I don’t know about you, but man, am I ready to get off the never-ending wheel of physical desires. Socrates once said in the Gorgias that the physical pleasures we enjoy are like a leaky cup. Through indulgence, you can temporarily fill that cup up with water. But then it just leaks out again a short time later. Right now my main physical indulgences are sleep and food. Both are necessary for humans, but only in moderation. And moderation is not something I am very good at when it comes to sleep and food consumption.
Death to one’s physical desires is an intense and stressful event. It requires the solemnity of a funeral, and the resolution of a person on a mission. Sometimes our sins drag so heavily upon us that we cannot seem ever to shake them. I once heard that the person who desires in the area of physical indulgences to live a life of obedience must struggle with the intensity of a drowning man. Death to oneself is a cessation of a particular kind of being – an end to a way of life. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3) That’s why I recently have thinking of my quest for mastery of physical desires as a workout regimen. Day by day my goal is to build up my self-control muscles. The struggle is difficult but it is made more feasible by breaking it down into daily, manageable steps.
Are we prepared for a solemn funeral for the self and its desires? Is there a place in our lives that we have long been hiding from God and His sanctifying power? Do our memories sometimes wander back to the pleasures that we once enjoyed, hoping perhaps for another sip of that leaky cup? God’s will is for our entire sanctification. Our awareness of that will for our lives is the first step on a long-term journey. And our preparation for the funeral of that old self is essential to our ability to cast our cares upon our Lord. If we choose obedience today, it may be the most important day of our lives. It may be our last day on earth in the skin of our old selves. My prayer each day is that I would choose the obedience I so thoroughly desire.