“For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19b).
My mechanic is the man. His people skills aren’t strong, but that’s not what I’m paying for. The guy knows his stuff and gets the job done. Whenever I get a check-engine light situation, he gets right to the bottom of it. He runs the diagnostics and figures out the problem.
2 Peter 2:19b is a bit of a diagnostic tool from the maker of your soul. He said, "Whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved."
Whatever overcomes you is the thing you are enslaved to. This sounds simple, but is often overlooked. If something just overtakes you, repeatedly or constantly, you are enslaved to that thing. The areas you are frequently overtaken are the areas Jesus wants to work His redemptive touch.
In response to this we ought to ask the question, “What overcomes me?” What habits, attitudes, or practices take you out? Where do you lack self-control, instead finding yourself controlled?
Is it anger? You might be a slave to it. Is it lustful thought? You might be a slave to it. Is it overeating? You might be a slave to it.
All our slavery goes back to the big three — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (see 1 John 2:16). One of these is at the root of every dominating sin. When you are overcome, these are the root issues.
For the lust of the flesh you must practice integrity. You must invite a oneness into your life. You cannot live in a duality: one way in certain contexts, another way in others. You must allow every area of your life some level of exposure. A secret life is dangerous ground for the lust of the flesh...
For the lust of the eyes you must practice generosity. As you give and give your desires for more grow less and less. Greed gives way to a giving spirit. Your contentedness will rise. A greedy life is dangerous ground for the lust of the eyes.
For the pride of life you must practice humility. Allow an honesty about yourself to enter your mind. The flesh tells us we deserve so much, but any good in us is from God’s grace. Be real about yourself and your struggles. Your anger might be connected to a sense of pride, feeling you deserve better than what has angered you.
Let the Holy Spirit run his diagnostic tool on your heart. If you are overcome, you’ve found a pocket of slavery. But have hope! Jesus wants to crush it in order to set you free.