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In view of your constant exposure to temptation, and because of your previous falls and failures, do you struggle to believe that you can be victorious over your sinful habits? Do you battle with skepticism, unsure if God is really referring to you when He says that we are more than conquerors? Do you lack the confidence to step out, stand firm, and resist the Devil?
Welcome to the Point of Purity Podcast! I’m your host Steve Etner – author, National Speaker, Certified Professional Mentor TM and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry and this is Episode #155. In this week's episode we focus on an amazing truth found in Scripture. Based off my book entitled “Are You a Super Man? Becoming God’s Man of Steel” we will discover the secret to being a Super Man of God. So, let's dive in to our episode is entitled "Rip Open Your Shirt"
In any Superman movie, there is the inevitable scene that shows Clark Kent either entering a phone booth as the mild-mannered reporter and stepping out as Superman, or simply removing his glasses and ripping open his shirt to reveal the red “S” emblazoned on his chest. Either way, we know we’re about to see our superhero in action.
Throughout this study, we have learned that as a child of God you already are a Super Man. As Teknon-Theos you have all the power you need to be a godly man of purity and integrity. You are fully equipped to fight the battle and stand victoriously over the fallen enemy.
The biggest problem we run into is simply this: doubt. Because of your constant exposure to temptation, because of your previous falls and failures, because of your humanness, you struggle to believe that you can be victorious. You battle with skepticism, unsure if God is really referring to you when in Romans 8:37 He says that we are more than conquerors. You lack the confidence to (James 4:7) step out, stand firm, and resist the Devil.
This week we are going to focus on an amazing truth found in Scripture. This truth will help you discover that your fears and frustrations are unfounded and unnecessary. In fact, as you study this truth, you will uncover the secret to being a Super Man of God. You see, Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I have a question for you. When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Be honest, now. What do you see? Did you ever stop to think that what you are seeing is not really you? Okay, if you want to get technical, when you look at a mirror you’re seeing a reflection—but that’s not what I’m talking about. The image reflected in the mirror is not the real you. It’s just your body. It’s just a vehicle to travel through life in. It’s not the real you.
The real you lives inside your body. The Apostle Paul calls it our “inner being” (or inner man – Romans 7:22). It’s the part of you that God cares about deeply—so deeply that He paid the ultimate price to save the real you from an eternity in Hell (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
When God looks at you, my friend, He’s not looking at your body—He’s looking at your soul. Your Heavenly Father “sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Man looks at your body, your flesh, and tends to judge you by external things: your looks as well as your successes and failures. But God sees what’s inside. He sees the real you. Your inner being is what matters to Him, and He wants the real you to be totally focused on Him (Psalm 51:6). That’s when the Holy Spirit strengthens you with His power to be the Super Man of God you are supposed to be (Ephesians 3:16).
The problem we struggle with is our sinful flesh. That’s what is keeping you from living as the man of steel God created you to be. So, let’s talk for a few moments about your flesh. Paul said, “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” (Romans 7:18). Can you relate? You want to do what is right. You want to live a life that glorifies God. You want to be a Super Man of God, yet your sinful flesh keeps getting in the way. You struggle to live out the godliness you feel inside. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:3 that “We all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath.”
Think about it this way: Have you ever driven a car that’s out of alignment? When you let go of the steering wheel, what happens? It pulls the vehicle to the right or to the left. It naturally wants to go where you don’t want it to go. If you let go of the wheel, disaster is bound to happen. To keep it on a straight path, you must put both hands on the steering wheel and continuously fight the pull.
As a child of God (as Teknon Theos) you are in a constant battle with your flesh. That is because your flesh is weakened by sin (Romans 8:3). Your flesh has a natural bent toward sin. The fact is, “While we (are) in the flesh, the sinful passions … (are) at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death” (Romans 7:5). Your flesh is the vehicle you use to travel through life, and because of sin it’s permanently out of alignment. This is why, when you “let go of the wheel” it will always pull you away from God.
Paul described it this way: “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 do” (Galatians 5:17).
Brothers Ethan and Evan were known around town as being less-than-honest businessmen. Between their crooked business dealings and connections to the mafia, they were mean and cold-blooded. You definitely didn’t want to do business with them, and if you did, you did so at great risk not just to your bottom line but to your personal well-being.
One day Evan had a massive heart attack and died. Ethan wanted to give his dear brother a funeral that would be remembered for ages to come. He spared no expense. Working with the funeral home, he made all the arrangements except one: he couldn’t find a preacher who would do the memorial service.
Finally, he found a pastor of a small community church who was willing—if Ethan would donate $15,000 to put a new roof on the church. Ethan agreed on one condition. In the pastor’s eulogy, he had to call Evan a “Saint.” The preacher agreed.
Curiosity got the better of the town, and everyone showed up for the funeral service. As the music stopped and the preacher stood, the silence in the room was palpable. Everyone wondered what the preacher would say. Ethan looked at the preacher. The preacher looked at Ethan, cleared his throat and began.
“Today we are here to acknowledge the man we all knew as Evan. Evan was an evil man. He was a liar, a thief, a deceiver, a manipulator, and a hedonist. All he cared about was himself. He destroyed the fortunes, careers, and lives of countless people in this town. Evan did every self-centered, egotistical, rotten thing you can think of—and many others you can’t even begin to imagine. But compared to his brother, Evan was indeed a saint!” (source unknown)
Although we might get a slight chuckle from that story, we also know there’s an element of truth to it. I’m not saying that every human being is just as corrupt, just as wicked, just as despicable as everyone else; that would not be true.
