Defeating Self

Colossians 3:5 (ESV)
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

For the person struggling in sin, there is a direct correlation to their degree of self-life, or pride, and the continuation of the sinful act. Consequently, these two end up strengthening one another. As pride becomes stronger, the more poisonous the sin envelops the body. The more often he gives in to the sin, the more self-centered he will become.

But Christ can change this cycle: It requires that the person must truly be a follower of Christ and willing to do the same thing that Jesus asked of those who wanted to follow Him 2000 years ago: “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

This means going beyond religion. It’s good to acknowledge your sins and be a part of a church and follow a particular style of worship service, but as long as self remains on the throne of your heart, your lust will still be in control and nothing will change.

You have to go deeper. You have to see the rebellion as an affront to God and put your complete trust in Jesus to give you the strength truly repent and overcome. This cannot happen until you abdicate your role as ruler over your life.

What does a life with Jesus in charge look like? It looks a lot like love (1 John 3:14; John 13:35).

When you possess this capacity to love, your selfish inward focus will shift outwards, and you will be more consumed with loving others than loving your own selfish desires. This is much more than just being a “nice guy”. This kind of love is sacrificial; you begin to desire to serve others instead of yourself (see Luke 11:41).

When your focus moves in such a direction, you begin to see people as God sees them—not as objects for your pleasure. You see them as Imago Dei, just like you, and you recognize their own hurts, struggles, and problems; and it puts such a burden on you that you feel compelled to act upon it. This is what it means to be a Christian.

Sin is born in the heart (Mark 7:23), therefore it is the heart that needs the surgery. One of the best weapons to cure such a dark heart is learning to care about and pray for other people. God so much wants His people to pray for one another. And as a person learns to intercede for the needs of other people, a transformation will begin to occur. The Taker becomes the Giver.

Take stock and close the doors of opportunity the enemy has to gain control of your lusts. Develop a thankful spirit, and see people through the eyes of God instead of the dead man that was crucified with Christ.

Freedom can truly be found in the cross, once you allow Jesus victory over self.