What Do I Do Next?
By Michelle C. Danko
Praise God, you have given your life to Jesus! However, the story doesn’t end there. It is just the beginning of something wonderful. For many Christians, salvation begins and ends their journey. They know that when they die, they will go to Heaven. While this is very important, they don’t realize that they are missing out on what God has in store for them in terms of blessings and abundance for their life. What it boils down to, is that they find themselves in an ever present battle between the flesh, and the spirit. Some will walk in victory, and others will get taken out. However, God says if you love Him, you will obey Him. Do you truly love Him?
The choice as to what the outcome will be is entirely up to the individual, and the decisions they make. It is never an easy battle- the war against the flesh. We do have an enemy who wants to destroy us because we now look and act like his nemesis- Christ. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy.” This is Satan’s only purpose. He will wage a battle in your mind and against you in any way possible in order to take you out.
One of the most common ways is a battle in your flesh. The flesh wants what the flesh wants. It is contrary to that of the Spirit. How do you know if you are operating in the flesh? Galatians 5:19 lists them as the following:
- Adultery. Not confined to infidelity between to people, as most would think. The biblical definition of adultery also means, as outlined in Job, looking at another person with lust in your heart. Lust can take the form of admiring their body, a desire, sexual fantasies, etc. Adultery takes the focus off of your spouse and places it on another person. Adultery begins in the heart, and is a heart issue. Then it spreads outward into actions.
- Fornication. Sexual intercourse was designed for married couples as a way to express love, intimacy, and to populate the human race. It was designed, in the right context, to be pleasurable. Yet this pleasurable act does create bonds between people due to its intimate nature. Any relations outside of marriage, including anal/oral sex and masturbation fall into the area of fornication.
- Lewdness. Jokes or comments that are sexual in nature fall into this category.
- Idolatry. Anything that exalts itself higher than God. Can range from an obsession to sports, to money.
- Sorcery. The practice of magic, wizardry, witchcraft, tarot cards, fortune telling, séances, and all occult practices fall under this category. Only God can reveal your future.
- Hatred/Outbursts of Wrath. Hatred is when you deeply despise someone. The Bible says that it’s like murdering someone in your heart because you wish them harm instead of prosperity. Wrath is when you strive to get even. Vengeance is the Lord’s job, and we are to love and pray for those that persecute us.
- Jealousy/Envy. Can range from feelings of inadequacy in personal relationships, to envying what someone else has. It is a spirit of covetousness where you strongly want what someone else has.
- Selfish Ambitions/Dissentions. Selfish ambitions involve someone with their own hidden agenda. They are self-promoting, and will do anything to get what they want. Dissentions are when a person causes a rift between people, or teams of people. It is mostly done on purpose, and for personal gain. Comes in the form of complaining, back-biting, and malicious gossip.
- Drunkenness/Revelries/Party Spirit. Given to too much of anything is a sin. It falls under the heading of gluttony. This category is a sin because it is self-indulgent and pleasure based.
We have all fallen in one or more categories of this at some time. God will grant us grace as we deal with it, and try to align ourselves with His Word. However, the outcome is grim for habitual sin. Galatians 5:21 says the following:
“… Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
It can cost you your salvation.
Why is this? The answer is simple, and is found in Galatians 5:24-25:
“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
When you were saved, all of your sins were forgiven by the blood of Jesus. You were made whole, and cleansed. You were made a new creation in Christ. As part of a new creation, the old man was put to death, and a new person arose. Some past behaviors will just fall away. Others need to be worked through with the renewing of your mind, and crucifying the flesh. We need to work out our salvation, and no one said that it was easy. It involves a conscious decision to turn away from things that are not Godly. For example, if you are addicted to pornography, you know that you are not doing something that is honorable to God by looking at another person lustfully. Is the fleshly satisfaction worth the destruction to your marriage, the escalating desire for something more sexually, or the bondage that it puts you in? The flesh always leads to destruction. The answer to victory is turning to your spouse and seeing their beauty. That is crucifying the flesh. It is turning away from evil towards God’s beauty.
Many people get caught up in the difficulty of the task. They moan that it’s just too hard to break away from sin, or they just fall back into the same pattern. They conclude that they just can’t conquer whatever is holding them in bondage, and this is exactly the type of thinking that Satan desires. Walking in victory involves renewing your mind with scripture so that you can combat those thoughts with the Word. It is God who will give you the strength to break free, and nothing is impossible to those that serve Him.
The worst lie to speak is the deception that you can continue to sin, and as long as you repent, you will be forgiven. Repenting is only repenting when you mean it with your heart, and vow to turn from sin. This involves a conscious effort not to sin again.
God says that He has given you a spirit of victory. He says that you are victorious in conquering the works of the flesh. It is just a matter of what you set your mind on. Romans 7:14-25 explains the believer’s war against fleshly desires. We continually sin, but if we are quick to repent, then God is quick to forgive our sins and we are washed clean again. If we choose to focus on things of the flesh, the result is death. If we focus on the Spirit, the result is life and blessings.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. It sounds like a utopia of some sort to be able to walk in it, but through Christ it is not impossible. It involves not hating our enemies, not worrying, persevering, and being helpful, generous, good, and self-disciplined. It is the direct opposite to that of the flesh, and takes conscious effort. It is an effort worth taking, because the rewards are great. Just imagine your life with these characteristics present. Wouldn’t it be worth it?
Rest assured that God will never tempt you beyond what you are able to handle. He always provides a way of escape. We just have to find it. We only give in to temptation because it tweaks our flesh, pride, or it corrupts our thoughts. This is why believers need to know the Word, renew their mind on a daily basis, and have a relationship with Christ. This will help you to avoid disastrous pitfalls such as this. A true believer will stumble at times, but will correct themselves. They may stumble unwillingly or unknowingly, but they don’t stay in sin. One who is not walking in Christ may do some good things, but it may be for selfish gain. Their life is characterized by the works of the flesh. Nothing is done for the glory of God.
To walk in victory, realize that the Word says in Galatians 5:16-17
“Walk by the Spirit, you will not carry out the deeds of the flesh; For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are
Also realize that God calls you victorious. Satan has been defeated. God made you the head, not the tail, above not beneath. God looks after His children. All a Christian has to do is realize that they are not this way anymore- the old “me” is dead. Replace an old habit with a new one. After awhile, a new habit will form. “Putting something to death” is consciously saying that you are not going to sin anymore, and choosing not to do it. Also, if change seems too monumental, if you turn to Him, He will lead you out. You never have to gain victory alone. God wants you to win. He wants you to turn away from sin so that He can bless you abundantly beyond what you could ever imagine.
God is such a good Father! His promises to His children, His sacrifice for us, His unconditional love, and His desire for our success demonstrate the depth of His love. Sin hurts God deeply because He loves us so much. He does not want us to destroy or defile ourselves. Sin leaves a trail of hurt behind. It never leads to something good. Choose to walk in the light today, and you will guarantee an eternity for tomorrow.