You want to grow forward but the past keeps pulling you back. One step forward and two steps back—gripped by past behaviors, some people, and familiar places. If you are a new Christian or a Christian who is deepening their walk with Christ you must realize the daily battle that will ensue between the flesh and the Spirit: “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.” (Galatians 5:17, New Living Translation).
Earlier this week on the Voices Against the Grain radio show, we spoke with Christian rap artist Matthew Slyman, otherwise known as “Crucial.” Crucial shared his testimony of how God freed him from years of drug and alcohol addiction, promiscuity and other sinful behaviors. In his desire to break free from that lifestyle and live for Christ, he was surprised by how strong these bad habits pulled him back in. Old friends would invite him to parties to smoke weed, do ecstasy, and drink. The drug addictions and connections to old friends seemed inescapable, spiraling him further into this lifestyle. Finally, it was one night at a party in his apartment where a photo of Christ Jesus inspired him to witness to his drinking friends about the goodness of God. This began the separation as they looked at him like the red-headed stepchild. From his seven-track album “The End of the World,” he raps in this song “Breaking Away”:
“Once upon a time in an age where sin reigned, it mastered me like a sensei ingrained… so later down the road I let some friends go…I found another path in life and I let ’em know. Man, I can still remember pleading for them to come along, I didn’t want to leave them…But it seemed the more I spoke the truth they pushed me aside like a broken tooth…it wasn’t personal they couldn’t see the way….they didn’t know they had been deceived…they couldn’t understand how I had been redeemed…but this is all a part of how it falls apart when you leave the world behind and your calling starts, but see the One Who fixed you is the One Who strips you of everything holding you down and He lifts you…I know you formed a lifestyle and picked up some habits, it’s hard to part with familiar distractions, it’s hard to break away from powerful attachments, but with Christ all those powers are matchless…”
Download Crucial’s free “The End of the World” album here. Listen to “Breaking Away” and other tracks. We love this album!
He learned from 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Don’t be misled: bad company corrupts good character.”
If you want to grow in Christ, break away from the familiar distractions and powerful attachments. This may mean leaving behind behaviors, places and some people. This is not possible in our own strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Have no confidence in the flesh. Fast, pray and stay in commune with God. The one you feed the most (whether Spirit or flesh) will grow the most. Don’t be surprised if the past wants to make a return. We can combat this daily by putting on our spiritual armor, found in Ephesians 6:10-18.