Have you given in to desire, lust, feelings, temptations, or evil thoughts in an attempt to find peace or a settled mind? Or have you just given in or given up fighting these thoughts or temptations? Are you thinking that your struggle is over and you may relax and enjoy the ride after giving in? Your choice to give in may be far worse and the height of self-deception to think that life is better and more peaceful giving in to desire.
Why are you seeking validation from others if you have finally accepted who you are? What is the purpose of parading with such pride if this is only you walking in your reality ‘doing me?’ Does it not bother to you that others may be hurt, harmed or alienated by your choice to disregard restraint, overlook a higher call for your existence, dig deep for strength to overcome, or just stand still and wait for God’s intervention.
Scripture teaches us that the struggle to pursue the best behaviors and attitudes is part of the success of living in this world. That is the tone of the Apostle Paul’s message to the Colossian Church, “. . . set your hearts on things above . . . set your minds on things above . . .Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature;” (Colossians 3:2-5 NIV) No one can expect life to be better giving up or giving in to thoughts and desires when the struggle will generate some form of victory and/or possibility of overcoming. And how can one expect peace when allowing desire and temptation to run their course in life?
Giving in to emotions, desire, inclinations, lusts, cannot and will not make a better person. Giving in to rebellion to a reasonable standard for human experience and existence, interactions with others, divine purposes and plans, reasonable ambitions and goals, ideas about culture, family and social structure, or a general sense of self-image and self-concept; none of these renders one at peace or frees one to be all that they can possibly be. It is deceptive to think that one can live without restraint or discipline to resist being overtaken by feelings and desires. Just because something feels good doesn’t mean that it is good for you! The high call to virtue, principle and love is a call to resist evil and any inclinations one may have to fall into its lusts and desires.
In fact, giving in limits the scope of one’s own possibility. An individual usually becomes defined by what he/she gives in to rather than realizing the fullness of potential or possibilities that may have existed for them in life. The alcoholic will be viewed as an alcoholic once he/she decides to give in and let alcohol rule and run its course in their lives. When one gives in to drugs, an addictive lifestyle becomes the only choice offering one a helpless, homeless, and hopeless life. Adultery destroys relationships and trust leaving one known as an adulterer. The unfortunate result is that a life given over to its lusts and temptations or desire is not good . . . “those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21b NIV) Whether it is giving in, giving up, coming out, going in, turnt up, or whatever phrase or clause may be used, the results are all the same. A person is defined by the affects of ‘giving in’ and will limit where one can go or what potential, possibility, or prospect of hope may be realized in life. The end result is not good.
If one gives in to consider only immature subjects, growing old there will be only immature subject matter to consider or even talk about. If one pursues the night life and all of its offerings, it may limit one’s pursuits for greater achievements or better, more in-depth ambitions or goals. While one is giving their best time, greatest energies, deepest thoughts to lesser or minor things, feelings, or desire, there will be little time for major long-range concepts, purposes, or fulfillment. Giving in to the lesser is never a great choice when there is always the possibility for greater and better . . . in attitudes, physically, mentally, emotionally, behaviorally, and spiritually. Giving in locks one into where they gave in and to what they have given in to in life.
Some people have struggled with feelings, thoughts, behaviors, habits, desires, lusts, and for a lifetime to discover that the struggle is their access to victory, deliverance, breakthrough or change, for a better life. It is a sad deception to think that accepting desires or lusts as one’s reality for a normal walk of life will bring validation, freedom or peace. “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh . . .” –Galatians 5:13 NKJV
Choose a better attitude or a higher hope for your life. Don’t just give up or give in to what you think you want. Don’t allow your feelings to overwhelm you into thinking that this is who I am. Why settle, seeking peace when you can fight to find peace and fulfillment? When it is all over with this life, will you be able to say “I have fought the good fight?” (Philippians 4:7a NKJV) Consider how you can overcome “. . . the lust of the flesh” to realize your victory. But it will never happen as long as you just give in.
Of course, the struggle is real! And it is a day by day reality to stay ahead in the fight. “. . . the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Galatians 5:16 NKJV) But it is a far better hope to choose struggle than to fall for the deception that one will be better or more at peace giving in to personal issues of lust and desire.
Why this hard argument against giving in you say? Well, the reality is that these bodies in which we live wherein lie all of our desire and lusts will not survive our move from time into eternity. It would be sad to invest heavily or throw everything into something that is temporary and sure to meet with deterioration, death, and decay. This flesh, physiology, anatomy, mind, brain, thoughts, feelings, lusts . . . all of it will die along with our bodies. We are made of dust and cannot carry this frame or its temporal thoughts and desires into eternity. Don’t put everything into what your body tells you to do? It is temporary as are most of what its mind tells you!
Make the choice to rise above where the mind tells you to go or what it tells you to do. Choose to override what your body feels and what it tells you that you cannot live without. Pursue a life outside of what the flesh demands and seeks for your life. Reach for something more than feelings, pleasure, and self-gratification. Like an older preacher said to his church, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward . . .” (Philippians 3:14 NIV) And yes, it does get better.
Remember that you’re never left alone in your struggle to overcome what seems to be overwhelming desires in life. Every day is a pursuit of the most noble, the good, right and appropriate lifestyle and behavior, correct attitudes and thoughts. It is a never-ending struggle. But, the promise to each of us is that He “. . . is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy . . .” (Jude 24 KJV) He is able and He will “. . . deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24a NKJV)
The best thing to do is to cease spending so much time allowing this body to be the authority on what we feel and learn to look beyond ourselves for hope and help. Spend more time looking to someone who can help. Focus beyond yourself and your feelings to “. . . lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross . . .” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV) A much overlooked truth is that our weakness is made strength when we choose to live in pursuit of something better and more noble than our fleshly thoughts and desires. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (I Corinthians 12:9 NIV) is the testimony of someone that lived with real struggle to discover “. . . that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Acknowledging the weakness or desire that is contrary to God’s plans for us becomes the avenue through which we discover strength to overcome.
Finding friends of the same mind to pursue Christ with a whole heart to resist giving in will also encourage, edify, and enlighten you as the days unfold. The crowd that gives in may grow large in number but will never fully understand the scope or feeling of peace and deliverance to a life of victory. “I am a friend to all who fear You, to all who follow Your precepts.” (Psalm 119:63 NIV)
Strength comes through the Word of God. Strong feelings of desire must be met with strong words from God that edify, empower, and engage us to hope for a better life. “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You . . . My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:11, 28 NIV) Remember that God knows who you are, He made you and He is familiar with your struggle: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14 NIV)Jesus endured living in the flesh for you to overcome its strong nature and desire. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV) Remember then that prayer is key to overcoming in the struggle. Boldly seek God’s face in your battle to overcome because He has grace and mercy that will help in time(s) of need. They are sufficient in every battle.
Finally, Christ didn’t give in and endured both His humanity and the suffering of the cross! Don’t you dare give in! Endurance is hanging in there until the battle is over! You may not win every fight but you can endure to the close of the battle . . . “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrew 12:2-3 NIV) Stay in the battle to win!