'It is every man's duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly.' -Westminster Confession of Faith 15.5
For the past few months our ladies' fellowship has been trekking through Lundgaard's 'The Enemy Within,' a book about the power and defeat of sin. The work serves as a practical help in the Christian's fight against the flesh. The chapter entitled 'Loving God With All Your Mind' struck me in particular.
After challenging readers to think carefully about what it means to love God with our minds as we engage in the battle against sin, Lundgaard raises the issue of the flesh's counteroffensive, with which every Christian will be familiar. Once we determine to fight against sin, the flesh will tempt us to the following:
1. Don't get specific. "The flesh wants your mind to be content to think in general about what please God," Lungaard explains. "For example, sin tries to persuade your mind to be happy with having a general aim of doing things to the glory of God, without ever considering particular ways to glorify God in your marriage or your work or in a conversation."
2. Be content with naked duty. 'The deceitfulness of the flesh says, 'You ought to pray, so pray; you ought to tithe, so tithe; now you've done your duty, so go and do what you want.'
3. Get into a routine. "The ultimate success of the flesh," says Lundgaard, "is to get you to obey perfunctorily." In other words, the flesh would be just fine with us 'going through the motions.' (Amos 5:25-26 addresses such a mechanical, heartless and outward conformity to God's word.)
We need to realize that the flesh will resist our Spirit given desire for Christ likeness, in these specific ways. The solution, as Lundgaard later shows, is to keep our eyes and affections focused on the cross of Christ! (Heb. 12:1,2).