He was telling me about some of his struggles in life.
Mr. Dave said: "Being single is not fun especially at my age lol. There are some fairly rough times but I am glad I don't use my old ways to get through it. It took a long time for me to be able to read the bible and get the personal joy from it, I found that I had some real issues with church and things for awhile, and it is still tough at times but I am doing a lot better. I have a good christian accountability friend I meet with for prayer, lunch and study once a week."
I began to share with him what the scripture has to say as well as some of my personal experience.
When we try real hard to not sin...we find ourselves running toward sin instead of away from it. Why? Because our sinful nature doesn't want to die and will do everything in its power to stay alive.
When I allow the Spirit to work in me and invite Him into every aspect of my life, I find that I want to please my Father in heaven rather than my sinful nature.
Have you ever denied your sinful flesh, and found it to be screaming back at you, "WHY WHY WHY, I'M HUNGRY?!?!" How can we overcome this? By killing it.
"For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." ESV
Mr. Dave talked about accountability. Accountability is good. But when the accountability is gone, how does a person stand faithful to biblical morals? If our strength is found in having an accountability partner, what's a person to do when the're not around? Also, the accountability partner may not be a good influence because he can and does fail. Let me say this again, having an accountability partner is a good thing. Being accountable to someone is good when the meeting is focused on relying on the strength of Christ for the victory. It becomes a problem when we rely on our accountability partner to give us strength. If my morals are contingent on whether or not I met with my accountability partner this week, then the strength I gain is weakness because it is rooted in human capability rather than in the giver of life. I find that when we are first and foremost accountable to God, it is far more effective for our growth in the faith. God is able to do far more in changing our hearts than 10,000 coffee confessions. God sees everything, and we should daily invite Him to see everything we do in our lives.
Pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and trying real hard to not sin...will never work. We must put our faith in Jesus and the finished work of His cross. Without the cross, it's just behavior modification. As a result, the sinful passions and desires will remain constantly screaming and crying to be fed.
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."ESV
When we starve our fleshly, sinful nature, we must also feed the spiritual nature, or we will completely and utterly starve. We need to feed our relationship with God or we will find ourselves looking for something sinful to satisfy us. We have been declared righteous by the blood of Jesus shed for us on the cross. We are forgiven and no longer need to pay for our sins. There is no longer a retribution required. Our sins are forgiven past, present, and future. We are no longer condemned to hell for our sins when we admit we are guilty, when we repent, and ask for forgiveness. But, the sinful nature still wants to control us. It must die. It must be killed.
God wants our sinful nature to be crucified ...and we should invite Him to nail our hands to His cross.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..." ESV
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus must get all the glory for our victories. This is not an after-thought, but rather a central declaration that we are fully incapable of accomplishing anything in our own strength. We get none of the glory and Jesus gets all the glory and honor in our victories! An accountability partner can guide us, but Jesus is the rock we must lean on. When we take our eyes off of man and put them on Christ, true victory is in the making!