Second to getting born again, making the decision to walk in purity is the hardest decision I ever made. I have probably been living in denial of that. I accepted it the day I read Elisabeth Elliot’s ‘Passion and Purity’.
You see, the bible says the flesh is constantly against the spirit. Paul puts it well when he says the good he wants to do he does not, but that which he doesn’t want to do he does. Elisabeth Elliot confirms this by writing her love story in the book. I confirm this too. The flesh fails us big time!
I believe many, if not all Christians, want to live a life that is pleasing to God. But often we give in to the demands of the flesh and that spoils everything. But these demands are overwhelming. I mean, who wants to live a life that looks plain and flat, in the eyes of the world? But because we’ve been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, we have to do the things that please the one who bought us. There’s no other way, we have to beat our bodies.
Elisabeth Elliot describes her story of how Jim Elliot revealed his feelings towards her but then they weren’t certain it was God’s will for them to marry. Then they had to part as God was positioning them to different places. These moments were accompanied by the passion they felt towards each other against the desire to walk purely and follow God’s leading. However, God was molding them and they learnt great lessons individually. At one instance Jim wrote to Elisabeth telling her not to let the desire to see each other slay the appetite of living. Elisabeth learnt to surrender her will and to live one day at time. She learnt to depend on God for strength. Finally God brought them together and they married.
Back to my story. I made a decision to get born again. By this I was saying no to a bunch of things that are pleasing to my flesh. I was simply beginning a war. Like Elisabeth Elliot says in her book ‘Let me be a woman’, to chose to do something is to chose not to do a million other things. The things you chose not to do are the ones that give us pleasure, more often than not.
Giving my life to Christ meant walking in holiness. Holiness included a life of sexual purity. And there the struggle came in heavily. You see, being born again doesn’t disqualify sin from your life. But how you deal with it makes the whole lot of difference.
My desire to maintain purity has been accompanied by these passions that come and go. I make a covenant with my heart but my emotions are the first to betray my decision and will to keep pure. I tell my heart to focus on God but my emotions whisper, “Look who is next to you.” I scold them but they still return, “Are you sure you don’t want to look?” It’s been a real tug of war. Men, this robe of flesh fails me big time!
At the peak of the struggle is when I realize just how weak I am on my own. Like am capable of doing many blunders on my own. But the power of the cross dawns on me. How Jesus conquered death and sin for my sake. And how He is willing to help me out in my struggles. It’s beautiful how He sent me a helper, His Spirit, to help me out in my struggles. He intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express! I smile at this point, when I realize just how much victory is on my side.
I’ve a big role to play- bringing my love life under the lordship of Jesus. I can no longer continue giving in to sin. When Christ redeemed me, my old self was put to death. I became a new creation. Allowing sin to reign in me would be like resurrecting that old self that is already dead! The slightest of thoughts that do not please Him is sin. I cannot pick up that old sinful nature. It would be crucifying Jesus all again!
I am still in my flesh and will continue to be till Jesus comes for me. I have to keep giving myself to Him. When He returns sin will be conquered. That gives me a reason to await His glorious return, when this robe of flesh shall remain here on earth, and I’ll soar with Him to heaven, where I’ll no longer have to struggle with passions.
Reading the book ‘Passion and Purity’ was awesome. I was inspired to keep fighting. If I remain in Christ I’ll eventually win the race. You could get yourself a copy of the same book. 🙂