Have you ever thought while living you would find yourself caught between life and death? The point where you come to believe in God and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, but you find yourself stuck between two roads, I call these life and death road. These two roads are our spiritual nature and our sinful nature. Scripture says,
“When we let our sinful nature control our minds (us), it leads to death. But letting the spirit control us leads to life and peace” (Romans 8:6 NLT)
Why do we find ourselves stuck? Perhaps it’s because we want to carry baggage from our worldly living onto the path of life. But the path of life has what I call a ‘no baggage beyond this point’ check point.
This baggage, though, I know it has contains some things that have comforted you in the darkest times of your life. It gave you comfort, it had you feeling so alive while you thought you were so empty and dead inside. The contents in these bags can be alcohol, drugs, premarital sex, gambling, partying, toxic relationships, pride. It’s hard to think about leaving this baggage behind, especially when you don’t know what will give you the comfort and relief like those drugs, person, places, or fleshly activities do when you face turmoil again in life. But I can tell you, from personal experience, because that is the only way I can relate this, it is hard and basically impossible, to carry that baggage and try to carry God in our hearts too. Scriptures have stated that,
“Jesus said we must deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Him” (Matthew 16:24 NLT).
We have to deny all that we have been deceived into thinking is good for us and is giving us what we need, but really robs us. Put down the baggage, take up the cross and follow Jesus.
Death road has nothing good for us, its only purpose is flesh pleasing. Let’s be real we only find ourselves caught up there because we want to feel good right? Especially during hard times and struggles, but we must remember, pleasing the flesh and letting it control us, leads to death. The things we want at the root are not bad you know, like comfort, love, happiness, but we have been giving them to ourselves in all the wrong ways.
We must choose and stay on life road. This is the road that leads to eternal life in paradise. Being on this road means that we are walking with our spirts in control of us. Yes, our sinful nature is still present in us, but the spirit sits on the throne and is in control. The flesh submits and obeys it. How can we choose and stay on this path? Scripture say that we must,
“Humble ourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come close to God and God will come close to you.” (James 4:7-8 NLT)
We have to continuously strengthen our spirits, just like an athlete would train and strengthen their body for competitions. There is a competition within us, two natures are competing for control, so we must ensure the correct one wins, the one that leads to life. We can strengthen our spirits by:
- Reading His word,
- Praying and worshipping,
- Watching Godly content,
- Joining groups or forming a community that is focused on God and strengthening your relationship with Him,
- Attending church, not religion, but a church.
Apart from this, you have to train yourself to fight back and fight off the attacks of the enemy. The devil always wants to drag you back onto this VIP playground, aka death road, which he keeps open 24/7. So, we must always be armed and ready to fight the battles he brings our way through many different forms in life. It can be through people, places, activities, you know how the devil is sneaky and tricky.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 (NLT), that we are faced with a spiritual battle, not a physical battle, and therefore we have to be armed with strong spirit filled weapons and armor. Ephesians 6: 14-18 outlines “The Armor of God”, this is how we dress and fight in this spiritual war. Our armor is made up of:
- The Belt of Truth
- The Breastplate of Righteousness
- The Shoes of The Gospel of Peace
- The Shield of Faith
- The Helmet of Salvation
- The Sword of the Spirit- God’s Word
I will give a simple example of how we use our sword (God’s word) and our shield (faith), below:
You will never get out of debt, this situation will never change, it will only get worse”.
“God’s favor is with me and on my life, I will prosper and see victory, these debts will be paid in full”.
Then you start swinging your sword of God’s mighty word at the devil and say,
“My God shall supply all my needs” (Philippians 4:19 NLT).
I know the journey on life road and even easing off death road, is very difficult and it takes time. It is a process to progress; everything doesn’t just change in one step or leap. We have to be patient with ourselves, because it is after all a fight against ourselves. And for some of us, our addictions and bad habits are life for us, because we have lived so long in them that they became our way of life. But as scripture says,
“Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24 NLT).
So, we must deny ourselves, we must deny all that we think is good for us and that we try to fix ourselves with. We are not the manufacturers of our lives; therefore, we have no business trying to find tools and parts in this world to fix or heal ourselves. We have to take ourselves to God, He made us, He is our manufacturer and therefore He knows how to give us what we need in the right and healthy ways.
The transition and journey as a Christian are tough. Sometimes we might stumble and fall, we might even run back to the baggage point on death road because we want an old quick-fix, or our flesh manage to have its way. We all have weak moments, but we must strive to keep strong, keep trying and keep fighting. When you don’t know what to do and you feel so lost and your flesh is pulling you and old cravings are acting up, remember your armor and use it, remember to engage in activities that help strengthen the spirit to take control.
I know it feels good to feel good in the flesh and to engaged in worldly flesh pleasing activities, we wouldn’t please it if it felt bad. But remember the bigger picture, remember being in the flesh means death. Scripture says,
“This world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever” (1 John 2:17 NLT).
God has bigger plans for us than just giving us life on earth, He has more life for us in paradise, a life that cannot compare to this one. So, choose life, strive to stay on life road, if you fall and run back to death road, get up, turn and come back.