Abstain from Fleshly Lusts That War Against Your Soul

If we have the realization that we are aliens and strangers in this world, it will make a difference in our spiritual walk.

The first thing you should know is that you will always feel the lusts of the flesh or sinful desires that war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11). But then it is a proof that you are a child of God. You are living in enemy territory and therefore you are targeted.

The second thing to remember is that you should not have a friendship with the world. Most of us love to have fellowship with God and also be friends with the world. This cannot be because the Bible says anyone who is a friend of the world makes himself or herself an enemy of God (James 4:4). There is no compromise on this truth.

But we are ever so forgetful. We need constant reminders. The Israelites were asked to live in booths made of leaves for a week. This festival was known as the Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths. The great proclamation of Jesus: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink (John 7:37)” came at the end of one such feast.

Living in booths reminded the people that God had led them out of slavery in Egypt and led them in the desert for forty years (Leviticus 24:43). Barclay comments: “The historical significance of all this was to remind the people in unforgettable fashion that once they had been homeless wanderers in the desert without a roof over their heads.”

Now booths were made of leaves and they were a temporary shelter. It reminded them that earth is not their permanent home. They had a heavenly calling and a heavenward journey. The thirst they felt during this time should remind them that God alone satisfies. Remember once again the invitation of Jesus to find your satisfaction of thirst in him.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in earlier times lived as aliens and strangers. They dwelt in tents. They lived as sojourners on earth (see Hebrews 11:8–10, 13). What a great example they have set in this regard to remind us that we are just passing through this earth.

Let us be honest here. Is there anything about our lifestyle, our behaviour, or our attitudes that communicate to others that we are travellers to our heavenly country and home?

Often we are eager to be part of the crowd. We want to please all our friends. We compartmentalize God to Sundays and our fellowship meetings. And like what the Jewish leaders did on good Friday evening we too place a guard to make sure that God remains part of our walk and talk only on Sundays and fellowship meetings. We talk very differently with our friends at our office. They find us no different from them!

Sorry dear brother and sister, your pretense won’t do. Seek God earnestly. Jesus attended the synagogue every Sabbath. But he lived out his relationship with God in the marketplace. He spent time with God in prayer alone and in lonely places; but he was no hermit or sanyasi living away from people. And those who saw him and mingled with him knew he was a man sent from God.

Remember if you are truly following Jesus, the world will hate you (John 15:18, 19). The preaching of the cross will offend people. The prosperity gospel to which we all are or were attracted to is Satan using the bait of worldly kingdoms to have all of us worship him. The road is broad there. You will have the company of unbelievers there.

If sin and judgement and hell is not preached; then you are at a place which worships Santa Claus and not Jesus Christ. Your love for Jesus should be greater than the love and devotion you show to your local church or fellowship. We are living in times of great deception. Unless we are alert to the truth that we have no friendship with the world we might have no second chance.

It is a warning not only to you but also to me. Do not rest your assurance of salvation on your church membership, your works of charity, your donations to ministry or your spiritual gifts.

Be alert. Stay awake. Be watchful. Jesus is coming like a thief in the night.

Be always reminded that you are not a permanent resident here but only a traveller; travelling on in hope. That will give you courage to abstain from fleshly lusts that war against your soul.

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