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This time of uncertainty and increased isolation is ripe with temptation. But it is also a time ripe for growth. God intends that we rely on him, the strength he provides, day in and day out. Times of temptation and failure remind us in intense ways of our true need for his forgiveness and also his sustaining grace. We don’t save ourselves through our own strength and we don’t put sin to death in our own strength. We need God’s grace to obey his commands. So how do we find more success and growth during this time than temptation and failure? While there are many plans and places we could use, I would like to offer a place to start.
First and foremost, look to Christ. Before commanding the Christian to put to death what is earthly, namely, sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry, Paul tells the Christian to “seek the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on thing that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4, see also Philippians 4:8-9) Many of us go straight to trying to kill our sin by setting boundaries, external aids and trying to muster up the will to stop sinning (whatever our struggle). Paul starts with the truths of the gospel. We put sin to death because Christ has defeated the power of sin and death by dying for our sin in our place. I don’t muster the strength from within, I cry out for mercy and help to the one who laid down his life for me and promises to bring this work of salvation to completion on the day of the Lord. Then by faith, I put those boundaries, etc. in place to obey the commands to put my sin to death and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. At the same time I take steps to set my mind on things above.
Looking to Christ is not trying to work a system; it is looking to the person, Jesus. As I see him, who he is, his heart for me, his work accomplished in living and dying for my sin, my heart is changed. This is a process, not all at once, but my enjoyment of sin decreases as my enjoyment of God increases. Set your minds on Christ through God’s word. Think on these things, systematically and with purpose during this time of greater isolation. To help with that you can find some additional resources using the links below. Lastly, let me encourage you to reach out to your pastors, elders, mentors and accountability partners regularly. Don’t wait until you fall or in the middle of intense temptation; reach out now for prayer, encouragement and as part of setting your mind on things above.
Beggar’s Daughter has resources and help on this topic specifically written for women: beggarsdaughter.com