Why Suffering Is GOOD For Every Believer
I would imagine that suffering is not a very popular topic amongst most churches today but suffering is a vital and important part of every believer's life and It should not and cannot be a topic that is left out of our Biblical thinking. Suffering comes in many forms and our heart today is to discuss the biblical view of suffering and how it is a powerful mindset and tool in our lives.
Download Free Thing
I have bee systematically teaching through 1st peter and last week we got to chapter 4:1-
Devotional - what are we learning from the Word
Romans 8 "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry."
- Suffering as a believer
- Cease from sin
- Depriving my flesh is suffering
- Being in human nature and submitting to God is telling your flesh no
- Choosing to walk in the Spirit
- Universal doctrine suffering
Romans 8 to explain whoever suffers … putting away of flesh is causing our flesh to suffer
“want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
We have been freed from the “want to do” God gives us new desires new cravings. As we walk in our new selves it grows
Sensuality - Not just sexual
THE WORLDLY DEFINITION IS PURELY SEXUAL.
THE BIBLICAL USE is: unbridled lust
Living for pleasure of every sense - pleasing the 5 senses rather than pleasing God
FROM WIKIPEDIA: Hedonism is a school of thought that argues pleasure and suffering are the only components of well-being. Ethical hedonism is the view that combines hedonism with welfarist ethics, which claim that what we should do depends exclusively on what affects the well-being individuals have. Ethical hedonists would defend either increasing pleasure and reducing suffering for all beings capable of experiencing them, or just reducing suffering in the case
Passions - Not just what are you passionate about in life
Being controlled by our emotions and serving our emotions vs pleasing God - affected by sensuality in that when we are not feeling good or something not pleasing instead of suffering we let our emotional response dictate our actions - flesh isn't getting what it wants so our choice is to suffer in the flesh and choose to walk in the spirit or suffer in the spirit and walk in flesh they are opposed
Drunkenness - Not just being drunk from intoxication
Overtaken by a substance or something out side your body
Proverbs 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."
Ephesians 5:18 "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,"
Removal of natural function - (Inhibition) Conscience
Orgies - Not just a sexual experience
Giving into your flesh never satiated never enough
Ecclesiastes 1:8 "All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing."
HISTORICAL "secret rites used in the worship of Bacchus, Dionysus, and other Greek and Roman deities, celebrated with dancing, drunkenness, and singing."
Drinking parties - Not just drinking at a party or hosting one intentionally
It is inviting others to partake with you in all of the above
No one likes to feel the weight of shame or guilt alone so if they
Misery loves company
Approval so you can keep doing it
Why godly fellowship is so important
Lawless Idolatry - All of this ends with self-worship
How I feel what I want what I pursue
Opposite of dying to self or taking up cross
Each one shows the progress of worshipping self vs the Creator
Thank you for your word and how it cuts us to the heart. Thank you for teaching us through your word. We pray your word would continue to transform us as we learn it and choose to walk out all that you command us to. We pray we would be people who recognize parts of our hearts that need to change, sin that needs to be repented of, motivations that are not pure, and actions that do not reflect your ways for the purpose of repentance and reconciliation and growth. May your will be done in us and through us. May your light shine brightly through our marriages as we encourage one another to draw closer to you.
In Jesus’ name, amen!
- [Aaron] Hey, We're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.
- [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
- [Aaron] And today we're going to talk about why suffering is good for us. Welcome to the Marriage After God Podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.
- [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife.
- [Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.
- [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade
- [Aaron] And so far we have four young children.
- [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media.
- [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.
- [Jennifer] We believe the Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life.
- And power.
- [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.
- [Jennifer] Together.
- [Aaron] Thank for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together.
- [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God.
- [Aaron] Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of the Marriage After God Podcast.
- [Jennifer] Hi.
- [Aaron] We love you guys. I just wanna say, the first episode of this season of this year, I think it got up to number 32 or 33 on the charts in iTunes. So that's all because of our listeners.
- [Jennifer] Thank you guys!
- [Aaron] Downloading all of these episodes, your guys rock, I just wanna say thank you.
- [Jennifer] Hopefully they liked it, you know, thought it was a good episode to kick off the year with.
- [Aaron] Yeah, if you liked it, share about the episode, take a screenshot of it, post it on Instagram, Facebook, tag us in it, we love seeing those.
- [Jennifer] @MarriageAfterGod.
- [Aaron] And we might even share about your post on our Instagram account.
- [Jennifer] That'd be awesome. Okay, so Aaron, why don't you just give a little update where you at, how's your week, what's going on?
- [Aaron] I think we talked about it last time. I'm starting to get up earlier. For a while I've been getting up around 5:30 and going to the gym, I've been doing that for a couple years now and recently I told you, Jennifer, that I wanted to get up even earlier.
- [Jennifer] I was shocked actually.
- [Aaron] To give myself an hour in the morning to get in the Word 'cause remarkably if I don't purpose to do it, it doesn't happen. So I figured what's the best way to do that.
- [Jennifer] Or your amount of time spent in it wasn't as much.
- [Aaron] Yeah, and so I figured the best thing to do would be get up earlier.
- [Jennifer] Okay, so now what does your morning routine look like?
- [Jennifer] Now, the first time you did it, I was woken up because usually you sneak out of the house pretty quietly.
- I turned the light on.
- You turned every light on.
- [Aaron] I didn't turn every light on.
- [Jennifer] It was so bright and then I was up at 4:30 .
- [Aaron] What the problem was is I forget to set all of my stuff out the night before and I couldn't find anything.
- You weren't prepared.
- I wasn't prepared. You should always be prepared. If you wanna have a good morning routine.
- Good marriage.
- [Aaron] If you wanna have a good morning routine and a good marriage, prepare, put your stuff out, get everything ready that you're gonna be grabbing, so you don't have to look for it and scavenge.
- [Jennifer] And I'm just using it, I'm not even mad about it. I went back to bed.
