Fighting for Joy, Part Three: Weaponizing and Wielding the Word

For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away... [W]hen one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.... And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:14, 16, 18)

REACHING FOR GLORY

Every follower of Jesus should long to behold "the glory of the Lord" and to be "transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another," (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). This process of transformation is what we call "sanctification." As we are made more holy by God, we are freed from the desires of our old self, and enabled to glorify him by enjoying his presence in our lives. Therefore, holiness is primarily heart-change: the weakening of one set of desires exchanged for the strengthening of new desires. This is what Paul means when he contrasts being a slave to sin with being a slave to righteousness:

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:17–18).

Paul can speak (as he does in these verses) of this exchange as something that has happened. We have been set free from our old master and we have become slaves of righteousness. At the same time he is able to urge us to pursue greater freedom from sin and greater submission (slavery) to righteousness (as he does in the next verse):

For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Romans 6:19)

We are called to actually do something ("present your members") to minimize the sway of the old man (sin) over our lives and maximize the influence of the new man. God calls (and commands!) us to pursue a heart that delights in the things of God. Such effort actually leads to sanctification, to a transformation of our hearts. We were once satisfied by sin; now we are (increasingly) satisfied by God. We once treasured the things of this world, but now we treasure Christ. It is this God-glorifying, Christ-centered joy that is the goal of the Christian life.

However, we've also said that we have three enemies whose goal it is to keep us from delighting in God and thereby bringing him glory. Our own flesh (the old self) constantly tempts us to go back to old habits and old sinful patterns of living. The world presents us with alternative sources of joy, providing our flesh with new ways of indulging old sinful, desires. The devil constantly draws our attention to the things of the world and tries to convince us that whatever we see "out there" is better than what we might find in Christ.

So, we need to fight. This fight is exactly what Paul has in mind when he talks about the presentation of our "members" to sin or to righteousness. We use our eyes, ears, hands, feet, and minds to take hold of the tools of transformation, the weapons for warfare that God has provided for us. We call these tools "spiritual disciplines" and we use them like weapons because they help us fight for true, lasting joy. The most vital tool and the most potent weapon which the Lord has given to us is his Word.

WEAPONIZING GOD'S WORD

The Bible Is God's Word

If you are a follower of Jesus, then there are three truths about the Bible that you need to embrace before you will be able to effectively wield God's Word against your spiritual enemies. First, you have to believe that the Bible actually is God's Word, and that as God's Word it is totally true and trustworthy. Paul says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God..." This means that the whole Bible ("all Scripture") should be received as a divine message ("breathed out by God"). God's words are as trustworthy and truthful as God himself is. So, Jesus tells us, "[U]ntil heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished," (Matthew 5:18 ). Jesus has a high view of Scripture. Every word is God's Word. Yes, men wrote the Bible, and it is also a thoroughly human book. But God oversaw it's writing in such a way that he ensures that every word of Moses or David Paul or Peter or John is also fully his own Word. As Peter tells us, "men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit," (2 Peter 1:21).

If you have doubts about the truth of God's Word, you will have trouble hanging on to it in the midst of your struggles. You will find yourself setting aside those truths that conflict with your own deep-seated desires. Moreover, if you discard or dismiss any portion of God's Word as irrelevant or regard the Bible as insufficient, then you will have disarmed yourself. You will blind yourself so that you will not be able to see your enemies' attacks when they come. If you are to use God's Word rightly and effectively, you must believe God's Word.

The Bible Is God's Word About Christ

Belief, however, does not remove every obstacle that would prevent us from the effective use of the Scriptures. The first mistake we often make when trying to use the Bible to fight out battles is that we fail to understand what the Bible is really about. Scripture is not a collection of commands and behavioral examples. It is not, ultimately, about us and how we are supposed to live. The Bible is about God's work of creating, redeeming, and reconciling the world to himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus himself tells us this much.

For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. (John 5:46)

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25–27)

There is, of course, a certain irony in realizing that the Bible, in order to be used by us for our sanctification, cannot be thought to have been written mainly to tell us how to live our lives. That irony is softened when we remind ourselves that holiness is less about what we do and more about why we do the things we do. There are certainly commands to be obeyed and lifestyles to avoid, but it is entirely possible to obey commands without being made holy.

True holiness consists of happiness in God and the obedience that flows from that joy. Again, holiness is heart-transformation. Seeing Christ, the Living Water and the Bread of Life, revealed in the pages of the Bible is the path to ever-increasing joy in him. When we read the Bible as a book about Jesus, then we find in the Scriptures a treasure of inestimable worth, not a list of impossible demands.

