Scripture gives great hope
Published 9:17 am Monday, August 15, 2022
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: People tell me that I need to cut off my relationships with some of my friends just because they don’t share my faith. I really enjoy spending time with them, but afterwards I feel guilty for the things I’ve done to gain their acceptance. How can I resolve this inner conflict? — P.F.
Dear P.F.: The Bible mentions three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. They combine to form a powerful foe to defeat and frustrate God’s plan and purpose in the lives of His people.
The word “flesh” is the Biblical word for our old nature, the nature of sin. The Apostle Peter knew a great deal about the struggle with the flesh and said, “Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
We have two natures in conflict, and each one is striving for the victory. The Bible teaches, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (Galatians 5:17). The flesh is the enemy — the infiltrator — the battle between the self-life and the Christ-life. The old nature cannot please God. It cannot be patched up. However, Scripture does give great hope for us in this conflict, because when Christ died He took us with Him to the cross.
The Apostle Paul said that he had no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). He also said, “Make no provision for the flesh” (Romans 13:14). On yet another occasion he said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27). We are to yield completely and surrender ourselves to God. The old nature can be made inoperative, and we can by faith reckon to be dead to sin, but alive in Christ (Romans 6:11). Victory can be obtained.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)