- [Aaron] I mean I'm only a few days into it and it hasn't been terrible because I go to the gym now earlier and I'll say this, I really enjoyed going to Starbucks and sitting down, there's no one there, and getting into the Word, that was awesome. And also I started back up doing my intermittent fasting.
- [Jennifer] You did that for a while like a year ago.
- [Aaron] Yeah, and I only stopped because I was just trying to do something different, get more calories. But I'm going back to it because I feel like I got too much calories.
- [Jennifer] Okay.
- [Aaron] I really like intermittent fasting. And if you don't know what intermittent fasting is go look it up, it's pretty cool.
- [Jennifer] Why don't you just explain real quick briefly what you mean.
- [Aaron] Essentially you fast for 16 hours and then you have an eight hour window of eating. Essentially you just miss breakfast.
- [Jennifer] I was gonna say most of us fast throughout the night, but this is more intentional, don't have that before-bedtime snack or anything.
- [Aaron] Yeah, I'll usually not eat from seven o'clock until 11 or noon the next day. Which is not always easy.
- [Jennifer] You also fit in those calories at lunch and dinner 'cause you work out, they know you do CrossFit, you lift heavy weights so you need that energy.
- [Aaron] Yeah, I need enough. But it also does help me maintain how much I'm eating and it also makes me think about what I'm eating so I eat better instead of just spreading all those calories out. Anyways I've gotten back into that and kinda liking it.
- [Jennifer] Awesome, very cool. Okay you guys, we also wanna encourage you to sign up right now for the Marriage Prayer Challenge if you have not done that yet. It's really awesome. Aaron, how many couples have already joined?
- [Aaron] Almost 30,000 couples. There's actually a number counter on the sign up page, and it's a real number counter. I didn't make it up or faked it, it's actually counting people that sign up.
- [Jennifer] Okay, so you just go to MarriagePrayerChallenge.com you can sign up for the husband version or the wife version and what do they get?
- [Aaron] They're gonna get a email every day around the time that they signed up, giving them a prompt and a reminder to pray for their spouse.
- [Jennifer] Awesome, come on you guys, go sign up, it's awesome.
- [Aaron] Yeah, so it's MarriagePrayerChallenge.com. Completely free, just give us your email and your name and boom, you'll start getting those emails every day for 30 days.
- [Jennifer] So today's topic is on why suffering is good for us. And we're not just talking about physical suffering or sickness or things like that, but we're gonna get into, well we're just gonna get into something that you spoke on recently Aaron that really, really moved me because I love it when you can look at Scripture and see it a different way, I need that help sometimes, someone else coming in and going, "Hey, look at this, this is awesome." So I just wanna dig in. So this is kind of like a devotional style episode.
- [Aaron] Yeah, Jennifer and I came up with this idea to do one devotional focused episode every month and so this will be that one. And the topic is something I actually taught on this last Sunday. And you said, "Hey, we should "do an episode on that teaching." So that's what we're gonna do. We'll talk about stuff I brought up from Scripture and then you might have some questions for me, but it's pretty cool, and it's on a very small section of Scripture.
- [Jennifer] I'll say this, one reason that I love that you're my husband is that you teach me and I love that. I love that you can look at Scripture and teach me from it and so I'm excited about this episode because I feel like you're gonna have the opportunity to teach others with the same impact that you've had in my life just over this one Scripture.
- [Aaron] Well thank you, that's awesome.
- [Jennifer] Keep it up, Aaron.
- [Aaron] I wanna emphasize that my hope and prayer is that whenever I'm teaching the Word of God that it's not my opinion, not my own flavor of things, but that I'm just trying to clearly teach what the Word of God is saying. So I hope that's what I'm doing right now.
- [Jennifer] Yeah, it's good.
- [Aaron] So I'll just kick it off that the section of Scripture that we're going to be discussing is mainly from I Peter, chapter four. And it's only the first four verses, which is gonna be the chunk of what we're talking about. And it doesn't sound like a lot of Scripture, but there's actually a lot in here. We're also gonna dig into Romans eight, and that has a little bit more, so there's still a lot of reading.
- [Aaron] There's a lot of Scripture to help give context to these few lines of text. So are we gonna start out with you reading I Peter?
- Like give 'em just the context of what we're going to be talking about?
- [Aaron] So it's actually verses one through three, I'm gonna read it right now, starting at verse one. "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, "arm yourselves with the same way of thinking. "For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, "so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh, "no longer for human passions, but for the will of God. "For the time that is past suffices for doing "what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, "passions, drunkenness, orgies, "drinking parties, and lawless idolatry."
- [Jennifer] Okay, so before we jump into these set of Scriptures, can you just expand a little bit about when it comes to doctrine and universal doctrine?
- [Aaron] Yeah, so I start off this teaching actually on Sunday just explaining how when we come up with doctrine, which are the fundamental things that a believer should walk in, teach. These are the things that are core, doctrines in the Word of God. A doctrine, in order for it to be a doctrine, it's gotta be universal. You can't pull something from Scripture and say, "This is doctrine, but it doesn't apply "in Iran, it doesn't apply in Africa, "it doesn't apply in the suburbs."
- [Jennifer] Right, or just certain groups of people. Or certain churches.
- [Aaron] Right, so if we interpret or pull things from Scripture that isn't universally applied when taught then it's gotta be interpreted through universal doctrine. So that you can't just pull that and say, "Well, that's doctrine." And one example of this would be the prosperity gospel, this idea that God wants every single person to be wealthy, and perfectly healthy, which isn't backed up with Scripture at all.
- [Jennifer] We also don't see it in real life.
- [Aaron] Yeah, you don't see it played out. There's people all over the world that are not wealthy or healthy, but they love the Lord, God uses them, this is reality on both sides. We see Scripture, like in Ecclesiastes that God gives rain to the evil and the good, evil and the righteous. So there are certain things that he has a certain level of blessing on every person, he gives breath, he gives the sunlight, he gives rain, he gives food, sustenance, regardless of how they are. So the prosperity gospel in the sense of God wants you to prosper financially and with possessions doesn't work universally. But what does work, and this is where I ended off was the universal doctrine of suffering. Without suffering there is no salvation. Christ learned obedience through the things that he suffered. He says that believers will suffer.
