I pace the floor of my basement office, from french door to bookshelf and back.
It’s cold in here. But my mind works best that way.
My finger runs past scores of titles on the shelf–
Past my Greek New Testament, Waggoner’s commentary on Isaiah, 11 journals…
Testimonies to Ministers, Conflict of the Ages, and great Christian classics.
Leather bound, paper bound, hard bound…
I find the one I’m looking for.
And I pace again, my whole posture insisting on an answer.
Temptation’s power is utterly insufficient for the man or woman who takes God at His Word, and denies the tempter’s underlying lie:
“I’ve got something better.” *
End of conversation.
But if the power of temptation is truly thus neutralized, is there no need of war?
Ahh, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
The promises are completely (and exclusively) sufficient to vanquish the enemy. The money is in your pocket already. (Do yourself a favor and depend on it, because no other currency of your own earning will pay the debt, either.)
But we are soldiers. We wrestle.
Oh, but why??
“Conversion. . .does not put new flesh upon the old spirit; but a new Spirit within the old flesh. . . Deliverance and victory are not gained by having the human nature taken away; but by receiving the divine nature to subdue and have dominion over the human.” **
Paul was surely talking of a wrestling match when he said “I keep under my body…” [better english word order would be, “I keep my body under me“]
Yet he speaks not of wrestling with the tempter… Christ Himself would not do that. ***
The tempter is to be dismissed by the Word.
But to wrestle the flesh is the work of the will.
This room is still cold.
A mild allergy to gas flame means I awaken more alert with the heat off.
The flesh hates 50 degrees in the morning. Every morning.
But I have only three choices. Stay in bed and lose Gospel battles, turn up the heat, wake up groggy, and lose Gospel steam…
Or get up anyway.
I’ll take the third.
The book slides back into it’s place on the shelf.
We must fight. White knuckled and sore armed. Discipline. Sacrifice. Self-control.
That is our battle.
There is no substitute for obedience.