By Ray Gano
Tonight is Halloween night.
I have to be honest and say that it has been a number of years since we have been exposed to these obnoxious yard decorations, trick or treaters and worse… just about every woman dressing like some cheap woman of the night wearing as little clothing as possible and call it a “costume.”
How does one do it?
How does one deal with the world and still maintain being a true born-again Christian?
In today’s world it is easy to give lip service or to “Spiritualize” things which in turn make things easy to put in some sort of fantasy world.
What happens is that one of “us” starts to live a dual life, one part of your life that is “spiritual” and the other part that deals with everything else. You compartmentalize and when you do that, it is easy to justify sin.
Many of you know that I work hard to live a life that God would approve of. This life is what I call “The Servant Warrior.”
When living the Servant Warrior life, we push to live both the spiritual and the physical, right here, right now., no compartmentalization.
It isn’t easy, especially when you have pretty much the #1 U.S. holiday beating down your door demanding candy and such.
My sole filter is God’s Word. If His Word says it, then we are called to live by it. To put it in simple words, submitting completely to God’s Word.
I believe that we should strive to live a holy acceptable life.
God’s Word states …
1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
This is a challenging thing to do, but if we submit to God’s help and direction, we can slowly over time grow more and more like Him and less like the world.
It is that that time that you start really walking that Servant Warrior path forsaking all others, picking up your cross and following Him.
That is why I say that there are a lot of people out there that claim this, but in realty there are not many. A lot of people give lip service, but rarely do most people back it up by really living it out.
Many try and fail. But believe it or not failure is a good thing. It is what you do after you fail that strengthen the metal with which you are made of.
Those who do choose to take the action and to really live this idea out, are the ones who become The Servant Warriors.
When you choose to walk the servant warrior path, you become the superior person as opposed to that person who has their life set to “autopilot” just drifting down the river of life allowing life to take them wherever.
Now, I know that there are some who are reading this, and it is upsetting them saying “how dare I call myself superior.”
Like it or not, it is the superior person who tries harder and takes the right path verses the one of least resistance.
The superior person chooses the ways of the Lord verses what they “believe” or “feel” what is right.
It is also the servant warrior who is more aware of the enemy inside because they battle with that enemy daily.
To use a modern term, that enemy is called “Despicable Me.”
In scripture it is called “The Flesh” and you know what? Your flesh wants to ruin your life.
That is why I call that part of me “Despicable Me.”
See the average Christian today really does not understand that their flesh will NEVER seek the ways of the Lord.
As I have said, most people bend to their flesh and compromise themselves. Why? Because it is the easy thing to do, it is the easy way out.
Look at how many are out there that basically convey the idea of …“Who cares! I have my fire insurance; I am saved by grace, so I can sin like hell.”
Now do most people proclaim it that way, in such an in your face sort of statement?
No, not at all.
But like it or not, that’s basically how the average “autopilot” Christian lives their life.
Look at Playboy? Sure, why not, I am saved by grace.
Go out and get drunk on Friday night? Sure, why not, I am saved by grace.
Smoke that joint? Sure, why not, I am saved by grace.
Check out that cute mail boy or secretary at work, undressing them in your imagination? Sure why not, I am saved by grace.
Get what I am saying?
The Servant Warrior works hard to not allow these things to come into play. He or she does not give sin that foot hold.
At least 95% of the time.
But there are those times when “Despicable Me” wins out, and when “Despicable Me” does, regret, shame, guilt come into play and it feels horrible.
I know that when my “Despicable Me” wins, I feel worse than worse. My heart is heavy; I have a knot in the middle of my stomach. I am not walking with that pep in my step. I feel like the world has dumped every bad thing it can across my shoulders and I am collapsing under the weight.
It seems that you will never feel free of this oppressive state.
And you won’t, that is till you do one thing.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
See, until you make that true commitment to serving Christ, one will continue to live that life of ups and downs constantly being rocked to and fro.
It is our sins, our “Despicable Me” that constantly keeps winning and it seems like we are never free of all the destructive sins.
People plead and beg God to take those pet sins away, but they keep having a grasp on us.
“Despicable Me” is strong and most people think that “Despicable Me” will just go away.
We pray, we fast, we do all kinds of things and as much as I hate to say it, it does not matter. “Despicable Me” will always be there.
I am going to let you in on a little secret. “Despicable Me” AKA your flesh is in a war against you.
Your flesh will constantly attack you. If it isn’t from one direction, it is from another.
Something else, remember that line a long time ago “The Devil Made Me Do It? “
It was your flesh battling against you, yourself and I. AND…. YOU LET YOUR FLESH WIN.
See the moment you let up, your flesh finds that foothold and will start hacking away at you till you are living a life of regret, shame, guilt, spiraling out of control till you finally crash and burn.
Paul stated it this way
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Galatians 5: 17, 19-21 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Here is some inside information. “Despicable Me” desires to participate in adultery, fornication, idolatry, hatred, strife and drunkenness?
Now some of you may be saying “Not my flesh Ray”
“Oh yes, your flesh!”
It does not matter who you are your flesh is hell-bent on dominating your spirit.
What makes the Servant Warrior different? The servant warrior does not accept defeat. The true servant warrior will ultimately rise up using the word of God (The Sword) and make the flesh obey.
The common autopilot Christian has no idea what to do.
