Tug-of-War

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Starting a new year gives us a renewal of faith in ourselves and hope for a better year. There are two competing forces we all are playing a game of tug-of-war with daily:  To walk in the spirit or to follow the lusts of our flesh.  We all have our struggles in this mortal existence.  Have you found out yet that no matter if you win or lose at tug-of-war, you always end up with rope burns if you don’t wear gloves?    Are we all not in a Tug-of-war with temptation?  How can we win against the tug-of-war within us so we’re not left humiliated, abandoned, hurt, withdrawn, fallen down and burned?

Wearing gloves is like having a plan of action before we play the game of tug-of-war. Gloves provide us with protection from harm and are just like having a counterpart or someone with whom we can correspond about our change.   We must not hide in the dark any longer or think we can battle this alone.  Our counterpart is the go-to-person whom we can report to whenever temptation arise.

How do we define these temptations?  This is an interesting part of the equation because there are so many people in the world who may not consider “lusts of the flesh” evil. Because so many people have abandoned the faith of their fathers, they have succumbed to the belief that there is no faith or belief in God, therefore, there is no law, therefore, there is no need of judgment, therefore, there is no sin; these are signs of being in the yoke (rope) of bondage.

That there is no sin and no law and no God is the great lie Satan has promulgated across the world through the beginning of time and is the anti-Christ being taught in homes, schools and societies.   The sins of omission to the greater law are taught by Paul to the Galatians 5:16-21 “for he that lusts after the flesh are contrary to the spirit of God”:

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

“Paul taught the Galatians to rid themselves of the yoke “(or rope)” of bondage they were tied with because of being mislead by some of their Christian-Jewish leaders who were taught they needed to follow the law of Moses and be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul chastened the Galatians Saints for being so easily swayed away from the liberty of the gospel of Jesus Christ and returning instead to the bondage of the law of Moses. He then clarified that even though followers of Christ had been freed from the bondage of the law of Moses, that did not mean they had the freedom to indulge freely in sin.” New Testament Seminary Teaching Manual

Anything contrary to the spirit of God means we are on the losing side of the tug-of-war match and the results are loss of freedom; freedom within and freedom without. In 2 Corinthians 3:17 we learn “Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  We must ask ourselves, “what is the spirit of the Lord and how do we know if it is there?” The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance Galatians 5:22-23  

I pray this year is our year to win the tug-of-war with temptations as we visualize ourselves as free agents who have won the battle of addictions of the flesh as described by the apostle Paul.  How wise are the words of the prophets if we take the time to humble ourselves and realize we are nothing without the help of the Lord, His servants, His followers and others who are lovers of others rather than oneself.  Not only do we need help from each other to battle these temptations that so easily beset us, but we especially need the spirit of God and the Atonement of Christ who are the ultimate gloves of protection from getting burned from the rope of bondage.

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