By Robert Wurtz II
The tendency among some is to believe that the only solution for getting people to live righteously is to place them under a 'law.' When we see this an understanding of walking in the Spirit must againt be taught.
It is impossible to do with the law (Old Covenant) what only being dead to the 'law of sin' can do. The law was weak through the flesh because it only has the power to revive rebellion in our hearts against God. You can't die to the law of Moses unless you likewise die to the 'law of sin.' If you are in the 'flesh' you come under the law- but if you walk in the Spirit you are free from the law.
If we submit ourselves to God and turn to trust in Him in genuine repentance- we will be born again. The 'old man' is dead as is signified by baptism and buried with Christ. We come out of the water to walk with Christ (as it were) in the power of His resurrection- knowing Him also in the fellowship of His sufferings. When we do these things we have not destroyed the law- but we fulfill it and establish it.
***OBSTACLES TO WALKING IN THE SPIRIT***
The following are not legalistic 'laws' to impose on oneself, but are biblical methods to advise us in our control of the flesh.
"I Can Handle It?"
I heard the story once that a man who was once an alcoholic wanted to show the devil after he was born again that he could 'handle' the bottle now. So, he carried a bottle of whiskey in his back pocket as a show of strength. "I'm going to show the devil I'm stronger than this bottle." Well, you guessed it, it wasn't long until the top was popped on the bottle!
Whether that story was ever real or a parable, a lot of Christians do the exact same thing in their lives. They think they can show the devil that they can handle certain things that have always been a stumbling block to them. This is not a show of strength; it is utter foolishness. If you make provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts- the flesh will take what you give it!
We are warned in Hebrews to do two things:
1) Lay aside EVERY weight
2) Exercise your senses to discern good from evil
LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT
If there are two things defeated Christians do it is to refuse to lay aside weights. They know the need to throw their VCR, DVD player, or Internet service into the trash and won't do it. Some may not need to, but others know they need to. They know they need to trash their wine collection and won't do that either. Or they may know they need to stop calling that certain friend who is a serious hinderance; but again, they find an excuse (as with the other weights) to keep calling them (or keeping the weights around).
If you are allowing stepping stones to exist in your life you know that you will walk that path in a time of weakness! When you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired- you are VULNERABLE to the flesh (C. Stanley h.a.l.t.). Having some BIG gaps back to you sins allows God time to provide a way to escape. When you have your sin beside your bed or in the 'fridge' it is kind of hard to maintain victory. The devil wants you to be able to sin SO QUICK that you have already sinned before your conscience can kick in.
Thse are your BESETTING sins I am referring to. True Christians have a general HATRED of sin. Sometimes strongholds still exist and have to be dealt with. It is foolish to try to tempt yourself by making all kind of provisions for the flesh. Blessed is the man that condemneth not himself (herself) in the thing that he/she alloweth.
EXERCISE YOUR SENSES
Nothing sows to the flesh like allowing instruments of sin in our homes and then we activate them like a seed spreader sowing seeds to the flesh. Before long the flesh rises up into a GIANT and we feel helpless to do anything. Our appetite for sin increases and our appetite for God decreases. Can this happen to Christians? Sure! That is why Paul said he had to bring his body into subjaction (literally in Greek... punch his flesh under the eye) lest when he preached to others he- himself would be disqualified (adokimos). Control your senses. Control what goes in your eyes and ears and mouth, etc.
Exercise your senses to discern good and evil and you will better control your tongue to speak good and not evil. Your tongue gives you the print out of the inside of your heart. What comes out of my mouth?
Talking about sin in a nonproductive and helpful way is dangerous! Talking suggestively with little catch slang or nasty talk is very dangerous. The tongue is the rudder that is guiding the ship. Control the senses and control the tongue.