- [Jennifer] Which kicks us off for this verse that you read, which I don't know if you wanna read it again.
- [Aaron] Yeah, it says, "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh," it doesn't say suffered in the spirit, he suffered in the flesh. It says, "Arm yourselves with this same way of thinking."
- [Jennifer] Not just some of you, not just you over there in the corner, arm yourself.
- [Aaron] Yeah, it tells every believer to arm themselves with this way of thinking of understanding the suffering of Christ.
- [Jennifer] And the suffering of the flesh.
- [Aaron] And the suffering in the flesh, which we're gonna get into. So when I say doctrine, this idea that suffering is a doctrinal teaching. We cannot subtract it from Scripture, we cannot subtract it from the Christian life. We cannot say, "Yeah, that's good, but only for Christ, "and then he doesn't want his children to suffer." He says, "If I suffered, you will also suffer. "They hated me, they're gonna hate you." These are all things that the Bible teaches and no matter where you go in the world, it doesn't matter where you live it should be something that is taught and understood by the believer this idea, this doctrine of suffering. But there's many types of suffering. And what we wanna talk about right now is what is this talking about. What am I arming myself when realizing Christ suffered? What's the weapon that I'm using? And what it is is an understanding of what suffering is for the believer and why it's so good for us in the varying aspects. 'Cause the first thing we think of probably is suffering, massive pain or loss, which is definitely a form of suffering. But really what suffering is at the base level is our flesh--
- Dying to ourselves, yeah.
- Yeah, dying. That's what suffering is. When Jesus says, "Take up your cross and follow me," the cross is the instrument of death of your flesh, your body. You put a body on it and it dies there. And so suffering in the sense that we're gonna talk about is not just this overtly physical suffering. It's telling our flesh no, that's suffering. And as we go through this scripture, we'll see that more and more. But that's what we wanna get the believer, everyone listening to understand is we shouldn't be running from suffering. We shouldn't fear the idea that our flesh is gonna endure some sort of discomfort and pain and that we're not gonna always get what we want and we're gonna have to tell ourselves no and these are all forms of telling our flesh no, it's suffering. The body suffers when it doesn't get what it wants, that's suffering. When you feel pain, it's something that the body doesn't want, which is why you get that pain signal saying, "Hey, this is not good, stop it."
- [Jennifer] Right, we really hope that this episode is encouraging to you guys and gives you a fresh perspective of how suffering is good for us, especially in context to our sin nature and the suffering of our flesh.
- [Aaron] Which is the exact purpose of this. Of putting away that sin nature and having the spirit of God win and not the flesh.
- [Jennifer] Do you wanna jump in to Romans eight?
- [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause Romans eight gives us a perfect context for the second part of the scripture that says "Arm yourselves with the same way of thinking." Right, so we realize that Christ suffered in the flesh, we can have the same way of thinking of recognizing the suffering of our flesh is a weapon against something. And it says, "For whoever has suffered "in the flesh has ceased from sin." And this can be taken very literally, which it should be, I think because if we have perfectly suffered the way Christ has we would have perfectly ceased from sin because once we're dead and gone with God there's no more sin in us. But we're in the flesh, so it says, "Whoever suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin," and I think Romans eight perfectly clarifies what this is saying, and it says this in Romans eight, verse one, "There is therefore now no condemnation "for those who are in Christ Jesus." First and foremost believer, believe this. "There is therefore now no condemnation "for those who are in Christ Jesus. "For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free "in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." So what has set you free from the law of sin and death? It's Christ and his Spirit, right? It says, "For God has done what the law, "weakened by our flesh, could not do. "By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh "and for sin he condemned sin in the flesh "in order that the righteous requirement of the law "might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to "the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
- [Jennifer] I feel like you should reiterate that last part.
- [Aaron] What he's saying is the law, which is good, and perfect, and righteous couldn't save any man because man has weak flesh. In our flesh we cannot fulfill the law. But Christ did fulfill the law in his own flesh. Right? And so what it's saying is that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us through the putting away of our flesh through Christ.
- [Jennifer] Right, I just love that last part that you just read, it says, "Who walk not according to the flesh, "but according to the Spirit," which is foundational to what we're gonna be teaching from I Peter and it's a choice, they're all choices, right?
- [Aaron] These are choices that the believer have because we've been set free, so we have the freedom to now choose righteousness rather than only being obedient to sin.
- [Jennifer] Right, and it's through our actions that we walk according not to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
- [Aaron] Right, so this says, "Walk not according to the flesh," so if you take anyone who has suffered in the flesh and say, "Anyone who walks not according to the flesh, "but according to the Spirit ceases from sin," that's kind of what this is saying. This is verse five, "For those who live according "to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, "but those who live according to the Spirit "set their minds on the things of the Spirit."
- [Jennifer] Okay, I gotta stop you again because I feel like there's often, I'm sure everybody can relate to this, but when you struggle with sin, and you wrestle with those temptations that come, your mind is on it, right, like when your mind is set on something that your flesh desires and wants to do it doesn't go away until either you do it or you tell it no.
- [Aaron] Which is suffering. And this is where we're trying to define this.
- [Jennifer] But that whole setting your mind, it starts there.
- [Aaron] And it says this, "For to set the mind "on the flesh is death, but to set the mind "on the Spirit is life and peace."
- [Jennifer] Raise your hand if you want life and peace.
- [Aaron] "For the mind that is set "on the flesh is hostile to God."
- [Jennifer] I don't want that.
