summarized: The White Elephant | Extreme Life x Dr. Matthew Stevenson (6/7)

When you are on your way out of sexual sin, God is going to call you into a season of divine extremes. If the people around you are uncomfortable with your extremes, you’ll start to leave your extremes to make them comfortable with what you have to do. You’ll start to hate the fact that you need to be so extreme, because you will become unpopular

We have to realize lust is nothing to play with. What’s after you wants to end you and your future. You can’t be half in half out, and you can’t leave room for compromising. Your soul should be your priority

It will feel like you’re living like a child. Don’t feel too grown to go extreme. People will tell you, “don’t be so spiritually minded that you’re no earthly good”, but we’re not meant to fit in with the ways of the world anyway. 

Extreme seasons teach you what you can handle. They allow you to train yourself. If you gave up fast food for a year, after that year, the thought of eating it will make you sick. That’s just one example of how going through something extreme allows you to retrain yourself.

15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Romans 7:15-25 ESV

Just because you are in lust doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your mind. You can know what you did was wrong, but your ability to reconcile between right and wrong can get suspended. Verse 18 must be the bottom line if you want to be delivered. You have no right to be carnal because there is nothing good in your carnality. If you come up with a deliverance plan with the power of your flesh, you won’t succeed. If you had it in you to deliver yourself, you would’ve done it by now. You need access to a power that is bigger than yourself so that you can be enabled to overcome the pressures of your bondage. 

Verse 21 should not be externalized. That evil that’s always present is in your flesh; don’t blame those around you. As long as you’re at home in your flesh, you’ll never be free. Don’t be comfortable with having to be you, be convicted enough to be changed to resemble Him. 

There’s the law of God written in your heart, but your members have their own laws. Your body parts and your mind are at war with each other and with God. They all want to get what they want when they want it. They all have needs, but don’t let society tell you to fulfill them. 

Verse 24 was a statement of anguish because Paul knew he needed a way to get out of himself. He wasn’t saying “I’m depressed, I might as well live with this””every Christian has a struggle””this is the thorn in my side””nobody’s perfect”. He knew he couldn’t fix himself by himself. There’s no point in repainting and rebuilding your walls with soul detoxes and thirty days of reading and mediation if they simply need to be taken down. Bring complete death to who you were, what you wanted, and what you used to do, and make sure that when you kill it, it won’t come back up. 

Verse 24 is not a rhetorical question. Paul answers himself in verse 25 by saying that Jesus Christ would deliver him. 

You cannot live like you and be like Him. If your ultimate objective in life is to be a better you, you’re going to fail. The Bible says your own righteous is like a filthy rag. Aiming to better yourself is setting your bar too low, because you only want to become better, not holy. When depression comes, or when people make you mad, you’ll come up with excuses to dismiss you from the pressures of life. You don’t need the Bible to become a better person; self help books and Oprah can do that for you. But the objective for the Church, for the human race, is not just do be a better person; it is to be like the Son of God. Nothing else will fulfill you. Holiness is the highest potential of the human heart. It’s your purpose to be like Him; you will feel empty, you will be bored, until that is accomplished. He shed His blood so we can be like Him. Nothing else matters. When your vision is Jesus, you have no excuse to remain unchanged. 

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:5-11 ESV

Your mind doesn’t want you to know it can be set. Counseling is important, venting is important, and disciplining yourself is important, but your mind must be set. You usually wake up because you set an alarm. When you set something, you give it information and time its response. Verse 6 asks, “what response will your mindset bring?”. Setting your mind on the Spirit opens up life and peace. As long as you are unlike God, you have beef with Him. As long as you are undecided, you’ve made a decision. You have to cross over into the extreme. Don’t walk around just conscious of the fact that you need to make decisions. Shall we continue to live in sin hoping that grace may abound?” Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. Grace is more powerful, but it has no ability to work if you won’t let your sin go. Move sin out so God can move in and change things around. 

Verse 8 says that God didn’t put it in us to please Him. He put it in His Son. If we’re not imitating His Son, we’re not pleasing Him. And verse 9 tells us we can’t imitate what we don’t know, what we haven’t received.  The Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead can give you life. The Spirit in Elijah brought the body of a boy back to life, but everything that was preventing the boy from breathing had to leave for God’s breath to enter. Let His breath be your source of life.

We don’t have the right to act like we don’t know we’re called to be like the Son of God. Anybody in bondage can twist the Scripture to support the way they live. You can shade Its complexion to justify what you’re too weak to get out of. The bottom line of everything you do and believe must be Jesus. 

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:16-25 ESV

Jesus knew it would be hard to be like Him in a world like ours; look at His prayers. He doesn’t want us to leave the world, but He doesn’t want us to be at home in it either. We need to be sanctified and delivered in order to do what we need to in this life. We need to look at Christ, because He’s overcome the world. You can be exposed to the world and still overcome it. Don’t make your humanity your excuse for why you can’t please the Lord. We have the Holy Spirit to help our infirmity, our humanity. The Spirit Himself intercedes for us, even in prayer

A person that is to be delivered from lust will have to deliberately change their walk. Isaiah talked about a highway of holiness because while you walk it, there’s no room for lust, for sin. This highway determines where you go, how you get there, and who you’re involved with on your journey. If your walk isn’t right, nothing else will be. Walk in the Spirit. Being under the Spirit removes leadership from your members and their lustful desires. It removes you from being led by your logic. Peter could only walk on water when he focused on Jesus; looking away overwhelmed him. Don’t look away, and don’t be distracted by the noise around you, or you’ll drown.

Everything in verse 19 is born from lust. Today, we have young girls fighting, over boys. We try to cover it as a behavioral issue, but the culprit is lust. We’re funding sexual sin, early. Why are we giving out condoms at prom instead of giving kids Biblical talks about sex and sexuality? So many issues come from not addressing lust. Parents should talk to their kids about how they got here, because if they don’t have that conversation, the devil will. And forget the programs; it’s cheaper to be holy. Condoms are expensive. Why do you have a pocket full of rubbers but you can’t pay your phone bill? How much do you spend on your patch, on your birth control? How would your prayer life be if you prayed as regularly as you took your birth control pills?

When you live right, you feel better. Don’t want what Jesus didn’t want and don’t do what Jesus didn’t do. Learn why He lived how He did from the Word, and follow His example.

Author: Iyaniwura Olarewaju

† | naija | nj | Cornell

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