However, every one of us was born with a wicked, old sinful nature. On the day you were conceived, you were a sinner. On the day you were born, you were a sinner. Truth be told, you were born dead. Without Christ you were alive physically, but dead spiritually. You would have been accurately described as the walking dead. Why? Because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
David wrote, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). And Paul says very matter-of-factly (Ephesians 2:1, 5) that before salvation we were all “dead in trespasses and sins.”
It’s important here that you understand this: you weren’t born “neutral.” You didn’t come into this world with the possibility of going one way or the other. You were born a sinner. Period. You were born with an old, sinful nature. A person doesn’t become a thief when he steals; he steals because he already is a thief. A person doesn’t become a liar when he tells a lie; he tells a lie because he already is a liar. “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies” (Psalm 58:3).
Remember, the flesh is just the shell—the vehicle that travels through life carrying the real you inside of it. Without Christ, the real you is dead, lifeless, without hope of being with God in Heaven for eternity. Listen to these verses and consider the point that Paul is making: “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh. To set the mind on the flesh is death. The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” (Romans 8:5-7) And in Romans 8:13 we read, “If you live according to the flesh you will die.”
Your old, sinful nature had no desire for, or devotion to God in any way, shape or form because it was completely and utterly dead in sin. It focused entirely on one thing: gratifying the sinful cravings of the flesh. Anything the flesh wanted; the old nature was willing to provide.
Paul is telling us that before salvation your thoughts were focused on fulfilling the sinful desires of the flesh. You’ve heard me say this many times in this podcast, what you think strongly influences what you do. With your mind set on fulfilling the sinful desires of the flesh, you lived a life characterized by sinful choices. Without Christ, your mind had nothing holy and godly to help direct its thinking.
However, when you placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, something very interesting happened, something absolutely wonderful happened. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Paul very clearly says “I” have been crucified, and “I” no longer live. Now consider this: the word “crucified” means dead, gone, never to come back. With that understanding then, let me ask you this question: Who (or what) died? I ask simply because the Apostle Paul is very much alive as he writes the words of Galatians 2:20. Yet he says he is dead; he no longer lives. What died? What is no longer around? What can never come back to life again?
To answer that, let’s look at what Paul writes in Romans 6:6-7. “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.”
Watch this now. It’s your old sinful nature that was crucified. That old nature was put to death when you put your faith in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation . The old has passed away ; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The words “passed away” (the old has passed away) means to perish, to come to an end, to cease to exist. Once again, a solid statement that the old, sinful nature is dead and gone. I find it very interesting that twice now Paul refers to the sinful nature as being “old.” That word “old” doesn’t refer to chronological age, but rather to that which you had from the beginning: the original thing. In other words, that which you were born with—your old sinful nature. The moment you were saved, that old nature died.
“But Steve, I still sin!” Yes, you do—and so do I. However, as a born-again believer, you are not sinning because you still have an old sinful nature. You are sinning because you still live in a sinful body (Galatians 5:16).
OK. So, after that old, sinful nature was crucified, what then? What happened after that? Paul answers: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION.” Another way of putting it: you have been Born Again! This is why Paul says we are to “Put on the new self , which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator ” (Colossians 3:10).
Watch this now: God didn’t take your old nature and refurbish it. He didn’t give it a makeover. He didn’t drag it into His shop and do a major overhaul on it. He completely annihilated it and created a brand-spankin’ new one to take its place. Then, He—the Almighty, Most Holy, Sovereign God of the Universe—moved in! Yup, He set up His throne room in your heart! According to Galatians 2:20 you were crucified with Christ. Yes, the old sinful nature no longer lives. But now what? Christ now lives IN you!
“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. But if Christ is in you , although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:9-10)
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
If you are a born-again believer, God has taken up residency inside of you. He dwells in you, my friend! But how on earth is that possible? How can a holy God who cannot even look at sin (Habakkuk 1:13) permanently camp out in you—especially when you battle with sin every day of your life? The answer is: your new nature. In order for God to dwell within you, He had to remove the old sinful nature and put a new, holy nature in its place. If your new nature could sin, God couldn’t live there (Psalm 5:4-5 and 101:7). Your new nature was created “after” (literally “according to”) the likeness of God. In other words, it’s a direct reflection or exact representation of God.
Finally, notice that God says your new nature was created in “true holiness”—literally, “perfect purity.” In other words: your new nature is perfectly pure, incapable of sinning! Consider this: God is holy. We just saw that your new nature was created according to God’s holiness. Therefore, your new nature is a HOLY nature! Now think about this: God’s holiness means more than just that God doesn’t sin. It means He is totally incapable of sinning. God and sin are at polar opposites of each other. And your new nature was created after God’s holy nature. Is your mind blown yet?
Note: if you would like to learn more about this, please read my book Extreme Mind Makeover: How to Transform Sinful Thoughts and Habits Into God-Pleasing Patterns of Life, Overboard Ministries, 2011.
Have you ever wondered why you do some of the sinful things you do? Ever ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” Hey, we’ve all been there, my friend. Even the apostle Paul battled with this issue.
We’ll talk more about this in next week’s episode.
But for now, let’s hit the pause button until next week’s episode as we continue our journey through my book “Are You a Super Man? Becoming God’s Man of Steel.” If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about The Pure Man Ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com ".
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So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, Certified Professional Mentor TM and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.
Please understand that your involvement in this program does not provide any guarantee on the part of Steve Etner, The Purity Coach or The Pure Man Ministry. In other words, we are coming alongside of you for the purpose of coaching you toward accountability and purity. I am not a professional counselor and I cannot guarantee you specified results. I am, however, a man who has been where you are and has seen God work in my life in a mighty way. This program is what changed me. And God has used this program to impact the hearts of countless men across the globe!
I'm here to encourage you, to challenge you, to pray with you, and to share with you what God has taught me. I look forward to coming alongside of you in this journey!