How do I overcome my sinful desires? The most effective way to overcome sinful desires is by allowing yourself to be bent constantly by the word of life, which has the effect of renewing your mind. Surrender willingly to the will of God, that which is perfect, good, and pleasing.
There is something Paul taught which looks controversial yet it is an eye-opener. Romans 8:5-8 explain the disadvantages of walking in the flesh, for those who do so cannot please God. However, in verse 7 he reveals that we are led by the Spirit and not in the flesh. I believe every true Christian is not in the flesh.
You are not in the flesh
Does that mean Christians can not struggle with the flesh? No. Even though our flesh sometimes faces some challenges, we are not slaves to sin, we just happen to be in the world. The world system is flawed and most of the time Christians are caught up in it. That is why there is a need to be fully separated from the world. (1 John 2:15-17)
Paul demonstrates the same struggle in Romans Chapter 7, by declaring that he sometimes does not understand his own actions. “for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15). You have to understand that we leave in the evil days and everything around us seems to be challenging our faith and contending for our attention, to draw our focus from Christ.
We are not of this world
2 Corinthians 10:3 tells us that “though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does; for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments, speculations, ideologies, and every proud obstacle that sets itself against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.”.
We are not of this world, but we happen to live in it for the time being. The enemy and his principalities target our minds, as they are the battlefield for spiritual warfare. That is why the evil desires we contend against emanate from the mind. It is our responsibility as Christians to resist the enemy and he shall flee from us. (James 4:7-8)
It should be noted that God does not tempt anyone, but man is tempted when he is lured and ensnared by his own desires. “then desire when it conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15)
It is paramount to guard your heart with all due diligence from it flow issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23).
Christ in you the hope of glory
This mystery has been hidden for ages but now it is revealed, which is Christ in us the hope of glory (Colossians 26:27). This is what made Paul bold to declare “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by Faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”. (Galatians 2:20)
If Christ dwells in you, allow Him to perfect you by increasing in grace through the knowledge of the gospel. “For we were predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ”. (Romans 8:29)
You are called to freedom in Christ
Galatians 5:1 declares that “for freedom, Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery”. However, we are supposed to use our freedom, not as an opportunity for the flesh but to serve one another in love.
Most Christians struggle with certain things because they have not realized the freedom and authority they have in Christ Jesus. They are still holding on to the traditions of men and making their conscience guilty of sin.
Look at what Paul taught about those who intend to keep the law (this does not mean the law is evil).
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.
This is the reason why the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56). Sin tries its best to find opportunity in the righteous law. That is why Christ commands us to exercise love since the entire law is summarized to love.
Crucify the flesh and its desire
You might wonder how do I crucify my flesh? Galatians 5:24 declares “and those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”.
This is a call to exercise self-control and take responsibility for our actions as God’s stewards of His holy temple, which is our body. (Ezekiel 18:4-9, 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, 5:16-17).
Learn to deny your body what it desires and feed your spirit man instead. (Galatians 5:16-17). Christ is in you; therefore, you are able to do it by His Grace. It is a good spiritual discipline to learn to say no to all ungodliness. (Titus 2:11-12)
Again, Jesus taught in Matthew 5:29-30, that if anything causes us to sin, we should refrain from it. If spending time online feeds your porn addiction then only visit the internet when it is necessary and keep yourself busy doing constructive things.
The other strategy to crucify your flesh is allowing your mind to be renewed by the word of God (Romans 12:1-2). Immerse yourself deep into the word which is a cleanser (John 17:17) that sanctifies you through and through bringing forth the perfect man. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. (Colossians 3:16).
Sons learn to overcome
There are different dimensions of maturity in Christ as illustrated by John in 1 John 2:12-14. There are Christians who are still babies in the word, which is clearly seen in 1 Corinthians 3:2 when Paul admonished the Corinthians for their lack of spiritual maturity. Others are sons and some are fathers.
Allow me to break down this concept. In 1 John 2:12, he writes, “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name”. In this verse, John is addressing new converts and Christians who have refused to mature. That is why they have to be handled every time like children or babies.
In verse 14 John writes, “I write to you fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young man, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
Here we see that sons are those who have embraced the word, and studied it, to the extent that the word produces in them Wisdom and the grace to overcome the enemy and his evil schemes. While the fathers are those who have walked faithfully with the Lord just like Abraham and the Apostles did. By this, they have developed a deep relationship with Christ that can not be challenged, meaning they live for Christ, and are willing to die for him.