1 Peter 2:11-12 – “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” NKJV
I know of a situation where a man who was often caught succumbing to fleshly temptation blamed God for his problem. He said, “God made me this way and if He wants me to abstain then He needs to deliver me.” My response is, SERIOUSLY? You actually want to blame God for your failures!
I believe, have learned, and demonstrated in my life that there is a need for God’s deliverance but there is also a need for discipline and willpower. In truth, God delivered us when he saved us but if we are going to walk out that gift in this earthly life we will have to exercise discipline, restraint, and willpower. God will not force you to be chaste or practice fidelity but will help you if you truly want His help.
The urgency of Peter in this cannot be overlooked. He says, “…I beg you…” I am not just suggesting but pleading with you that YOU ABSTAIN. Notice, he did not say, “I plead with you that you be delivered from fleshly lusts but that YOU ABSTAIN…” The part we play in this is inescapable. Peter reminds us of the ETERNAL and the fact that we are only here on this planet temporarily. The clear message is that we are passing through headed to our heavenly home where that type of behavior would be completely foreign, therefore it should be foreign to us here.
He also reminds us that by so doing we will present conduct that is recognized by those outside the faith and then when we decry evil they have something to base our words on. Our honoring of the directives of the LORD and keeping ourselves free from fleshly lust gives authority to our words and may well be the catalyst that opens the eyes of someone outside the faith. However, if we are not chaste, and do not abstain from fleshly lusts but live just as the world in the pursuit of passion and infidelity our words have no impact and are like rain falling on a tin barn.
I have long prayed for the LORD to give me the courage, determination, strength and willpower to “resist the devil” in all things and at all times. Someone said, “You’d better not pray that way because when you do it is like asking for patience. You will be tested.” Although there is truth to that I have found that when my heart overflows with a desire to live pleasingly to the LORD and the want to with regard to resistance to fleshly temptations regardless of their nature, GOD HELPS ME! Through the years, I have learned that those who fall prey to fleshly lusts are seldom caught off guard in the heat of the moment. If they honestly backtrack they find that they opened little doors here and there and invited the temptation to either come or continue. Maybe it was flattery. Maybe it was the thought of momentary pleasure. Maybe it was deception but regardless of the root, the door was left open at least a little.
That is another reason we are told to “resist the devil and he will flee from us.” Do not allow thoughts or visuals to have a welcome place in your mind. When on a tour in Israel our guide told us to hide our belongings before leaving the bus saying, “What the eye cannot see the heart will not lust after.” That applies in virtually all areas of life. If we do not allow our minds eyes or natural eyes to entertain a temptation the heart will not long for it. Therefore, we need not only the deliverance of the LORD but the strength, determination, and dedication to exercise willpower.
May the LORD be with you as you go through this day in His strength!