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March 23 – The war against your soul 

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. – 1 Peter 2:11

Scripture reading: Romans 13

As Christians, we are involved in a spiritual battle. Peter tells us to continually abstain from the passions of our flesh that make war against our souls. The word passion refers to any kind of self-seeking and includes ungodliness, lust, and covetousness. These passions have full sway in the hearts of unbelievers because they are ignorant of God and His holiness and grace as revealed in His Word. But for you as a Christian, growing in your knowledge of Christ, you don’t have to be controlled by selfish desires. We turn from self-centered living to now living under Christ’s lordship as those called by God out of this fallen world.

Fleshly lusts are human desires which stem from our own depravity and seek fulfillment apart from God and His will for us. A sojourner or a pilgrim (exile) would not put down roots in a place where he or she had no intention of staying, and so Peter warns the church against getting involved with fleshly lusts which war against the soul. These passions hinder our spiritual journey as pilgrims and cause much grief and pain. How should you then deal with fleshly lusts? You cannot overcome them by human effort or self-discipline. They are only overcome by the power of the indwelling Spirit as you live by faith in Christ. Paul told us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14). Have you come to Christ to help you win this war?

Suggestions for prayer

Praise the Lord that Christ is with us and has cleansed our sin with His own precious blood. Ask the Lord to help you live for Christ and to help you overcome the passions of the flesh.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB.

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