Aesop’s Fable, “The Dog and the Bone,” is about a dog who was carrying a bone in its mouth over a bridge that saw its own reflection in the water below. However, the dog did not realize it was a reflection but instead thought it was another dog with a bone. Desiring this “other” dog’s bone, the dog opened its mouth to bark at this rival. Consequently, the dog dropped the bone into the water and ended up with nothing! Often, husbands who have wives meeting four out of five of their essential needs* find a woman that appears to meet that one remaining need. Therefore, they leave the wife for this woman only to find out that she can only meet that one need and not the other four. Consequently, the new relationship ends, and the man is left with nothing!
Recall the two strategies we have previously discussed for obtaining victory over sin:
“Avert Your Senses” (1) is for temptation targeting the body and its senses.
“Battle Lustful Thoughts” (1) is for temptation targeting the soul (i.e., mind, will, and emotions).
“Cling to Christ” is the subject of this article and it is for temptation targeting the spirit.
Realize that Satan attacks all three of man’s dimensions (i.e., spirit, soul, and body) (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and to have victory, we must know how to defend and counterattack properly in each dimension. The source of many defeats, perhaps like the husband in our opening story, has been fighting a three-dimensional fight in only one dimension!
The strategy for temptation targeting our spirit is to cultivate a deep, intimate, personal relationship with our Father God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. We must also learn to hate (i.e., completely separate from) sin even as God hates it (Psalms 97:10.Proverbs 8:13.Hebrews 1:9). Then when temptation comes, we will realize (unlike the dog):
- This temptation threatens everything I hold dear! (Romans 6:23)
- Jesus died a bloody death on the cross to purchase all of me! (1 Corinthians 6:20)
- I have no right or authority to even consider this sin! (Ephesians 5:3)
We must “reckon” ourselves dead to sin (1) (Romans 6:11,12). We must live our Christian life based on the fact that sinful nature’s power was broken for us by Jesus at Calvary. Consequently, we are under no obligation to obey its orders (1 Corinthians 9:27). We have been set free from sin, and the proper response is to read God’s emancipation proclamation to the insistent demands of the Adamic nature!
We must realize we are responsible for all sins that we commit after salvation. The believer must know that before salvation, we could not help but sin. After salvation, we sin as a free choice (similar to Adam in the Garden of Eden) (Romans 6:14).
We must count on the fact of our possession of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). This will free us from depending upon our own strength to live sinless (1). We will then recognize the necessity of being moment by moment filled (i.e., lead) by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The Holy Spirit will then do two things for us:
- He will suppress the activities of the evil nature (Galatians 5:16).
- He will produce in the believer a Christlike life (2 Corinthians 3:18).
There are just two things that the believer must do to be moment by moment lead by the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39):
- Sincerely desire His leading demonstrated by living an obedient life (Acts 5:32).
- Ask the Lord Jesus for that leading and believe that He will do it (Luke 11:13).
Three Tough Questions:
- How long will you live as if you are free to do your will and not God’s?
- How long will you fellowship with a sin that crucified our Lord?
- How long will you continue to sin against our Holy God?
We can start today to win the victory over this sin in your life by praying the following:
Heavenly Father, I rebelled against You by committing the sin of ________. I now see that You were right in forbidding it – this sin is destroying my life. I deeply regret this act of rebellion against you, my Holy and Loving Father. Please forgive me of my sin and cleanse me now from this defilement. I ask for Jesus’ victory over this sin to be displayed in my life that you might be glorified. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Lord Jesus, may those seeing and hearing me see You – be glorified in and through my life today! Holy Spirit, please reveal the thoughts, words, actions, and attitude of the Lord Jesus in and through my life today. Let the world see in me the one they so desperately need – the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you for continually leading me in life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
(based on Proverbs 28:13.1 John 1:9.2 Corinthians 7:9,10)
How to cultivate a deep, intimate, personal relationship with Jesus!
To grow in intimacy with the Lord turn to the scripture choosing some passage that is simple and practical. Verses that contain one of the names of God (1) are excellent choices! Then take the scripture into the Lord’s presence quietly and humbly just like when you pray. Read a small portion of the passage of scripture being careful as you read. Read it as if you are savoring your favorite food for the first time. Do not move quickly from verse to verse but rather read slowly. You are not trying to study this passage or pick out its primary theme. You are not to move from this passage until you have sensed the very heart of what you have read in your spiritual heart. Then take the portion of scripture that has touched you and pray that to God the Father. Realize this method is not judged by how much of the scripture that you read but by the way in which you read. Reading quickly will provide little benefit. Plunge deeply into the words of the scripture you are reading until revelation, like a light suddenly coming into the darkness, breaks upon you. Once you have mastered this technique, then you are ready for Step Two.
In praying the scripture, you are seeking to find the Lord in what you are reading – in the very words themselves. Therefore, the content of the scripture is the focal point of your attention. Consequently, in praying the scripture, you are taking everything from the passage that reveals the Lord to you. However, in waiting on the Lord, you are seeking to find the Lord Himself (1 Corinthians 3:16). Therefore, the focal point of your attention shifts from the scripture to Him alone.
Begin by reading a passage just like praying the scripture in Step One. However, this time you are not reading to gain an understanding of the passage but rather to turn your mind from external things to the presence of God. We begin this way to overcome the greatest obstacle of seeking the Lord – your mind. The mind has a very strong desire to stray away from the Lord (Galatians 5:17). Once your mind is quiet, the scripture has fulfilled its purpose of revealing He who is the Word – Jesus. (John 1:1) Next, turn your heart to the presence of God. How? You turn to Him by faith. By faith, you believe you have come into the presence of God.
However, you must come to this secret place with no desire for understanding or requests. Our words and thoughts must be only of Him. If you find yourself straying, then slowly read some passage of scripture until He alone is once more your only thought. Then pause gently to embrace Christ Jesus by faith. Continue to hold your spiritual heart in Jesus’ presence by faith. By faith, you can hold your heart in the Lord’s presence. With discipline you will find this easier and coming into His presence will be effortless (Psalms 91:1.John 14:23).
*The five needs of men (women) (2):
- Physical intimacy (woman – emotional intimacy).
- Recreational companionship (woman – conversational companionship).
- A spouse that is attractive physically (woman – a spouse that is attractive in character including honesty and openness).
- A spouse that cares for the home (woman – a spouse that provides the financial security to care for a home).
- Admiration including a spouse that publicly, and in her assumptions, communicates unconditional respect for what he does and who he is including his judgment and abilities (4). (woman – a spouse that is committed to and leads the family including loving and leading the children).
or from another study (3):
1. Unconditional love and acceptance
2. Sexual intimacy
4. Encouragement and affirmation
5. Spiritual intimacy
1. Unconditional love and acceptance
2. Emotional intimacy and communication
3. Spiritual intimacy
4. Encouragement and affirmation
ABCs of Overcoming Temptation series:
- The ABCs of Sinless Christian Living
- ABCs Part I: Avert Your Senses!
- ABCs Part II: Battle Lustful Thoughts
- ABCs Part III: Cling to Christ
- ABCs Part IV: S.W.A.T
(Peace, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 2 NET)
(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.
(2) Adapted from “His Needs Her Needs” by William F. Harley, Jr.
(3) Adapted from “The Five Love Needs of Men and Women” by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg
(4) Adapted from “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn