entire congregation or just to a trusted brother. I believe it can be both. The church should be so filled with grace and truth that if a man confesses pedophilia, we would never think to hold it against him but everyone would cry so earnestly, you would think they are the ones struggling with it. After prayer, a few men would rally around him not saying, ‘Don’t, don’t, don’t!’ He already knows that if he’s sincere. But as a support system he is not afraid to say when he’s tempted, never failing to remind him of truth. Unfortunately, in most assemblies, that is not the case. My only advice is to pray and study about the best to approach it. The Word says we recieve healing through it. It also dispels shame that keeps us from God and replaces it with a sorrow that leads to God.
I really hope this helps in your journey of holiness. The video below was really edifying for me. Real biblical wisdom. Remember that you are never beyond the reach of God, even if you are tired of your own self. I know what that feels like and that my friend is a lie. Remember, you are precious.