In the journey of post-deliverance discipleship, we come to the profound realization that we cannot "cast out the flesh" or "crucify a demon." While deliverance sets us free from the power of darkness, we still face the reality of living in a fallen world where temptation lingers. How then can we reckon ourselves dead to sin?
Romans 6:11 exhorts us, "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts." The key lies in actively opposing the lusts that reside within our mortal bodies by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sin, which is always initiated by temptation, stirs within us, but we must never allow it to reign over us because Jesus has given us power to be free of it's dominion. The moment we become aware of any lust, we must reckon ourselves dead to sin, just as Romans 6:11 instructs. What this means is that we must renew our mind to agree with what God's Word says, that our old rebellious self is dead and buried by the power of the gospel. This is the pathway to living a victorious life—a life that increasingly overcomes the allure of temptation.
It is crucial to understand that being tempted is not sin itself. As James 1:14 reminds us, every person is tempted when they are drawn away by their own desires and enticed. Temptation is an invitation to sin, but it is our response that determines whether we fall into its clutches or stand firm in our commitment to righteousness. Now that we have encountered the power of deliverance, we are able to harness all of our spiritual energy toward defeating temptation instead of also resisting the demons that once occupied our lives.
In our journey of post-deliverance discipleship, we may encounter various trials and temptations that test the genuineness of our faith. These experiences, though challenging, refine and purify us. As 1 Peter 1:6-7 assures us, our faith is more precious than gold, and it will bring praise, honor, and glory to Jesus Christ.
Consider the example shared in Matthew 5:28: "Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Here we witness someone who agrees with the lust in their members rather than reckoning themselves dead to sin. By indulging in the lustful thoughts, they serve the law of sin with their mind, ultimately committing adultery in their heart. The apostle Paul himself acknowledged the battle between serving the law of God with his mind and serving the law of sin (Romans 7:25). By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to daily align with the law of life in Christ Jesus instead of aligning with the sin that Jesus has given us victory over.
James 4:1-2 sheds light on the origins of conflicts and fights among believers. It reveals that wars arise from desires for pleasure that wage war within our members. If we fail to reckon ourselves dead to sin and actively resist its allure, these lusts will lead to strife and discord within Christian assemblies. This shows that our decision to be led by the Spirit instead of being enslaved to the flesh benefits not only us, but also others in the body of Christ.
Recognizing the limitations of the law, God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to condemn sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3). Through His sacrifice, Jesus went beyond the law and addressed the root of sin by condemning sin itself. This truth is evident, as we discovered in Matthew 5:27-28, where He revealed that looking at a woman with lust in one's heart constitutes adultery. Jesus, by overcoming every temptation through the power of the eternal Spirit within Him, came to destroy the works of the devil, including slavery to the sinful nature of our flesh. We are no longer bound to the compulsive desires of our flesh!
In our pursuit of godliness, as we engage in the good fight of faith against the lusts within us, we have Jesus Christ as our faithful High Priest. He understands our struggles because He Himself was tempted. With His help, we can resist temptation and experience the victory that comes from being dead to sin (Hebrews 4:14-16).
The battle and victory over sin are experienced by those who have been crucified with Christ. This union with Him allows us to share in His sufferings and His triumph. It is through this mystical union that we become one flesh with Him, participating in His reproach and glory. The bridegroom and the bride—Christ and the church—united as one.
To fully embrace the path of post-deliverance discipleship and overcome temptation, we must prioritize certain key aspects of our spiritual journey. The first crucial aspect is studying and living obediently according to God's Word. The Scriptures serve as our guide, providing wisdom, instruction, and revelation of God's will. As Psalm 119:105 declares, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." By immersing ourselves in the Word, diligently meditating on it day and night as Joshua 1:8 encourages, we gain the knowledge and understanding necessary to discern and resist temptation effectively.
Through the study of God's Word, we learn to identify the hidden areas of sin and lust within our mortal bodies. As the Psalmist says in Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Armed with this awareness, we can actively disagree with and resist these temptations, reckoning ourselves dead to their power, as Romans 6:11 exhorts us to do.
Additionally, remaining connected to the body of Christ through active participation in a local church is vital. The church serves as a place of fellowship, accountability, and support. Engaging in regular corporate worship, participating in small groups or discipleship programs, and serving within the church community provide the necessary encouragement and spiritual nourishment for our ongoing growth and deliverance. Within the church, we find a community of believers who can offer guidance, prayer, and support as we navigate the challenges of post-deliverance discipleship. As Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
A vibrant prayer life is another essential component. Through prayer, we communicate and commune with God, seeking His guidance, strength, and protection. Developing a consistent habit of personal prayer enables us to rely on the Holy Spirit's leading and empowers us to resist temptation and overcome the schemes of the enemy. In prayer, we can confess our sins, seek God's help, and receive the supernatural strength necessary to resist the pull of sin and temptation.
Furthermore, we must recognize that the journey of deliverance is ongoing. While initial deliverance sets us free from the strongholds of the enemy, there may be times when further deliverance is needed. This involves learning to engage in self-deliverance, where we actively renounce and reject any areas of bondage or influence. By acknowledging our areas of weakness and seeking God's power and deliverance, we position ourselves for continued freedom and victory over temptation. Additionally, there may be occasions when receiving deliverance ministry from others who are trained and equipped becomes necessary. Seeking the help of trusted individuals who have expertise in deliverance can provide invaluable assistance in breaking free from any lingering bondages or strongholds. This also my include removing items in your home that have demonic elements associated with them.
By integrating the study and obedience of God's Word, maintaining connection with the church, fostering a vibrant prayer life, and being open to further deliverance when needed, we position ourselves for continued growth, freedom, and victory over temptation. These disciplines enable us to walk in the fullness of our deliverance, experiencing the abundant life Christ has secured for us.
In conclusion, post-deliverance discipleship requires active engagement in our spiritual journey. We cannot cast out the flesh or crucify a demon, but we can reckon ourselves dead to sin through actively disagreeing with lusts in our mortal bodies. By prioritizing the study and obedience of God's Word, remaining connected to the body of Christ, developing a vibrant prayer life, and being open to further deliverance, we can overcome temptation and walk in the freedom and victory that Christ has made available to us. As we persevere in this journey, we can experience the fullness of life and the transformative power of God's grace in our lives.
Published by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.