“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17 NASB)
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:6-8)
Recently I had one of the moments. The ones you wish you could take back. A situation surfaced and I over-reacted. The words that came out of my mouth were too strong and as soon as they came out, I wished I could put them back in. As I reflected on the moment, I was hoping to find a justification for what happened, but the truth was there was no excuse, no one to blame it. It was all on me.
In that moment, I was giving into what Galatians 5 refers to as my flesh. Flesh is my human nature or my natural behavior outside of God’s influence. God makes it very clear, when we walk in freedom we learn a new way of living through the power of His Spirit. And when we live out of our flesh we are living in opposition to His way and cannot please Him.
It is important to learn to fight the flesh.
Here are a few ways to engage in that fight:
Choose to be honest. When you struggle, don’t try to hide from it – recognize it. Call it what it is. (Ephesians 5:19-21)
Once you recognize an area of struggle, ask God to help you identify the source. What event, belief, or pattern led to this behavior? (Romans 12:2)
Understand you can only fight the flesh by the Spirit. You cannot overcome on your own, you need God’s power. (Ephesians 6:12-13)
Learn what it looks like to respond or think about this God’s way. Search the Bible to see what God says about this struggle. (Hebrews 4:12)
Think back over the last few days – what area(s) are you giving into your flesh? What step will you take to fight your flesh?
God, forgive me for ___________. I know that when I _________, I am living by my flesh and that does not please You. Help me to walk by Your Spirit. Thank You for giving me freedom from sin so that I can live for You. Amen.