Today I want to talk about the flesh, that is, our carnal side, our sinful Nature; the side that desires to do all the things outside God’s will. This is the beginning of all things, as it is the driving force to our actions, words and thoughts. Webster defines flesh as the body distinct from the soul, all humankind. Vines defines flesh as the weaker element in human nature, the “unregenerate state of men, the seat of sin in man, the natural attainment of ment”. Homan’s takes it a step further, “fallen human nature that is incapable of conforming to God’s holy expectation. It is unaided human effort, mere human strength without the power of the Holy Spirit”.
Paul explains that our flesh and spirit are in conflict with each other within believers. Ok, let’s think about all this holistically. If our flesh is the side of us that is incapable of conforming to God’s holy expectation, that is, our effort without the power of the Holy Spirit and flesh/spirit are in conflict with each other, then we know that a war is always taking place inside us. We all know the story of how sin entered into the world. We all know that as a result of wrong choices, all humans are by nature sinful. By nature means that w3e instictively, without thought, do wrong rather than good. Wrong being the desires to enjoy the worldly things, lust, money, pride, jealousy, anger and much more.
Our safe have, our way out comes in our acceptance of Christ as our Savior and Lord. Our problem is, even with the indwelling of the Spirit of God within us, our sinful nature still exists within us. It is only the Spirit that gives us the power to keep the sinful nature or natural tendancies at bay. Like conditioning our bodies, we must condition our mind to give control over to the Spirit so that the natural tendancies of our flesh are kept in check. Easy, right? Not!
Life would be easy, if only we were in control, but other forces, unseen, are also hard at work setting up traps to keep us from succeeding. If by nature we are sinful, then we must also know and understand how easy it is to give in to its desires. It is so much easier to give in to the ways of the world than to be something opposite our inborn traits. Therefore, every moment of the day is a battle for us, a battle for our lives. If you are anything like me, the battle is so great that often it appears hopeless to ever overcome its desires, its needs, it wants. So what do we do about it? How do we overcome? How do we be something we weren’t meant to be by nature? How do we win the battles raging within us?
The Bible says the Spirit is that power source that enables us to change that nature and conform to the will of God. The hardest thing for us to do as Christians is to give up control of ourselves, let someone else to drive the train. I find that though I desire to do right, doing wrong usually happens. I find that though I try to do right, think the right thing, say the right thing – that it doesn’t take much to get led astray. If my mind is distracted for one moment, all aspects of my intentions are affected. When one proceeds the wrong way, it’s hard to stop the forward movement by turning around and going in the right direction. In fact, you will find, the thought to go the right direction, usually doesn’t enter your mind until long after the damage is done. If you are a Christian like me, the guilt or shame for ever traveling the wrong way begins to take root and grow.
Have you ever felt that your life is taking a nose dive, spiraling downward out of control and that you are powerless to change it. I have and do. So what do you do when that happens? What do you do to regain control? What do you do when reading the Bible or praying become to hard to do because guilt and shame keep you glued to your spot, unable to move forward? Do you ever feel that God wouldn’t listen? Have you felt too dirty with sin to approach God and ask Him for help? I know just how you feel.
So let’s work through this together.
You know you are doing bad when you cant even trust yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your intentions, to know if they are pure in heart. Your heart cries out painfully for help to weave through all the confusion created as a result of your wrong choices, saying “Lord, intervene, take control before I destroy myself before I lose all I have spiritually gained.”
When these times hit and you are buried in a battle roaring within you, submerge yourself in God. I find that when I am struggling, the only solution is running to the very One my flesh wants to avoid. I pray, I praise in song, I study, but I seek God any way I know how. Sounds funny, sound time consuming, sounds even stupid, but it works. Open your Word and find God in the midst. The more you seek, the more your spirit awakens and the easier it is to overcome the power of the flesh. Know you are not alone. Even the maturest of God’s Saints go through this very thing.