Many believers are concerned with overcoming the flesh and living in victory so they won’t have distractions, now that the Christmas season over, and the new year has begun. Especially as we recognize the end times that we are living in, we see the stepped up call to live not in two worlds but solely in Gods advancing Kingdom here. Legalism and condemnation have kept many who would follow the Lord in bondage, and having given up on change, they have fallen into complacency. But, now is not the time for complacency but a new consecration to the Lord and His ways.
God needs us to be no longer spiritual babies but mature in Him, and He has made the way, if well trust Him and step out has the full-grown royal priesthood that we have been made to be.
So how do we overcome, especially if we have tried and tried. The secret, I’ve found, which the Word teaches, is depending on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Legalistic teaching has put many people under condemnation, telling people to be holy. We are indeed called to holy lives, yet we can’t do it unless we know God’s way. It is He who is our victory.
We may have prayed for victory over the years, but have we prayed in faith, believing that God living in us can overcome in us our weaknesses and wrongful desires? Are we confident, and do we even realize that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). But as Jesus told the apostles who had fallen asleep at the Garden of Gethsemane: “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38).
Paul knew the answer by revelation, which he shared in Rom 7 and 8: “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25). “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
When tempted, walk according to the Spirit by thinking on and speaking Gods Word, as Jesus did when tempted by the devil. We overcome by focusing on Jesus, not our sin. Sin consciousness is the wrong focus, and leads to a downward spiral, away from the Lord. When a child misbehaves, diversion is one of the best remedies. That is true in the spirit also. So, when tempted, change the subject, and think upon the things of the Lord. You can’t be thinking of two things at once. Think about, for example, the wonderful truth of who you are in Christ.
Scripture confirms this. After we pray with thanksgiving and receive the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds that had been experiencing anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7), we think/meditate on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Vs. 8).
As we do this, repeating as necessary, and go about our business with the praise of God on our lips and in our hearts, we have submitted to God and resisted the devil James 4:7, so temptations leave and the enemy flees for a season. And we can victoriously go forth to do those things God has called us to do without the distractions the enemy tries to put on us.
Do this in every situation, and watch condemnation flee and joy arise as you live in victory serving the Lord and His Kingdom in the new year. You don’t need a New Year’s resolution that is doomed to failure. Rather, trust in the keeping grace of God, focus on the things of the Lord and not your sin, and declare and walk in your victory. And you don’t have to wait. You can begin right now.