- [Aaron] Hostile, like you're an enemy of God when your mind's on the flesh, "For it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot. "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." So when the Bible tells us that the flesh and the Spirit are opposed to each other, are against each other, that's what this is saying. Saying when you're walking in the flesh you can't please God, you're an enemy. When you walk in the Spirit, you please God. And it's God's Spirit that we walk in. And then it says this, "You," believer, "however "are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, "if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. "Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ "does not belong to him. "But if Christ is in you, "although the body is dead because of sin, "the Spirit is life because of righteousness." So remember we said whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin? Let's put it this way, although the body is dead, suffered in the flesh because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. So the Spirit that God's put in us has brought to life our mortal bodies, and listen to this, verse 11, "If the Spirit of him "who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, "He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead "will also give life to your mortal bodies "through his Spirit who dwells in you." So I thought this Scripture perfectly illustrated what says right here when it says, "For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. "So as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh "no longer for human passions, but for the will of God." So when we're gonna get more and more right now into this idea of suffering in the flesh, it's this idea of walking in the Spirit and not the flesh as Romans also says. When you gratify the desires of the flesh you cannot please God, right? But if you walk in the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Right?
- [Aaron] So this is what this is getting to, Peter's talking here, and he's explaining how Christ suffering in the flesh has done this for us. Has given us a way to suffer in our flesh, not in a way of self-salvation because we can't, Christ already did it. His suffering was sufficient. But because of his suffering and from his own words 'cause he left and went home to be with the Father, he sent his helper, the Spirit, to work in us and through us for his will and his work in us. So what we can do now is we can learn to suffer in our flesh via the Holy Spirit. Meaning I don't gratify the desires of my flesh. So when you want a donut, I love donuts.
- [Jennifer] I love donuts.
- [Aaron] Or you want that new car, or you want your neighbor's thing, coveting, right? Or you want to avoid shame so you lie, these are all fruit of the flesh, these are all things to protect your flesh. I don't like the way that feels, I don't wanna be embarrassed, I don't wanna look shameful, I have pride, I don't want them to think this way about me. It's all the flesh, so suffering is, like here's a form of suffering in the flesh, humbleness. That's painful, humbling yourself. Getting down on your knees and saying, "I am this thing, I did this thing, I said this, "and I want to be forgiven by You." Like humbling yourself, recognizing you're not that great of a person is suffering, is telling your flesh no. I'd rather you suffer and my spirit be lifted up.
- [Jennifer] So you started out that little lineup of things that people struggle with was a donut so can you just explain, 'cause eating a donut doesn't have to deal with humility, what does it have to deal with?
- [Aaron] Well again, our flesh, and I explained this on Sunday, I was talking about how our brains work. Our brain matter, it's flesh, it's a compilation of cells and there's these chemicals that get released and you have sensors, and receptors, and you have all these things that God gave us to work a certain way, pleasure sensors and pain sensors and all these things, and those are all the flesh. Now what the point is is that you don't just shut 'em all off. It's to put them into submission to the Spirit. So a donut right, having a donut's not sinful. Like, oh, a donut's good. But not having any control and letting your senses control you is not walking in the Spirit, it's walking in the flesh. Like that See Food diet, I see food and I eat it. That's not having any control, the Spirit's not in charge, your conscience isn't in charge, it's, "Oh I see it and I'm gonna put it "in my mouth and eat it."
- [Jennifer] So the donut can represent a lot of different things.
- [Aaron] Think about pornography. Like you're not controlling your flesh. You're saying, "Flesh, you can have whatever you want."
- [Jennifer] That's not suffering.
- [Aaron] No, well we suffer in the Spirit.
- [Jennifer] And we suffer the consequences.
- [Aaron] Yeah, we suffer the consequences, but you're not causing your flesh to suffer, telling your flesh, "No, I don't want you to have it. "I know you want that, I know you crave it, "I know you think that's gonna be good for you, "but the Spirit of God that's in me says no."
- [Jennifer] That's good. Okay, so I wanna move on because there's a lot of clarity that comes from this next verse and how you broke it down, which is what impacted me probably the most out of this teaching. And so I'm gonna reread the verse, it's verse three, it says, "For the time that is past suffices "for doing what the Gentiles want to do," and I remember you stopped and said, "Underline that."
- Underline want to do.
- Want to do. 'Cause our flesh wants to do a lot of things. You just gave those examples. "Living in sensualities, passions, drunkenness, "orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatries.
- [Aaron] You've read this a lot, right?
- [Jennifer] Yeah, I've read this a lot, but I need to explain because I'm sure people relate to me on this. When you read certain scriptures, it's not that you don't say, "And I know I'm not perfect, "I know that there's sin in my life, "and I'm willing to have open eyes "and for God to reveal that to me, "but when I read this I go, 'well, I'm not really "'struggling with those things, "'I don't really have drinking parties or whatever.'" But you broke it down in a way that makes this verse relatable to all sinners. And so I wanna share that.
- [Aaron] And let's remember what the context of this is. Christ's suffering, being armed with this way of thinking, recognizing that our flesh, having our flesh suffer while walking in the Spirit is how we cease from sin, it is how we walk the way God wants us to. And so he gives the contrast, he says, "For the time that has past suffices for doing "what the Gentiles want to do." Now when it says, "Gentiles," it's meaning Godless people. Gentiles were anyone that wasn't a Jewish person. And so what he's pointing out is not specifically Gentiles, he's saying anyone doesn't have God, isn't walking with God. And want to do, saying this is the way they want to be. And then it says, "Living in sensualities, "passions, drunkenness," and what I did is I broke down what these things are.
- [Jennifer] And how they're all related.
- 'Cause they're specific.
- Yeah, they're very specific, and I didn't realize that they were even related. I just thought it was one of those lists, you know?
- [Aaron] Again, if you're listening and you have your Bible, the want to do part. Okay, it's want to live in sensuality, and passions, and drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry, right? And like you said, "Well see I don't "struggle with those things." And maybe someone like me that struggled with pornography might point out sensuality and passions like okay, yeah, but I've never done orgies, that's not me. But I wanna highlight that through Christ and his suffering and him giving us of his Holy Spirit we've been freed from the want to do, right? He's changing our desires to be his, he's giving us a hatred of sin because he hates sin.
