There are several things you get used to when living in low-priced, Arkansas rentals: loud neighbors, poor insulation, monthly A/C repairs. What you don’t get used to is the ongoing war with roaches. It’s not “infestation” level, but certainly enough to call for a 5-minute bug-killing spree every other night.
Usually these battles begin at night when I come home from work. I’ll turn the kitchen light on and see 7-8 of my little friends, caught red-handed trying to sneak around in the dark. I race to the paper-towels, they dart for cover, and whoever wins gets bragging-rights for the next 24-hours.
Roaches love the dark, because they can roam and feed in seclusion. Light exposes them, makes them vulnerable, and they hate it.
In my struggle against the flesh, I’ve noticed that this principle holds true: sin loves the dark. A secluded, private flesh is like a dark room for a roach, littered with crumbs. On the other hand, sin hates the light of Christ. His glory exposes sin for what it is: vain and vile.
The only tangible, practical victories I’ve ever experienced from the lusts of the flesh have been when I’ve placed myself in the midst of Christ’s glory. The beams of light pierce me: to my regenerate heart they are streams of living water, to my flesh they are acidic arrows.
This is all a bit ambiguous, however. How exactly do I place myself “in the midst of Christ’s glory”? In these last days (Hebrews 1), Christ is not visible to His church. Even so, He is present by means of His Spirit (Matthew 28:20). The way in which one may see Christ is not physical, but mental and spiritual.
The clearest vision we may gain of Christ on earth is in His Word. Scripture is Christo-centric, pointing to Christ in large and small sweeps. The Holy Spirit attends the reading of Scripture to point us to Christ (1 John 4). When the flesh is exposed to Christ in this way, it recoils and resents what it sees. The regenerate heart, however, rejoices in and is rejuvenated with contemplating the manifold perfections of Christ.
So an answer (not the answer) to fighting sin and the flesh is to dwell in Scripture – to flip on the spiritual kitchen light.