“The One Who Bites Your Skin Is Dead”

For more than a week I have been sick with a cold. It is rather miserable, but if this is the biggest of my worries then life is pretty good.

Now for an intimate confession.

In this last week I also had to confess to my wife that in my tiredness and even exhaustion from work, ministry, and school, I have struggled with lust for the past few weeks. This is something that was “defeated” years ago, so you can imagine my surprise to finding it an issue. The thing that usually brought me back to my senses was the thought of my wife.

When I got sick enough to have to miss work last week, I had a lot of time to focus on prayer. One of my prayers was “Lord, there is so much going on in life. I do not need this temptation attacking me again. Take me back to that place of repentance, learning what it really means. Help me daily to defeat this lust.”

Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I had trouble sleeping due to my congestion and headaches, but I had a lot of dreams. They were interesting and even silly, and I woke myself (and my wife) up because of acting out the end (running) and talking out loud.

Throughout, however, I kept hearing this one line, kind of like from the movie-voice-over guy:

“The one who bites your skin is dead.”

I did not know what it meant. It made absolutely no sense to me, whatsoever. Simultaneously, I was tired and disoriented from my head cold-induced dream-filled, sleep-deprived night.

It was not until Saturday night (after watching The Avengers!) that it finally occurred to me.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[g]

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[h]

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57

Firstly, God definitely heard my prayer. My lust has not been a problem since last week.

The initial thought is not a sin. Entertaining the thought and then acting on the thought is a sin. Yes, our thoughts can be a sin, but only when we dwell on them.
God has given me the way out promised, but He has also given me His strength and healing.

Secondly, I was reminded of this passage.

It is through Jesus Christ we have victory! Our Lord and God deserves all the praise.

Also, I have little problem with universalists, but this is one of their prized passages showing all people will enter paradise someday. However, this is written to believers. If I were to write a letter to my youth group saying “we all get to go on a retreat this summer because the fee has been paid,” everyone not in the youth group (children, adults, non-attendees/people from other churches) who read the letter and assumed they were going would be understandably laughed at (in love, of course) as misunderstanding the context. I firmly believe this to be the case.

(I do not “laugh at” universalists because I disagree with them. They are still brothers and sisters in Christ unless God says otherwise or their conduct proves otherwise. In fact, I understand where they are coming from, but I think they are missing the full context. I know there are times I do the same, so I have grace as I know our Lord does.)

However, this is not the point of today’s posting. This is:

We have freedom from sin through our Lord’s sacrifice, and He gives us the strength to endure temptation.

At the end of history we will be free from temptation, and our Lord can help us with temptation during this life. But we must also remember we will have temptation in this life. We were never promised freedom from temptation until Christ Jesus returns in glory.

I am evidence that we still fail. Peter and Paul admitted to failing. This is why we are told to take every thought captive. I failed for a time, but our God is full of grace and mercy.

Do you trust God to help you? Do you believe He has enough grace and forgiveness for you?

He does.

It may be hard to believe at times, but He helps our faith grow through practice and endurance.

Endure, brothers and sisters.

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