In the Gospels Yeshua tells us that if we so much as lust after someone with our eyes we have already committed adultery. That’s a tough lesson to listen to, especially in a world where we are constantly bombarded by sexual commercials and ads telling us how to be more attractive and showing off how attractive others are.
But there is a difference between looking at someone who you recognize as beautiful/handsome, and stripping them down with your eyes while imagining how the rest of it could go.
I thought I would try to do as Job said he did, i.e. make a covenant with my eyes not to look at any young girls. I asked God to help me overcome what I am as much conditioned to do as (maybe) sinfully want to do, and I asked Him again, and again, and again. I asked him to keep me from staring at beautiful women; in fact, I asked Him to take all sexual thoughts from me, completely.
Here is the answer He gave me: “Not my job.”
HUH? Not your job? But, but, but…we are told that whatever we ask for we will receive, and that you answer prayers, and, and, and ..uh…uh…that when we ask in Yeshua’s name we will receive what we ask for. I want you to take this from me! I want to have clean thoughts only, I want to be acceptable before you always. You know, like David prayed in the Psalms: create in me a clean heart, renew a right spirit in me, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart always be acceptable before thee. Aren’t these good things to ask of you? Isn’t this the kind of prayer you will not just acknowledge but one that you want to hear? Whassup with this, “Not my job” thing?
That’s when God answered me, again. I didn’t hear some majestic voice thundering, and it wasn’t even a still, quiet voice. It was a thought that just came into my head: one so simple, one so truthful, and one so significant and demonstrative of God’s ways that I knew it wasn’t from my brain. God made me to understand His answer.
“It doesn’t work that way. I won’t just take this from you because then when you need to learn how to call on My Spirit to help you, you won’t know how to. Spiritual strength is like any other strength- it needs to be exercised to reach it’s full potential. If I just take away sin from someone, they won’t have the spiritual strength to stand up against the enemy when he comes at them.”
It’s like the parable Yeshua tells about the man cleansed of a demon, and after the demon roamed the earth he came back into the very same man because the house had been cleaned, but it was empty. The lesson is that when the man was made clean, he didn’t do anything to fill himself with God. He was cleansed without any actions of his own, and when the demon came back he had no defence against it. Similarly, just being made pure in thought by having God “rewire” my CPU won’t help me to keep it that way.
We all, each of us, have to go through the fire of purification. We have God there to help and guide us, and His Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) to comfort us as we struggle with ourselves, but in the end, it must be us, it must be you, it must be me who overcome the sin in ourselves.
Didn’t God tell Cain that sin crouches at his door and is waiting for him? And more than just that warning, God told Cain that he-Cain- must conquer it!
Right from the start we are told that we must conquer the sinfulness in us. God will help us, God will guide us, God will provide (and already has, in Messiah Yeshua) the means for us to be acceptable when we fail to overcome our sin. But, day to day, we each must work at strengthening our spiritual muscles so that we can overcome the sin in our lives and stand up to the enemy when he comes at us.
Ask God to strengthen you, to guide you, to send His Ruach to comfort and ease your pain, and continually thank him for Messiah Yeshua, who is the ultimate Get-Out-Of-Jail card for everyone who does T’shuvah in his or her own heart, then asks forgiveness from God in Yeshua’s name.
That is how it works. We must first want to turn from our sins, then accept the grace God gave through His Messiah (Yeshua/Jesus) so we have forgiveness despite our own failure to be sinless, then after accepting Yeshua as our Messiah we can be given the Ruach HaKodesh to comfort, guide and help us through knowledge and understanding of God’s ways so that even though the journey is difficult, we will know the way to walk.
God will answer prayers, God is always there, and God wants us all to turn from our sin and live. He is clear about that throughout the bible. With God we are able to do this, but God is not an enabler- He will always help us, but we have to do it. He will guide us, but we have to walk. He will lift us up when we fall and help direct us to the right path, but we need to keep going.
When it comes to salvation, God has provided it.
When it comes to forgiveness of sins, Yeshua has provided it.
When it comes to overcoming the sin in ourselves, that’s not His job- it’s ours.