- [Jennifer] And I think in conjunction, the convictions become stronger and so we hear the Holy Spirit loud and clear when we go to do something that we shouldn't be doing, right?
- [Aaron] Our prayer and constant desire should be that he's consistently giving us new desires and new cravings. I pray, "Lord, give me a craving for your Word." I don't naturally in my flesh have enough craving for God's Word, let alone reading. Sorry if you relate to that, reading's not something I just crave to do, but there's some people that love reading. But I want God to change those desires so the want to do is an amazing thing that God's freed us from that we're no longer slaves to sin. That's the want to do.
- [Jennifer] We're not slaves to our flesh.
- [Aaron] We're not slaves to our flesh, God severed that slavery with his Spirit. And now we can actually walk in that Spirit when we focus on that Spirit and we walk in his ways in his Word, that's how this works. So I'm gonna define some of these things. Sensuality, it's not just sexual. Our definition of sensuality is usually very sexual and this absolutely does mean sexual, sensuality. But it's not only sexual. Sexual's one sense. It's one sense being usually this physical pleasure.
- [Jennifer] That's what comes to my mind when I think about it.
- [Aaron] But sensuality in the biblical use is unbridled lust. Unbridled lust. This idea of lust, I see something, I take it. So think about your five senses, sensual, it's a sensation experience. You're looking for you five senses to be pleasured. I want my eyes to see the most beautiful things.
- [Jennifer] Or whatever I want them to see.
- [Aaron] Or whatever I want them to see. I want my hands to touch whatever is gonna make my mind feel good.
- [Jennifer] I want my mouth to say whatever I feel.
- [Aaron] Or taste, right? So you think about your five senses and sensuality is living to please your five senses with whatever pleases your five senses. That's what sensuality is. Often, sexual things encompass all of them, which is why it's usually accompanied with sensuality as a sexual thing because sexual things please pretty much all your senses. But food, music, all of these things, not that those things in themselves are sinful, I want everyone to clearly hear me. It's living in a way that you want your senses pleased. 'Cause that's the opposite of suffering. That's the opposite of suffering. It's living for pleasure in every sense. You want your five senses taken care of, and if anyone of them are hindered or hurt or suffer, you're not happy, and something's wrong, and God must be angry or I'm not close to God.
- [Jennifer] And you can see this in the flesh when you feel the conviction of either someone saying something to you about something that you're doing or the Holy Spirit just does it and you feel defensive. You immediately wanna justify that thing that it's not that bad, or that it's this or that it's that and you become, you wanna fight for it. There's gotta be a way that I can still have this in my life.
- [Aaron] Yeah, so example of this is you're doing something and you're not recognizing it, and a brother or sister in Christ comes up and says, "Hey, I noticed that you're talking a certain way "or you did this certain thing." And you're like, "Don't judge me, get out of my way." And you immediately feel like you've been judged or wronged or hurt. In reality, you're just getting checked in your spirit and your flesh doesn't like it.
- [Jennifer] I also wanna be realistic, most people don't say, "Don't judge me." What they'll do is say, "Oh, okay," and then never talk to that person again. They don't even communicate.
- [Aaron] Or say, "Well let's just agree to disagree instead of again, suffering the flesh, humbling yourself and saying, "Maybe there is something I need to grow on."
- [Jennifer] Or, "Man, that recognition alone just hurt. "And I'm gonna walk in that for a little bit "and see where God wants to take it."
- [Aaron] So I wanna read this, I read this from Wikipedia. It's the definition of hedonism, which by the way, is this idea of pleasure-centered living. Like I'm looking to please all my senses, hedonism. "And it's a school of thought," this is what Wikipedia says, "Hedonism is a school of thought "that argues pleasure and suffering "are the only components of well-being. "Ethical hedonism is the view that combines "hedonism with welfarist ethics, "which claim that what we should do depends exclusively on what effects "the well-being individuals have. "Ethical hedonists would defend "either increasing pleasure or reducing suffering "for all beings capable of experiencing them "or just reducing suffering." So think about that. It's as long as I'm not suffering, I'm happy. Or I wanna be pleasured, and if I can't have pleasure I just don't wanna suffer. Now I want everyone listening to think about that 'cause we have areas in our life, Jennifer and I, we were talking about this that we think this way. Like, "Oh, I'm good with all this as long as "I don't have to go without food for a day." Or "As long as I'm not gonna feel this pain over here "or I'm not gonna have to say no to my flesh in this area." Right, we all have this level of pleasure-centered focus or at least avoidance of suffering. That's what this idea of hedonism is.
- [Jennifer] Basically if we're living to pleasure our five senses we can't possibly be pleasing or pleasuring God.
- [Aaron] Exactly because he might ask us to do something that doesn't feel good. Right?
- [Aaron] And so a litmus test is for us to ask ourselves in those situations when we feel like we're just, it doesn't feel good, something's going on, we're having this emotional, which I'm about to talk about, we can ask ourselves, am I trying to avoid letting my flesh suffer a little bit? Am I trying to avoid saying no to my flesh?
- [Jennifer] Okay, so the next one is passions and when I think of the word, passions, I immediately think of things that I'm either passionate about or people who've said--
- [Aaron] It's usually a positive thing, yeah.
- [Jennifer] "I'm just a passionate person." But yeah, it's usually a positive thing or maybe it has to do with extracurricular activities or something like that. But why don't you share more about that?
