In our search for victory and purity in life, it's essential to understand that there is a wrong way to approach these goals. Too often, we find ourselves caught in a cycle of failure, confession, and re-commitment without realizing the key elements we're missing. Have you ever been there? By exploring some wrong approaches to victory, we can gain valuable insights into victorious living.
The Trap of Self-Reliance
The wrong way to approach victory and sexual purity begins with a focus solely on our own actions and determination. After a sinful fall, we make promises and commitments to ourselves, vowing to do better next time and striving to - once again - live a righteous life. While our intentions may be noble, this approach fails to acknowledge what is necessary for true transformation (which we will discuss in a minute).
Missing the Power Source
The fatal flaw in this wrong approach is the lack of reliance on God. By solely depending on our own efforts and discipline (even if we don’t know we are actually doing this), we miss out on tapping into the divine strength and guidance readily available to us. The Bible reminds us that "it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Instead of exerting greater self-discipline, we must recognize that true change comes from surrendering to God's authority in a time of temptation and allowing Him to work through us. You may want to read that last line again.
The Unplugged Vacuum Cleaner
To illustrate this point, imagine having a vacuum cleaner that's not plugged into an electrical outlet. No matter how much the person using it is determined to do a good job vacuuming the floors, the vacuum cleaner will be of no help whatsoever. Why? The vacuum cleaner simply lacks the power to do so without being connected to the source of electricity. This is obvious, I know, but by relying solely on our own efforts (determination, self-regulation, re-commitment to do better), we are like an unplugged vacuum cleaner, incapable of producing lasting change. It will forever be this way. We need to humbly, by an act of faith, “plug” ourselves into God's strength to experience true transformation. I’m not trying to be over simplistic or trite here, but many times our biggest problems throughout the day arise because we are simply not plugged in to the Lord.
Dependence on God's Power
The Lord does not call us to live in human strength alone. The old hymn says, “The arm of flesh will fail you; ye dare not rust your own”. All that relying on ourselves can do is produce failure. Rather, God calls us to consciously depend on Him for the strength to live righteously. Our job is not to be the power source but to rely on the Power Source of right living. As I said recently when preaching in a church: We are not to blame for being innately unable to do a certain thing that God wants; but we are to blame if we don’t go to God to get the ability we need. He has the ability we need! By dependently involving God in a struggle, whether it be for sexual purity, patience, love toward others, self-control, etc., we acknowledge that He is the One who can work through us and enable us to live according to His will.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
Embracing God-empowered living is the only true way to pursue victory over besetting sins. We must surrender pride and acknowledge that true transformation can only come from the Holy Spirit's work within us.
God- Empowered Living
As we depend on the Holy Spirit to enable us to do what we cannot do, we tap into God's limitless resources. He actually gives us the desire and strength we need to overcome temptation and live clean lives. It may be a little hard to get our mind around it, but this is really what God is after. He has the grace I need; now I have to avail myself of it.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
The above verse means that He is willing to send “all” grace our way – as much as we need. This is what Hebrews says: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
According to this verse, we can “find” that grace as we look to Him in a “time of need”. Are you doing this?
So, to summarize: In our pursuit of getting on the victory side of a struggle, whether it be regarding a clean thought life, not being fearful, or overcoming pride and selfishness, we must recognize the wrong way to approach these goals. Relying on our strength alone will lead to a cycle of failure and despair. It is time to get out of the cycle. Instead, the answer is this: We should humble ourselves, literally “plug into” God by real dependence, and embrace the grace He gives us in that moment for righteous living.
By relinquishing any self-reliance and depending wholly on God, we open ourselves to His amazing work in our lives. You can experience lasting victory and true purity! Let’s willingly submit to Him. He knows the challenges and temptations we face. Let’s face them looking dependently to Him.
Having successfully helped men for years who have had struggled with besetting sin, Dave has a real heart for those who are daily besieged by temptations to impurity. This blog is designed to be a help to those who are looking for answers.