The Bible Is God's Word FOR Us

The Bible may not be God's Word about us, but it certainly is God's Word for us. In other words, the Scriptures have been given to us to transform us "from one degree of glory to another" (2 Corinthians 3:18) as we behold "the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6) in the written Word. So, Paul says that all Scripture is not only "breathed about by God," but that it is also "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work," (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

We should expect to be corrected by God's Word and comforted by God's Word. We should expect to be trained for righteous living and prepared for the good works that God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). Without this expectation, Scripture may be reduced to a sourcebook for theological inquiry. It is not less than a resource for answers to our questions about God, but it is far more! God expects us to respond to who he is by living transformed lives. He commands it! "Be transformed by the renewal of your mind," (Romans 12:2).

WIELDING GOD'S WORD

Paul calls us to use God's Word in the fight against temptation and demonic forces: "[T]ake... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:17)." Quite literally, we need to receive God's Word so that we can use it in the fight. Assuming that we believe the things mentioned above about the Bible, we need to know how we practically go about using the Bible as a weapon in Spiritual warfare. Let me suggests three basic steps to the use of God's Word in our own lives, along with some practical ways in which we can take these steps.

Putting the Word of God into Our Heads

Before we can do anything with the Word of God, we need to have possession of it. Bibles our on bookshelves and coffee tables do not constitute really having God's Word. We need to first know what the Bible says and understand what it means before we can say we have a hold on it. So, here are seven ways in which we can get God's Word into our heads.

  1. Read the Bible every day.

You may begin by reading your Bible for five minutes each day. You may begin by reading a few verses here and there. Whatever your starting point, the point is to get started. Every Christian should spend some time in the Word. Every. Single. Day. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalms 119:105)

  1. Read through the Bible every year.

The best way to get into the habit of daily reading is to read through the Bible every year. Most people can get through the whole Bible reading only about 15 minutes every day. Your favorite television show takes at least twice as long! If reading through the whole Bible sounds too difficult, begin by reading through the New Testament. There are two-year and three-year Bible reading plans. There are reading plans that give you the weekend to catch up. There are reading plans that work chronologically, or in book order, or thematically. Dozens of plans can be found on the YouVersion Bible app. Most study Bibles come with a reading plan in the front or back of them.

  1. Meditate on (think about in a focused way) the Bible.

Biblical meditation is the exact opposite of what most of us think of when we hear the word "meditate." It is not an emptying or clearing of our minds; it is filling our minds with God's Word. It is concentrated thinking about the Bible. Reading the Bible alone will not help you to understand or apply the Bible very much. You need to read some passages slowly and think deeply about them. I recommend choosing a reading plan through the Bible to cover a lot of ground (about 15 minutes of reading per day). Then choose a paragraph or a story or a verse to think about more deeply for several minutes.

  1. Memorize key Bible verses and passages.

If you meditate on the Bible often, and sit on one passage for a few days, you will find that memorizing the Bible is easier than you thought it would be. Memorizing the Bible is not for kids or for the super spiritual. It is a practical, simple habit that will put God's Word at our disposal even when we don't have our Bibles open or in our hands.

  1. Learn the basic storyline of the Bible.

The Bible tells one grand story of God's creation of a people for himself, their fall, and his redemption of that people and restoration of the world. Knowing the overall story well will help you to understand the many smaller stories in the Bible. You may want to read a short, introductory biblical theology to help you with this. I recommend something like Graeme Goldsworthy's Gospel and Kingdom or Mark Devers What Does God Want of Us Anyway?

  1. Learn how to rightly interpret the Bible.

Of course, all of this reading and thinking won't help much if we don't know how to understand the Bible. There are plenty of great introductory books on interpreting the Bible correctly. I recommend starting with something like Getting the Message by Daniel Doriani. There are many great books and online lessons about how to correctly understand and apply the Scriptures. You can even take our class, "Reading the Bible Like Jesus (And the Apostles)" when it's offered. The important thing is to recognize that understanding the Bible takes effort and practice. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth," (2 Timothy 2:15).

  1. Listen to what faithful brothers and sisters have to say about the Bible.

You may have noticed that the first four ways of getting the Bible into your head involve only you and your Bible (and God!). That's intentional. You need to spend time in God's Word first and foremost. However, the second two require you to reach out to others for help. It is good to listen to those who are wiser than us, godlier than us, and more knowledgeable than us. God has given us teachers for a reason! God has given the church "shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ..." (Ephesians 4:11–13).