- [Aaron] So passions, the definition of passions in the dictionary is essentially uncontrolled or emotional outbursts. It's this like passion outburst of anger, which the Bible says wrath is not good, "The wrath of man does not produce "the righteousness of God." And wrath is an uncontrolled, emotional outburst. Or uncontrollable sadness, or uncontrollable joy or happiness. I'm just trying to get whatever emotions these are, out. And what this idea is is someone who lives purely off their emotions. Like, "Oh, I'm not happy, so things are wrong." But you know what, you know how many stories there are in the Bible of people that, like a lot of David's songs or him not happy. Now they still end joyfully 'cause he knows who his Lord is and his Redeemer, but he's in the muck and the mire. He's in a cave, cold and scared, the emotional, passionate person who lives by their emotions would say, "David was doing something wrong because he wasn't happy," but that's not true. David was right where God had him, he was doing what he could do in God's will. Now I'm not saying emotions are bad. God's given us all of these things. Our senses are good things. Our passions, our emotions are good things, but these are fleshly things, meaning if they're the things that drive us and dictate us then the Spirit of God is not.
- [Jennifer] Yeah, I was just gonna say if someone's motivated to maintain a certain emotion or are drawn out of their emotions to act, they can't serve their emotions and serve God.
- [Aaron] A good example in Scripture says, "Be angry and do not sin."
- [Jennifer] So that's a perfect example of having and experiencing an emotion--
- [Aaron] But not letting it control you.
- [Jennifer] But not letting it control you and not acting out of it.
- [Aaron] Yeah, you know how hard it is to love someone who is harming you or doing you wrong? But that's what Scripture calls us to do.
- Because Christ did it.
- Because Christ did it. So, there's things that our emotions will want us to do, wrath, outbursts, laughter, like lots of things. But God wants the Spirit to be in control, not our emotions. And I wanna add to this, often, so based on the sensuality things when our five senses aren't being met with what they want that's when our emotions react. I'm hungry, you know the whole term, "I'm hangry." So you're having a sense, one of your five senses not being taken care of.
- [Jennifer] Your emotions heighten.
- [Aaron] And so you let your emotions go to get what you want, right? That is not being in self-control. That is not walking by the Spirit, that's walking in the flesh. And so I broke these down all like this to show us that this way of being is not the way the believer should be. That doesn't mean we're not gonna fall into our emotions at times, we're not to be these emotionless robots. What happens is God's given us a way to walk in the Spirit, even amidst the heaviest emotional times. Like sadness and brokenness and fear, and we can walk in the Spirit in those things.
- [Jennifer] Yeah, how do you submit those to God and walk righteously amidst feeling those really deep things?
- [Aaron] So it all goes back to the, men, this is a universal doctrine that it doesn't matter where you're at, it doesn't matter what you're going through, God has given you the freedom and through the Spirit of God to rise above those things and to appropriate those emotions where they belong. In your sadness to go to God and weep before him. And he says, "I've bottled up every tear." So knowing that we can actually run to the Father, "I'm so angry right now, God, take my anger from me. "Show me how to not be angry with my wife, or my husband."
- [Jennifer] My kids.
- [Aaron] Or we can just handle it ourselves and let's just take that emotion, and let's just--
- Run with it.
- Run with it. And what usually happens, and everyone's thinking about those things when they've let their emotions run, we regret it every time. And we look back and we say, "Well, that wasn't godly, "that was not what Christ would've done."
- [Jennifer] Or "Man, I just wish I was different." When we can be, it's just the choices we're making.
- [Aaron] So I wanna go on to the next part, which--
- [Jennifer] Feels like an obvious one.
- Right, drunkenness.
- Drunkenness. Well, it's not just intoxication though.
- [Aaron] Well, you're right.
- [Jennifer] It is, when you look up the definition, drunkenness, it's being intoxicated by something like alcohol.
- [Aaron] Right, and this is clearly talking about no believer should get drunk.
- [Jennifer] The Bible talks too much about being sober minded.
- [Aaron] And not being drunk specifically. So I do wanna clarify I'm not saying this doesn't mean you can go get drunk. No believer should be getting drunk ever.
- [Jennifer] All of these things mean what they are. They also have--
- Deeper spiritual meanings.
- Deeper spiritual meanings that we can apply to address our sinful nature.
- [Aaron] So let's talk about what drunkenness is. Yes, it's being drunk on alcohol or some sort of drug. Your mind, it's overtaken by something else, which is essentially what drunkenness is. You're allowing a substance, an external force to take over your flesh, that's what drunkenness is. You drink enough alcohol, what happens? The Bible talks about it, you start saying things you would never say out loud, you start acting a way you would never act.
- [Jennifer] I always say that or associated it with the word uncontrolled, like that person's uncontrolled right now, but I never considered the aspect of it you actually being controlled by that thing that you just ingested.
- [Aaron] Yeah, and I'll give an example, Proverbs 20, verse one says, "Wine is a mocker." So it's saying that the alcohol has an influence to cause you to mock. "Strong drink a brawler." Wants you to fight. All of these things are very fleshly things. "And whoever is led astray by it is not wise." So now nowhere in Scripture does it say you're not allowed to drink. Now some people will take it that way, and we're talking about alcohol so I'm just bringing it up. But 100% absolutely no believer should be getting drunk on anything. But the next thing I'm gonna talk about. And it says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, "and whoever is led astray," so I've given myself over to this substance, this thing to now do what it wants with me. Like not as if it's a real person, but we have these basic, all these things that are talking about the flesh, we have these basic ways of being in the deep parts of us.
- [Jennifer] It's the way he designed us, like he designed us to--
- [Aaron] But he wants it under control. Not let go of. And so the other part I wanna say is in Ephesians five, 18 it says, "Do not get drunk "with wine," again there's a direct command, don't get drunk with wine, "For that is debauchery. "But be filled with the Spirit." So it's saying, don't let your flesh go by letting it be overtaken with wine, alcohol, other substances, but be filled with the Spirit of God.
- [Jennifer] This also shows that deeper spiritual meaning of what we're trying to show here when you talk about drunkenness because drunken by the Spirit, that sounds weird, but it's because of that deeper meaning that we're talking about.
- [Aaron] And at the base level of what drunkenness is, it's literally the removal of the natural functions that God's put in us, that inhibition in us, that conscience, that ability and restraint that is naturally in us to like, maybe there's something I wanna say, but I'm not gonna say it 'cause that's not appropriate. You're drunk and it just comes out of your mouth. So what you're doing is you're living in the sensuality way you want all your senses met, you're living with your emotions and then you wanna be drunk and you want to release the natural built in barriers that God's given you to protect you from doing or saying--
- [Jennifer] Sinful things.
