The War Within

Mortification is, “a ruthless, full-hearted resistance to sinful practice.” This stodgy religious term is about more than throwing off the shackles of sin in our lives, it is about going on offense, and taking back ground. You may be surprised to learn that the language of the New Testament isn’t as rosy and gentle as you might have been led to believe. No, peppered throughout these inspired writings is the language of war. 

The Christian sees himself smack dap in the middle of a war. A war taking place within their own mind, heart, and body. A war between the light and the darkness. A war between what is good, right and God-honoring, and what is not. The Christian is a ground-bounder in this war. His feet march on the front lines where contact with the enemy is unavoidable and inevitable.  

With this in mind, the pages of the New Testament call for an unrelenting violence upon the baser instincts and desires of your flesh. Don’t confuse this with violence or aggression towards other people; that’s wrong. Violence of action upon the weakness and sin lurking within your heart is the call.  

You must take it out before it takes you out. There is no way around it. You must engage in battle with your flesh and make it your slave. “Be killing sin,” John Owen said, “or it will be killing you.” 

“The very word translated as ‘put to death’ (Greek word thanatoute),” Tim Keller says, “is violent and total. It means to reject totally everything we know to be wrong; to declare war on attitudes and behaviors that are wrong—give them no quarter, take no prisoners, pull out all the stops.” 

This is not the language of a group of soft, weak men and women. This is the language of a determined and strong group of people. People who make it their aim to squash sin and conquer their bodies. A group of people called out to take extreme ownership of every area of their lives, and to pursue radical discipline in pursuit of one goal—holiness. 

The Christian isn’t engaged in conflict with sin, and weakness in order to earn or merit acceptance before God. The Christian already has everything he needs to be right with God, because of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. They fight sin for a completely different reason—gratitude to their savior who has set them free. 

In Christ, we are called to make war with our flesh. We are enlisted in a great battle that will last the rest of our days in this life, but we are assured the final victory. No matter how we are doing in our fight, Christ has secured our ultimate victory over Satan, sin, and death. We have nothing to fear. Nothing to hold us back except our own insecurities, and weakness. 

Get violent with those things. Take the aggressive and drastic measures required to kill the tiniest of your desires to sin. Don’t sit back and take it easy. Get in the game. Because you can’t lose.