Friday, March 12, 2010
Title: Waging the War Within
The Bible Passage: Romans 8:1-17
Key Words: “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13)
“I am a mother and I kill…”
That somber confession of a woman over the radio caught my immediate attention. Was that a serial killer on the loose?
She went on to describe how she mercilessly searched and destroyed Aedes mosquito larvae at home. It turned out to be an awareness campaign on dengue fever prevention! No empty container was left unturned. Her single-minded zeal to terminate pesky breeding ground was motivated by a fierce love for her children’s well-being.
It’s a serious fight to the death: Kill or be killed.
In a similar way, the failure to nail sin to the grave is lethal business. If we live under the domination of the flesh, we will die. But if by the Spirit’s power we are actively killing sin, we will live in holy freedom.
The mindset of our sinful nature is hostile to God. But if our minds are absorbed in what the Holy Spirit wants, it will lead to life and peace (v6).
Although we could not perfectly fulfill the demands of God’s law due to our inclination towards sin, the indwelling Spirit gives us fresh desire, discipline and determination to set ourselves apart from evil. This continual growth in holiness is a mark of our vital Father-child relationship with God Himself (v15). It is proof that we have been accepted into His family.
But how do we go about killing the “misdeeds of the body”?
- Sensitize ourselves to the ugly face of sin. Contrary to popular notions, sin is not funny or cool. It is hostile rebellion against God, making us His sworn enemies.
- Soak our mind on the things of the Spirit as revealed in His inspired Word. Be passionately immersed in what is true, good and beautiful.
- Stop flirting with sin. Don’t play around with temptation. Know your own areas of weaknesses. Remove its roots. Give it no room to breathe.
- Show no mercy. As Jesus hyperbolically put it, we must gouge out the eye that causes sin and cut off the offending hand (Matthew 5:29). Be ruthless and vigilant. Sin must be dealt with deadly force.
“Be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you” - John Owen