- [Aaron] Yeah, things that don't honor you, don't honor others, don't honor God. And so again, it's like this, I wanna just let it all out, I don't want any control, it's the exact opposite of self-control. It's no control. Which then leads us into the awkward one, orgies.
- [Jennifer] Which everybody's thinking sexual experience.
- [Aaron] Which again, it means that.
- [Jennifer] It is, but it also means more than that.
- [Aaron] Right, if you look at orgies at the base idea of what an orgy is, it's overindulgence. So all the things we just talked about, it's doing all of it without restraint.
- [Jennifer] Yeah, no barriers, no limitations, as long as you want, as much as you want.
- [Aaron] Yeah, oh and that was another good donut.
- [Jennifer] That was a good box of donuts.
- [Aaron] Those two boxes of donuts were amazing, right, but of course I would feel gross after that. Or alcohol, like alcoholics, they don't restrain themselves. And we're talking about these things that go in the mouth, but think about anything. Anything in your life that you don't want any restraint on.
- [Jennifer] So it's overindulgence, and it's giving into your flesh, and you're never satisfied, you're never satiated.
- [Aaron] Yeah, when you're in the flesh--
- It's never enough.
- The flesh never has enough. You know who says this, Solomon says it in Ecclesiastes one, eight. It says, "All things are full of weariness, "a man cannot utter it. "The eye is not satisfied with seeing, "nor the ear filled with hearing."
- [Jennifer] Okay so just that made me think of the porn industry. They get hooked at an early age, but then it's not enough to gratify what their eye is seeing, so it gets worse and worse, deeper and deeper into these things that are just wicked.
- [Aaron] And worse and worse and worse and worse and worse.
- [Jennifer] And still yet never satisfied.
- [Aaron] And this is like the exact opposite of what Christ wants for us. In that verse it says, "The time has past that suffices," means we've done enough of this. Literally he's saying that we have freedom from this unsatisfied, never ending cycle.
- [Jennifer] Well, what did Christ say to the woman at the well?
- [Aaron] Oh, yeah, so the woman comes to him and she asks for water and he says, "If you would ask me I would have given you water "that you would never thirst again." And she says, "Where's this water, give it to me."
- [Jennifer] So it's this contrast of allow your flesh to rule you and never be satisfied or walk in the Spirit and be who you are in Christ with freedom and be completely satisfied.
- [Aaron] Right, and Christ, God wants us to be satisfied in him alone. And so when we walk in the flesh, like this idea of orgies it's like I just wanna go somewhere that's gonna give me everything I want and as much of it as I can. And this is not the way of the believer. We are satisfied, completely satisfied in Christ. And so this was a historical note, I saw when looking up this idea of orgies, which I did very carefully by the way.
- [Jennifer] Which if you think about that.
- [Aaron] Yeah, and historically the word comes from, it's a Greek word, orgia or something like that, but what it was was it was a ritual, secret rites used to worship a Roman god. And the Roman god was the god of grapes and vines and caused men to be crazy. So it's this idea of when we have this way of being, we're like, "I just wanna go and I wanna throw "all my inhibition out, and I wanna drink, "and I wanna eat, and I wanna have fun, "and I want my five senses pleased, "and I wanna just be happy." You're literally worshiping something other than God. That's this idea when you walk in the flesh in this way. So we're gonna go to the next one, there's two more, we're almost done. Drinking parties, and this idea of drinking parties is exactly what it says, these parties that you're just going to get drunk.
- [Jennifer] Again, in reading the list in Scripture I skip over 'cause I go, "Well, I'm not doing that."
- [Aaron] But the deeper idea is parties meaning multiple, meaning many others, meaning you're inviting others to partake in all of this way of being. That's the way that the people that don't know God, the Bible says, "Don't associate with the wicked "for they can't even seep until they've caused bloodshed "or until they've caught people in their snare." Like these ideas of drawing others into the same way of living fleshly.
- [Jennifer] And it can be as simple as you're sitting in a room full of friends and you start gossiping. The invitations can be subtle, but I think that the reason people do it is because they don't want to do it alone, they don't want to be alone in their sin. They're seeking approval so if I can get so and so to do it along with me, then there's this sense of approval that it's okay. Or maybe wrestling with the shame and guilt that comes with sin that you wanna forget about and so you have others join in, I mean there's a lot of different reasons why.
- [Aaron] Well, I'll give a great example in my own life, and it's something I'm not proud of, but when I was deep into pornography, and I would meet new men in churches there were pastors or they were like older or wiser and deep down inside either I thought, "There's no way that he's not addicted to pornography "just like me," or I hoped that he was because I didn't want to be the only one. And I thought, "No, every single one "of these guys does too."
- It's so broken.
- It's so broken. So in my mind, this drinking parties idea, this idea of like, "Oh, we're in this together. "He's a sinner like me and he does the same things as I do, "and I actually hoped he did."
- [Jennifer] I think this is a good time to caution us to evaluate ourselves. Are we inviting others to partake in sin that maybe we're not recognizing as sin or we've pushed away that conviction from the Holy Spirit and let's ask God this week, "What areas of my life "have I been inviting people to partake "in with me that aren't righteous?"
- [Aaron] Well, it first takes that self-evaluation of like, "God, is there anything "in me that you want out of me?" A good example in the marriage, do you remember when we were going through financial stuff? I would let you spend the way we probably shouldn't spend knowing that it would let me spend the way I wanted to spend.
- [Jennifer] Right, 'cause then when you would request something I would have to say yes.
- [Aaron] Because I'd be like, "Well, I let you get your thing." And essentially we were just pulling each other down.
- [Jennifer] That's really good. So in marriage that's often where the invitation starts.
