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The Renewing of My Mind—Part 2
Sunday, August 21, 2022 by Dr James H Dotson Jr

In my last blog, The Renewing of My Mind—Part 1, we talked about the power of the mind and how it guides how we think, reason, feel, desire, decide, and act. Let me share with you now ten principles for living, rooted and grounded upon the word of God, that helped free me from my sexual addiction—five in this blog and five in the next.

Rarely do I go from reading the word of God to living by the word of God in a single reading or even in a single day. For me, it’s a process—sometimes taking days or weeks or longer. It involves reading, studying, praying; discussing with prayer partners; trying to live it out and at first failing; and trying again and continuing until it becomes embedded in my mind/heart/spirit and evolves to a pattern for living in my life.

Here are the first five principles for living that continue to be key to my ongoing sexual recovery. I’ll share the remaining five in my next blog, The Renewing of My Mind—Part 3.

  1. The truth will set me free.
  2. There are only two options for living: following God or following Satan. I choose God.
  3. I cannot afford the price of sin. 
  4. Apart from the Holy Spirit, I will choose sin. Therefore, I will walk with the Holy Spirit.
  5. Starve the flesh; feed the Spirit.

Principle #1: The truth will set me free.

“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31–32, NLT)

The Bible is a treasure trove of wisdom for living. But to be of value to me, I must proactively search for it and make it my own. (Matthew 7:7–8; Matthew 13:44).

Living by this principle means setting aside time in the Word of God. I do this by reading, listening to, meditating upon, and studying the Bible, and asking the Holy Spirit to guide my time in the Word of God so that it becomes a part of who I am and how I live. (John 14:26; John 16:131 Corinthians 2:12-14; James 1:22).

The principles that follow are examples of truths from the Word of God that have become part of who I am and how I live. Each one is truth of its own. But in my life, these truths work together to set me free and keep me free. It’s the combined impact of all ten that’s making a difference.

Principle #2: There are only two options for living: following God or following Satan. I choose God.

“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”” (Joshua 24:15, NLT)

I tried living life my way. For a period, I walked away from God and the church and “did my own thing,” as the saying goes. But my own thing did not bring me the life I really wanted or needed. That’s not a hypothetical or theoretical statement. That’s an honest assessment of my past life apart from God. (Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 3:5-6).

I tried living life Satan’s way. There were decades of my life when I just pursued worldly passions and lusts. Oh, there were indeed moments of pleasure. But eventually, my life was empty, and I was alone and lonely. The outcomes I experienced were not what I wanted. But unfortunately, it took me a while to figure out that Satan has no interest in my well-being. He was trying to destroy me, and still is. (1 Peter 5:8). 

I finally realized that my way and Satan’s way took me to Nowheresvillle, and that God is my best option for experiencing a meaningful life here and now, and the inheritance of a better/best life to come at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Satan is 100% against me. God is 100% for me. Nothing can beat God’s love for me. (John 3:16; John 10:7-11; Romans 5:10; Romans 8:26-39; Galatians 4:4–5; Revelation 21:1-8). 

There are only two options, only two paths, only two choices—ever: to follow God and live by his ways, or to follow Satan and live by his ways. For more on the conflict between God and Satan, read What In The World Is Going On—Part 1 and What In The World Is Going On—Part 2.

I choose to follow God. Every day and throughout each day, I ask God to work in me, with me, for me, and through me to choose him in every decision I make in every dimension of my life.

Principle #3: I cannot afford the price of sin. 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NLT)

I have learned the hard way that I cannot afford the price of sin. It is far better to accept God’s warnings against sin and follow His ways, than to learn by personal experience that consequences will follow sin, sooner or later—ultimately up to eternal death. (Revelation 20:1-15).

Remember the story of King David in the Old Testament. David committed adultery with another man’s wife, Bathsheba, and had her husband, Uriah, killed to cover up that she became pregnant from their affair. (2 Samuel 11:1—12:23).

Although God forgave David when he confessed his sin and remained with David throughout the remainder of his life, nevertheless David experienced serious consequences for his sins as did others in his family. (2 Samuel 12:7–15).

Like David, before my decision to follow God at age 46, I also got a woman I was dating pregnant, and we proceeded to get an abortion. And like David, although God forgave me for the death of that unborn child and continues to love me with his grace and mercy, nevertheless, I cannot go back and undo that abortion. 

Since then, I am keenly aware of the consequences my sins can have on me, on others, and on my legacy—the one I’m living and the one I will leave behind me. Sin can be pleasurable; but it’s always only temporary and the consequences to me and others can be considerable. Here’s the bottom line: the price of sin is too high, and I don’t want to pay it. 

Principle #4: Apart from the Holy Spirit, I will choose sin. Therefore, I will walk with the Holy Spirit.

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. … Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:16–25, NLT)

The original sin of Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, and sin is now part of the human condition. “For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5, NLT)

And so, my natural, inborn tendency will be to sin. Despite what I know about Satan, and what I’ve seen him do to me and to others, I WILL choose Satan and his ways if left alone to my inherent nature. 

My only solution is to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit working in me to live in a way that pleases God. Here’s the promise I claim daily: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13, NLT) I pray continually asking God to fulfill this promise in my life every day. (Luke 11:13).

Principle #5: Starve the flesh; feed the Spirit.

“Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers.” (Proverbs 4:14, NLT

“Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” (Romans 13:14, NLT)

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4–5, NLT)

I live in a world where the opportunity to sin and the influences of sin are all around me AND inside me—temptations are part of the daily reality of my life. If I’m not careful, I will allow myself to be drawn into sin. 

I have discovered that what I see (e.g., movies), hear (e.g., songs), taste (e.g., food & beverages), smell (e.g., aromas), and touch (e.g., when interacting with others, especially a woman I’m dating) can either move me closer to God or move me closer to Satan. 

I know myself well enough from personal experiences to know that I must deliberately and intentionally make decisions and take actions to starve my flesh (avoid ways of thinking, reasoning, feeling, desiring deciding, acting that indulge my natural, evil desires) and feed my spirit (engage in ways of thinking, reasoning, feeling, desiring, deciding, and acting that give control of my life to the Holy Spirit)

Space does not permit a detailed description of all the lifestyle choices I’ve made and continue to make to starve my flesh and feed my spirit. Suffice it to say that, so far as is possible with me, I carefully guard the avenues to my mind/spirit/heart, especially through my five senses. 

More in our next blog, The Renewing of My Mind—Part 3.

Copyright © 2022 Training for Transformation, Inc. All rights reserved.


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