Letting the Word Filter Down to Our Hearts

Of course, doing all of the above doesn't, by itself, transform us into the image of Christ. Knowing and understanding the Bible is necessary but not sufficient for our sanctification. We need new thoughts about Jesus and new affections for Jesus it we are going to be a holy people. Otherwise, we run the risk of using our knowledge to increase our sin: "[I]f I... understand all mysteries and all knowledge... but have not love, I am nothing," (1 Corinthians 13:2).

In order to avoid useless knowledge, we to do three things as we read our Bibles. First, we need to begin to actually see the ways in which the whole Bible points us to Christ. Jesus chides the Jewish religious leaders, who possessed great knowledge of the Bible, for failing to see him in its pages:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me. (John 5:39)

We need to begin to see the great themes of the Bible and how they carry us forward to Christ. We need to know the promises and how they are fulfilled in Christ. We need to see the types and shadows in the Old Testament and understand how they point us to him. When we see Jesus revealed in God's Word, we see a person to be loved rather than just information to be learned.

Second, we need to be prayerful as we read our Bibles. We won't be able to truly understand the Bible or see Christ's glory in the Bible if the Holy Spirit doesn't open our eyes. It is his job to show us the glory of the incarnate Word in the written Word:

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. (John 15:26)

Pray as you open your Bible and pray as you read. Ask for help. Ask for understanding. Ask for a sight of the glory of Christ.

Third, we need to respond to the things that God reveals in worship. Reading should result in praising. This might mean singing. It might mean expressing thanksgiving to God. It might mean telling someone else about the great things we've seen in God's Word. Fewer things make truth sink into our hearts quite like saying them out loud: in praise to God or in proclamation to someone else. Give God glory for the glory he has revealed to you and your heart will begin to swell with affections for Jesus. You will become more holy.

Putting the Word to Work with Our Hands

There are no clear boundaries between these three steps. Each one tends to spill over into the others. So, worship often takes the form of telling others about the greatness of God, which is an outward work that we do. The heart begins to move the hands. That's how we know that a genuine work of the Holy Spirit through God's Word is taking place. Just as it is possible to have knowledge that doesn't lead to holiness, it is also possible to have spiritual feelings that do not lead to holiness. Often, these affections are not rooted in the true knowledge of God. This is how Paul describes his lost Jewish brothers and sisters:

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (Romans 10:1–2)

We may think that we love God when we really do not. John tells us that one of the primary evidences of love for God (transformed hearts) is love for others.

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9–11)

Our love for others will likewise be seen in practical ways:

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16–18)

What we want is right thoughts from the Bible producing affections for the One revealed by the Bible so that we do the works commanded in the Bible. When we focus upon loving others by laying down our lives and loving God by living like Christ, then we will make great progress in the fight against sin.

But we need God's Word to do this. We won't know who God is without the Bible. We won't see Christ as worthy of our affections and obedience without the Scriptures. We won't know how love is defined without God's commands in his Word. So, the Scriptures advance our holiness (joy in God himself) by showing us what God is like and by showing us what love really looks like.

With the help of God's Word, will be able to "put off the old self," (Ephesians 4:22). We will be able to treasure Christ above all earthly treasures While knowing who God is and what love means is invaluable in our pursuit of holiness, we will also need the help of God's Word to fight off temptation. We see Jesus doing this when he is tempted by Satan.

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God....’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” (Matthew 4:3-4; 7–10)

So, before we're finished discussing this particular spiritual discipline, I want to suggest some specific biblical truths and passages of Scripture that can be used effectively against some of our most common sinful tendencies. As we wield the Word like weapon, we need to remind ourselves that our goal is not outward conformity, but inward transformation with outward effects.

Anxiety/Worry/Fear

We tend to view anxiety as more of a psychological or emotional disorder to be treated than sin to be killed. Thre are physical components to our feelings of anxiety (changing hormones, brain chemistry, etc.). However, we need to remember that many (most?) of our worries and fears are not brought on solely by imbalances our bodies; they are caused by sin in our heats. In reality, like the hungry man who is easily angered ("hangry"), we often see both physiological and spiritual causes of our emotions. While we may need assistance (in the form of a sandwich or medication!) in dealing with some feelings, we also need God's Word to fight sinful emotions.

Biblical Truth: God is sovereign. He loves you and he is working all things for our good and his glory.

Biblical Passages:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Psalm 56:3–4)

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2) [It does you know good to lie awake at night anxious or to lie fearfully in bed in the morning.]

