You may be fighting issues in your life with the wrong weapons. We are not able to conquer our sin and the work of the enemy in our own strength. That’s why our New Year resolutions don’t work and why we keep getting drawn back into things we want to leave behind.
The most significant battle we have is not with the devil, but with our old nature, which the Bible calls our ‘flesh’. We are to put that to death.
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24
The point I want you to catch here is that even in that battle, crucifying our old nature, it is not something we fight with our own will power, or human disciplines, or the like. We must use the right weapons and the right war strategy to defeat even our own selfish and sensual impulses.
What is that battle strategy? It is to employ the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to put our old life to death, ‘by the Spirit’.
“If you live according to the flesh (your old sinful nature) you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13
Note that the means of putting to death your old sinful nature is “by the Spirit”.
In my teenage years I was told by a trainee nurse that she had assisted in an operation on a priest. As the priest went under anaesthetic he began to swear like a truck driver. The girl was shocked but was told by the older nurses that this was not uncommon, because when a person comes under the anaesthetic their normal personal restraints are weakened.
My guess is that the priest had spent many years restraining himself from swearing or doing other things unbecoming of a Christian. But he had never died to those things ‘by the Spirit’, only controlling them by his personal will.
When his will was weakened by the anaesthetic his natural impulse to curse and swear was no longer restrained.
It’s possible that many Christians live in that same mode. They are not free from their fleshly impulses, but live their life trying to control them and restrain them. This is not freedom, but human effort to make oneself holy.
We are promised complete and absolute freedom, through Christ.
“If the Son (Christ) makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
“Stand firm in the liberty (freedom) by which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1
If you are trying to make yourself free then you are not free at all. You might appear that way, but you are simply trying to be religious in your own strength. What a miserable life! And what a shame to live that way when there is an absolute and complete freedom available to you, if you use the right weapons.
So, how do we apply the Spirit’s power to be set free?
Firstly, it is done officially. You need to determine your choice to be free from self, sin and satan, dying to all the things your natural life lusts after. Those things appear to promise blessing but they keep you from what God has for you.
“All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1John 2:16
You might declare your choice by something like: “In the Name of Jesus Christ I declare that I die to the things of this world, including the lust of my flesh, the lust of my eyes and the pride of life. I no longer live for those things or to fulfil the lusts of my flesh. I crucify my natural human sinful desires in Jesus’ name.”
Secondly you are wise to acknowledge that being set free from your flesh is not a matter of your will conquering your own will, which isn’t possible anyway. So you might continue to declare something like: “I call on God’s Son, Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to set me free from self, sin, satan and death. I yield to the Holy Spirit to cleanse me from all unrighteousness and to purify my heart, so that all that is inside me loves God and lives for Him. I invite the Holy Spirit to reveal all areas of my life where I have sold myself out to sin and the flesh, guiding me to revoke and cancel all agreements I have made with the world, my flesh and devil to live an unholy life. I now repent of all such agreements and I cancel them and declare that from this moment on I live by the power of the Holy Spirit, living a life that is pleasing to God and not indulging fleshly desires.”
Thirdly, be on your guard for those areas of self worship and self indulgence that might spring up within you. As you discover a habit or temptation toward words, thoughts or actions that are a shame to the name of Christ, repent of allowing those things to develop within you and confess your sin and weakness to the Lord, calling on the Lord to deliver you and enable you to die to those things. You might like to repeat the declaration about cancelling agreements, specifically naming the area you have previously given in to or are currently being tempted to give in to.
The Holy Spirit might bring to your memory specific incidents or issues which have particular impact on your life. If you have given in to the world, the flesh, sin or the devil in any way you can then confess your wrong, ask God to forgive you, forgive those who tempted or influenced you wrongly, and then revoke all contract or agreement you have with the sin and shame you are reminded of.
I have written elsewhere about the Steps to Release which you might like to follow as well. The article is found at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/tags/admit-your-need
The important thing I want you to catch in your spirit is that the freedom you are to live in from this moment on is abundantly yours, through Christ, but you are to achieve and receive it By The Spirit.