"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)
Dealing with the Issues of the Flesh
“For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2)
I have news for you guys today; perhaps this is old news for some or this could be a new revelation for many. I am, of course, writing to Christians. It amazes me how surprised and judgmental we react when someone is caught in an act of the flesh. It is almost like, at the moment someone else is caught in a shameful behavior we instantly either forget or we actually view ourselves as being perfect. In case you have not noticed yet, we all carry around our flesh; so when dealing with the issues of the flesh we are also dealing with you. Nobody is exempt to the desires and the undisciplined ways of the flesh. Our un-holy desires should not surprise us at all.
From over-eating problems that results in weight issues, to bad relationships we engage into; from spending money we don’t have, pride, sexual immorality, etc. all is a direct result of people guiding these particular areas of their lives by the commands of the flesh. Our flesh, our deceitful hearts and the devil are our worst enemies. This particular trinity is designed to destroy us and it will indeed destroy us if our soul is ruled by them. We desperately need an understanding of the way the flesh operates. Understanding the ways of the flesh will help us understand one another and perhaps it is the understanding that we need in the Body of Christ to help us kill our judgmental ways.
Let’s see together some peculiar characteristics of the flesh that applies to all of us:
1.The works of the flesh are obvious: “Now the works of the flesh are evident…” (Galatians 5:19) It is very, very possible that even as you can’t see your mess, somebody else can. It is not hard to see the issues in others; the challenge is to see our own mess.
2.The flesh is our sinful nature and it opposes the Spirit of God:We can’t wait until we feel like doing the right thing because the flesh will never feel like doing the right thing. The flesh resists the Will of God for our lives.“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”(Galatians 5:17)
3.The flesh opposes the soul:“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul…” (1 Peter 2:11) Without the soul we can’t experience life, for our soul is the life of our bodies. The soul is that part of us that must decide which way to go every day.
4.Our flesh is filthy: The desires of the flesh are filthy; there is nothing good about our flesh as even what seems to be good becomes filthy because of the motives of our hearts. “…beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthian 7:1)
5.We have the responsibility to do our part as it refers to putting away fleshly behaviors: 2 Cor. 7:1 tells us “…let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh…”Even as before the Father we are already clean because of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ by His blood, we must do our part. Walking in the flesh or in the Spirit is a choice. (Deut. 30:19) This is a daily, moment-to-moment commitment of choosing to put away fleshly behaviors and grabbing a hold of our divine nature so that, in Christ, we can walk this holy life. Much of what we call mistakes is not really mistakes; they are choices.
6.We must engage in a walk where we are constantly perfecting holiness: (2 Cor. 7:1) The way of perfecting the manifestation of holiness in our lives is by walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) Again, none of this has anything to do with feelings; it has to do with a daily and constant mind-set of walking in the way that is pleasing before our Father.
7.The end-result of walking in the flesh is death: Nothing good will manifest as the end-result of walking in the flesh; some understand this Biblical principle quicker than others. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13)
Perhaps you find yourself arguing with God and still idolizing your flesh. I pray that soon you find yourself face-to-face with the reality of an empty and deceitful way of life that can’t ever be compared to the quality of the life that our Lord offers. Many spend their existence in search of the American Dream. The American Dream is summed-up by having a spouse, children, a nice house, good jobs, good cars, etc. Many achieve these things and much more, but still find themselves so far away from the life that God has for them. See, all these things can be attained in the flesh. The Way of God is simply indescribably better. That is why the wisdom of God cries out and constantly sounds the trumpet that our destruction is coming if we continue in our fleshly paths. That is the wisdom of God for us; to know that His ways are not our ways and that in His ways we are able to find the abundant life that we all long for.