- [Aaron] Keyword, drinking party. Don't invite me, just kidding.
- [Jennifer] Don't invite me.
- [Aaron] Last thing, lawless idolatry. Everything we just walked through is lawless idolatry and here's why. It's self-worship.
- [Jennifer] Yeah, how I feel, what I want--
- [Aaron] Is god.
- [Jennifer] Well, it should be God.
- [Aaron] No, what I was saying is what you feel and what you want is god, is your god.
- [Jennifer] Right, is your god. But what we should be saying is--
- [Aaron] "God, what you want." "God, do you want me to be hungry right now?" And I keep talking about these physical things because this is the idea.
- [Jennifer] Well, that's where it starts.
- [Aaron] We are to be spiritual people. Jesus told the woman at the well that same story. She's talking about where they worship 'cause she was a Samaritan, he's a Jew and he says, "There's gonna be a day "that you will neither worship there or here, "but my people worship me in spirit and in truth." Not worshiping in passions and sensuality and as Jude says, and that happens even in the church. I'm gonna worship God with my senses, and if I don't sense God and feel God, and my senses aren't being met and pleasured by the Spirit of God then I must be far from God. But you know what, there's many people in the Bible that were in the pit. I think of Paul, and he's singing worship songs, naked and cold in prison. In that moment most people would be like, "I don't feel close to God. "He's not helping me, this doesn't feel good." But Paul knew exactly who his savior was and he knew that what he was dealing with as he says in Scripture, he says, "For I have ascertained that my current suffering "is nothing to be compared with the coming glory." What that means is that this temporary suffering, the little bit of saying no in my flesh, the little bit of pain that I feel, the little bit of depraving of my own desires for the sake of God's will and God's thing that he wants done in my life and in others is so little to be compared with the glory that I'm gonna experience when he returns.
- [Jennifer] Which is a hopeful message for us as Christians. We should hear that and be like, "Yes, we're in agreeance here." We should be willing to suffer, and this is why suffering in the flesh is good for us.
- [Aaron] Yeah, and a lot of people don't like talking about suffering, but this again is a universal doctrine that Christians should understand and walk in that my flesh does not get to win in my life.
- [Jennifer] And when we feel those convictions from the Holy Spirit going day to day, whatever it might be, when you don't tell yourself no, you're putting yourself in a place of worship that you should not be in. You're idolizing yourself, you're saying, "God, I'm more important that you."
- [Aaron] My comfort's more important that your will. My pleasure's more important that your Word. And so each one of these is like this progress of worshiping self verses Creator. Worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. My comfort, my pleasures, my senses are much more important than what God's doing in my life.
- [Jennifer] A dangerous place to be.
- [Aaron] And a good example of this is the reason why many people have a hard time getting out of debt or quitting certain addictions or making life changes is because that's too difficult for my flesh to handle, even though God's like, "But I'm gonna "give you the strength to do it."
- [Jennifer] Yeah, I think too, just to shed a little bit more perspective on this idea of suffering, I think sometimes we only go so far to see what we would suffer in the midst of saying no to our flesh. So like it's that little bit of--
- [Aaron] "I tried."
- [Jennifer] Yeah, but we see what suffering equals when we say no to our flesh, but we don't look beyond that to see what suffering looks like when we don't say no to our flesh, the consequences, the hurt, the pain, the death, the sin that comes.
- [Aaron] The shame.
- [Jennifer] Because of the choices that we make. And that's what all of this, of what we're talking about today comes down to choice. You're gonna choose to walk in the Spirit or you're gonna choose to gratify the desires of the flesh.
- [Aaron] And you know what believer, you're listening to this?
- [Jennifer] You have been set free.
- [Aaron] Yeah, you're not a slave to sin and death. We can choose to walk in the Spirit that God's given us. He dwells in us, giving life to our mortal bodies. How amazing is that? So this isn't a go suffer and find your righteousness through just self-depravity and self-abasement. That's not what we're talking about. There are some faiths and some religions that believe that. If you just make yourself suffer enough, you'll be righteous. Now the point is we're already righteous, and the way a righteous person walks with the Spirit of God is we don't gratify the desires of our flesh. And when we do, we recognize it, we repent, and we say, "Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me. "And give me your power to walk better next time "to beat that thing that is in my life "because you have beat it on the cross."
- [Jennifer] Amen, so here's the charge for us this week and forever. And it's that first part of that verse that you started us off with there and it's, "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh," our Christ, our Lord, our Savior suffered in the flesh, "Arm yourself with the same way of thinking." We have to think like him.
- [Aaron] This current fleshly body we live in is temporary and the simplest way to put this is Jesus says, "Take up your cross and follow me." The cross is the instrument of the death of our flesh. So let's crawl up on that cross and let's take it with us and let's ask the Holy Spirit, "Lord, teach me. "Teach me how to say no to my flesh "when it craves things that are in opposition to you." Some of us struggle with pride, I just wanna throw that one in there, that's a flesh thing. That's pride, that's the flesh wanting to be elevated and recognized, rather than humbled and God being recognized. So we always end in prayer. Jennifer, why don't you pray for us?
- [Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for your Word and how it cuts us to the heart. Thank you for teaching us through your Word. We pray your Word would continue to transform us as we learn it and choose to walk out all that you've commanded us to. We pray we would be people who recognize parts of our hearts that need to change, sin that needs to be repented of, motivations that are not pure, and actions that do not reflect your ways for the purpose of repentance and reconciliation and growth may your will be done in us and through us, may your light shine brightly through our marriages as we encourage one another to draw closer to you. In Jesus's name, amen.
- [Aaron] Amen, we love you guys, and we thank you for joining us this week. Please consider leaving us a review and a star rating. You just gotta go to the bottom of your podcast app and tap one of those stars and leave a review, we love those, and they help other people find the episodes, find the podcast. And also don't forget to get the free Marriage Prayer Challenge, MarriagePrayerChallenge.com. See you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also if you're interested you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at MarriageAfterGod.com. And let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.