Just Stop Doing It
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
I have heard many Christians preach that the solution to corrupt behavior is to Just stop it. If you are doing something destructive, just quit. It’s that simple… This has always bothered me greatly as I have known the madness of wanting to quit some caustic behavior only to find that I do not control it. It controls me.
If you are like me, Just stop it, is not helpful advice. It is not that I do not know that I should stop doing a thing. When I choose the destructive option, it is not out of ignorance. It is that I cannot seem to control it. My problem is, though I want something good tomorrow, I am a slave to what I want today. I am apparently addicted to my flesh nature. This may be somewhat amusing when it involves donuts, but my flesh has far more destructive manifestations.
Why do we fail and why do we choose destruction? Why does the drug addict use drugs? Why do we lose control to anger, greed, pride, sex, status, approval and appearance?
In my addiction, many wanted to know why. Why would you do this? How could you be so stupid? I do not know that there is any way to make someone understand other than to point to his or her defects and ask that they never engage in them again. If you are angry, never get angry again. If you lust, never lust again. Just stop doing it, forever…
Why are any of us so stupid? Why do we repeatedly engage in destructive behavior? It is because we have sown the seeds of our flesh nature to the point where it controls us. As Christians, we have been given this perfect spirit life of God but we carry it in this defective flesh. We can grow our spirit life, but in our laziness, we have fed the flesh life to the point where it owns us. We have sown the seeds of our own destruction.
Peter wrote that the flesh wages war against our souls. Jesus, in this passage, insisted that though our spirit desires what is right, the flesh opposes it. He showed us how we are to deal with this war between our flesh and spirit life, taking the desires of his flesh to God in agonizing conflict. His will did not go quietly. In distress, He wrestled his will to the ground and surrendered to the father. Thus, He purposefully fed God’s spirit in him. He did whatever it took to grow his spirit life and starve the flesh nature.
I have often wondered why I fail so much and why my spirit life seems to be so weak. It is no mystery, of course. If I spend hours in front of the TV and computer, and then give five minutes to God, I do not get to wonder why my spirit life is so anemic. If I constantly feed my flesh, I should not ask why it controls me. If I want to have a vibrant spirit life and if I want to stop failing, I need to follow Jesus and daily do whatever it takes to abandon self and pursue God.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.