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (Proverbs 12:25) [It may be that God might use his Word through you to encourage a brother or sister who is weighed down by the cares of this world. A good, kind, encouraging word can indeed make us "glad."]

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (Matthew 6:25–27)

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) [We often tell ourselves that biblical tropes like this need to be silenced when people are hurting. Quite the opposite! We need to hear (with kindness and patience) the great truths of God's Word if we are to be encouraged and strengthened in the midst of struggle.]

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13–15)

Covetousness/Greed

Much of our sin is caused by the inward sin of covetousness. We become envious of others, wanting what belongs to them. Or we become greedy, clinging to the things that we call "ours." Whether we crave a better house, a better job, better children, a better car, or a better relationship, these desires can become our idols.

Biblical Truth: God's goal is not for you to be healthy or wealthy, but to be holy and happy in him.

Biblical Passages:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Exodus 20:17)

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 11:4) [As they say, there are no U-haul trailers behind hearses. All of us will stand before God some day, and earthly success, large or great, will do us no good. A life spent in pursuit of more here will gain us nothing there.]

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf. (Proverbs 11:28)

A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched. (Proverbs 28:25)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23–24)

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7–8)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6)

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:9–10)

You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2) [We are back to the level of desire. Our sinful behavior springs from our sinful desires. Not least among these sinful desires is coveting.]

Unrighteous Anger / Bitterness / Unforgiveness

The Bible does allow for righteous anger. God himself becomes angry. However, much of our anger is rooted in sinful pursuits and sinful attitudes. When we find ourselves angry over things that are not sinful or giving in to anger for long periods of time, we need to fight against our feelings. When anger over someone else's sin (not necessarily a bad thing) leads to a refusal to forgive, you may be sure that your anger has become a sinful snare.

Biblical Truth: God is patient and kind with us, being slow to anger. We should only be angered by that which angers God; and we should be quick to forgive. God will not forgive those who do not forgive others.

Biblical Passages:

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, (Ephesians 4:26).

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. (Proverbs 29:22) But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:22)

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14–15)

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12–14)

Sexual Immorality / Lust

Sexual immorality was rampant in the world into which Jesus sent his disciples. In many ways, our culture now mirrors the first century Greco-Roman world. Sinful sexuality is celebrated while biblical sexuality is misunderstood and often forgotten or maligned. Oddly enough, in our #metoo world, the same attitudes toward sex and gender that lead to a rejection of biblical sexuality also lead to abuse, dissatisfaction, and heartache. Today, we are constantly bombarded with sexualized images and temptation. Everywhere we turn, we are tempted to abandon God's design for our sexuality. More than ever, we need God's Word close at hand to battle against lustful thoughts and sinful sexual behavior.

Biblical Truth: God created human beings male and female so that they could enjoy sexual intimacy in marriage. All sexual activity outside of the marriage of one man and one woman is sinful and should be repented of.

Biblical Passages:

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18) [The key is to run away. When we see temptation at distance we need to turn and go the other way. When it jumps out at us from around the corner, we need to pivot and get away.]

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, (Proverbs 5:18) [Not all battling of sexual sin is running away. Much of it is embracing God's design and running toward that reality.]

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27–28) [We should never ignore the sin of lust. Jesus condemns lust by itself, and it leads to every other form of sexual immorality.]

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:26–27) [It is tempting to legitimize homosexual behavior in order to seem more loving and accepting to our culture. In reality, to urge someone to pursue a course that is against God's design is to push them into oncoming traffic. Even if our signaling is mistaken for hatred and bigotry, we must, in love, insist upon God's good design in the face of alternatives.]

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:13) [Frequently, we have to remind ourselves, "This is not why God gave me this body. This is not why I have sexual desire. God did not design us with sexual organs and sexual feelings to be used in pursuit of sexuality outside of marriage.]

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality... (Galatians 5:19)

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. (Ephesians 5:3) Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

CONCLUSION

God's Word is a powerful tool in the fight for Christ-centered affections. If we want to treasure God and delight in him, then we need to see him as he has revealed himself and see sin in the light of the Scriptures. Unfortunately, if we "see" with our natural eyes only we will remain unchanged. However, if the Scriptures move from our heads to our hearts, and take root deeply within us, we will find that the works of our hands in the world around us are transformed.

Moreover, if we are going to "kill sin" (see Romans 8:13), then we are going to need the help of the Holy Spirit. We will need to wield the Word like a weapon at all times. We need to stand ready for temptation at all times, with our eyes fixed upon the superior treasure of Jesus Christ.