By JFK Mensah
JFK is a respected bible teacher and also serves Pioneers Africa doing mobilization while based in Accra, Ghana.
I knew all these, but here I was as a new Christian hopelessly caught in the web of sinful living. I could identify with Paul in Rom. 7:15,22,23.
‘For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do. ..For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.’
I prayed desperately. I fasted often. I wept before God. I devoured my Bible and memorized appropriate verses. I wrestled intensely.
I vowed to God that if I ever fornicated again, He should kill me. I hated the idea of being seen as a hypocrite, yet Christlikeness looked so impossible. My private life was not in sync with my reputation on campus. I read through Gal. 5:16-18 many times:
‘I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.’
Gradually I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If I wanted to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, I had to compete according to the rules, Lk. 9:23.
I began to understand that the war against Satan, the flesh and the world only stops when the child of God falls dead. I needed to practice spiritual disciplines on a constant basis rather than irregular shots.
I needed a transformation through the habitual renewal of my mind. The fruit of the Spirit was character I had to build, not something I was to wait for God to suddenly infuse into my members.
Rom. 8:5-8 began to make sense to me.
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, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Just as the law of aerodynamics is able to carry a plane full of people and cargo over and above the law of gravity to their destination safely, so also the law of walking and living according to spiritual principles is able to carry us above the power of sin in our lives and cause us to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.
God’s divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness so that through His exceeding great and precious promises, we should become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Pet.1:3-4.
I decided to take the promises of God seriously. I memorized and meditated daily on verses that assured me of God dwelling in me, 1 Jn. 4:15; Phil. 2:13; 2 Cor. 6:16; of Christ living in me and strengthening me from within-Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27; Phil. 4:13; of the indwelling and empowering of the Holy Spirit-1 Cor. 6:19-20; Rom. 8:11; 1 Jn.4:4.
As I continued in this, my confidence and courage to resist sin, Satan and worldly lusts increased. I stopped reading pornography and put away the worldly magazines and seductive TV programs. I avoided the company of unbeliever friends who dragged me into such conversation. Then the victory over impure thoughts came easily. I could testify publicly.
I learnt how to begin each year by taking stock of my moral weaknesses and the flaws in my spiritual life and character. I spend each month tackling either a vice or building a virtue. My daily appointments with God for the Quiet Time became regular. My hunger and thirst for God and the things of the Spirit increased with each conquest.
The years have passed and I can see God giving me more grace to break away from besetting sins like anger, pride and bitterness that looked so formidable previously. It took me years of perseverance to stop biting my finger nails, but I am free now.
I am not yet perfect. I have not arrived as yet. But I agree with Paul that:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor.3:18