Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Learning to fight well

In Romans 6:12 Paul says that based on Christ's death and resurrection in our place we have both the power and incentive to make double war against sin and temptation. He writes, "Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions."

All of us can think of temptations which seem to dog us, enticing us to sin against God again and again. We may make some show of sorrow, regret and resolve not to do it again, but often, before we know it, we're back embracing that hateful sin.
According to the Puritan theologian, John Owen, our weak warfare, in part, lies in the fact that we fail to war against the very root of the sin. He writes,
"A man may beat down the bitter fruit from an evil tree until he is weary; while the root abides in strength and vigor, the beating down of the present fruit will not hinder [the tree] from bringing forth more fruit. This is the folly of some men; they set themselves with all earnestness and diligence against the appearing eruption of lust, but, leaving the principle and root untouched, perhaps searched out, they make but little or no progress in this work of [sin] mortification [i.e. killing]." - Of The Mortification of Sin, p. 76.
What kind of war are you making against the lusts of your mind, heart and flesh today? Are you merely going after the superficial fruit (e.g. resolving to stay away from Christmas goodies for fear of gluttony or the movie theater for fear of mental lust), or are you going to the root of your temptations (confessing your deep-seated rage at not being God and not having a world which revolves around your self-gratification)? In our fight against sin, let's target the source, make war against the root and apply theological herbicide to the temptations which lure us from the heart of God.

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