See the common autopilot Christian doesn’t care that they sin. Remember, they have their fire insurance, so they are “saved by grace, and can sin like hell.”
If it feels good, they do it.
How To Fight The Flesh / “Despicable Me” – Basic Training
Listen, I am going to be honest. Being a servant warrior DOES NOT make us immune against the battles, what it does is gives us the courage to stand and fight. We as servant warriors learn to use the tools, weapons and ideals that we learn from God’s Word to battle “Despicable Me”.
Basic Training Point #1 – Bring your flesh / “Despicable Me” into subjection
1 Corinthians 9:27 but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
It other words Paul is saying that we need to bring our bodies into submission. When we just let our bodies, thoughts, emotions, ect get the best of us. The flesh / “Despicable Me wins.
When we bring our bodies into submission, then we, the servant warrior keeps the things of the flesh at bay.
This is a daily struggle for all of us and for some it is a minute by minute struggle. But no matter what, it is a struggle. How we win is by being in God’s Word – The Sword.
The more we know and use our sword, the more we can fight the battles against The Flesh / “Despicable Me.”
Basic Training Point #2 – Make No Provision For Your Flesh
Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
To provide provision means to give food and comfort.
So, what do we do? We do not feed the flesh. We do not give it what it desires. We do not comfort it.
We starve it so that it is weak.
Guys, stop looking at those scantily clad women. Women, you stop looking at those “beefcake” guys. Stop hanging out at the magazine section of the bookstore peeking at Playboy, Playgirl, Maxim and Cosmopolitan. .
Stop hanging out with people who like to go to the bars and get drunk on Friday nights.
Stop watching those shows that promote sex, drug, and lascivious behavior. You know what you should and should not watch. Grow some courage and turn off the filth. There is an old saying. “GIGO” = Garbage In – Garbage Out.
Start saying NO to The Flesh / “Despicable Me” and YES to the spirit feeding the Servant Warrior in all of us.
We do this by being in His Word, living with it, memorizing it, training with it. It is our spiritual sword and unless we train, we will be useless when The Flesh / “Despicable Me” decides to take action against us and ambush us when we are at our weakest.
Basic Training Point #3 – Mortify Your Flesh
Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
What does Mortify mean? It means abstaining to the point of “putting to death” the action or undesired behavior.
Once you stave something it becomes weak. When you completely abstain from the sin, that sin begins to wither away. Now it will never go away, but when you completely abstain from feeding that sin, it is like it shrivels up and is no longer active.
NOW… just because it is shriveled up and such does not mean it is gone. You feed that sin and it will come back with a vengeance.
So now that you are not feeding the sin and giving it comfort, you can start abstaining from the sin which in turn causes the sin to become seriously weak and ill effective for The Flesh / “Despicable Me” to use.
But again, the danger is thinking you can feed the sin here and there, cautiously keeping it at bay.
See, sin does one thing and one thing only. It kills.
How many of you are going to get into a cage with a live tiger? Sin is the same thing. Like a tiger it will sense when you are not looking or at a disadvantage. It is then that it will pounce on your and rip you to shreds.
Sin when you are playing that game of feeding it here and there does the same thing. By toying around with it, occasionally feeding it, one day it will pounce on you. Even though that sin is in a weakened state, it is still dangerous, like the tiger. Like the tiger it can pounce on you when you are not paying attention, or you are distracted or not training with the sword when you should be. Whatever the excuse or reason, it will pounce. When it does, it will take you down because you yourself are in a weakened state and you have been feeding the sin not knowing that it is getting stronger again.
This is why we are called to “mortify” the flesh. Abstain from all of it. Not entertain it at all what so ever.
Basic Training Point #4 – Walk in the Spirit
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
See when we bring our bodies into submission, we do not feed or give comfort to the sin, we mortify / abstain from everything dealing with the sin, we can then start walking in the spirit.
When we walk in the spirit, The Flesh / “Despicable Me” cannot take a foothold in our lives. Its ability to temp and do evil is greatly diminished. Again, that sin is not gone, but it is pushed back so far in the back corner that it does not have any influence with us. That is unless we start dabbling in the sin again, looking upon it, feeding it, paying attention to it, etc, etc.
Which by that time we are no longer walking in the spirit, The Flesh / “Despicable Me” is winning and the internal battle is rearing to start up again.
The key is to not stop walking in the spirit. Stay on the path of righteousness and continue to do the right thing in the eyes of the Lord which whom we serve.
Basic Training Point #5 – Crucify Your Flesh
Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
We have put our flesh to death. We no longer desire it, we no longer feed it, comfort it or long for it. We have in a sense “crucified” our flesh and instead of serving the Flesh / “Despicable Me” we now serve Jesus Christ, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But this is just the beginning. In many of the martial arts you have a ranking system. The beginner is the “white belt” and the advanced is the “black belt.”
See, once the practitioner of that fighting system goes through all the ranks does not mean he or she has learned there all is to learn. No, it means that they now have all the foundational basics. Now that they have the black belt, the real training starts taking place.
The same goes here.
This is not the ending point, this is just the beginning of the training. In the next installment of this series, I want to take you through “Advanced Training” so that you can fight the flesh even better and truly live a right life in these last days that we are living.
By doing that, we will truly be great Servant Warriors and be able to do the Lord’s work without hesitation, and boldly “Go Ye Therefore” standing for the Lord and proclaiming the gospel to the world.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.