Tag Archives: flesh

The Spiritual Realm

My child, walk by faith, not by sight. The Spiritual realm is more real than what you can see in the world around you. Let Me open your eyes to see what I see. Give Me your ears so you can hear what I am telling you. Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Your God and Father who loves you beyond words.

2 Corinthians 5:7   Galatians 5:16

Dead? Com’on!

The fact is that God truly did cause our old self to die, even though we still have to drag the weight of it around in our new life in Christ. “But how can I get rid of that monster?” Well, the truth is that God has gotten rid of it for us. In the Greek, to “be done away with” literally means to be made powerless.

This means that, even though it’s still there causing lots of trouble, the flesh—“our body of sin”—has actually become a non-issue for us as children of God. Why? Because the flesh has been made powerless! Now this can obviously be somewhat confusing, but you’ll clearly see why and how it is if you read my book.

Accusation & Deceit

It’s not hard to come away from Romans 6 with at least a head-knowledge that our flesh has somehow died now that we’ve received Christ. After all, isn’t that what it says in Romans 6:6: “…that our body of sin might be done away with?” “Finally, my old self is dead!” we reason, even though deep down it’s really hard to believe.(Colossians 3:9-10)

Nevertheless it is true. But the manner in which “our body of sin” has been “done away with” is a little different from what may appear on the surface. Actually our body of sin didn’t go anywhere. It’s still clinging close at hand. So what seems to be a contradiction here can be an ongoing frustration for Christians, because it’s tough not to be disheartened by a sense of guilt which is constantly blown out of proportion by Satan’s masterful manipulation through accusation and deceit.

Ultimate Victory

Failure to resist sin opened up some pretty significant questions for me: why would God give me instant relief from some sins while allowing others to remain? Why not just give me victory over all my fleshly weaknesses so I wouldn’t have any problem in wholeheartedly living for Him?

The answer is choice. Our confrontation with sin in the weakness of our flesh—not the least besetting sin—continually presents us with choices to make. It’s fundamental to God’s plan for us. He has set things up in such a way that, while there is certainly an immediate and absolute aspect of our redemption now, the final redemption our body is a future event.(Romans 8:23) So, even though we have His Spirit as a guarantee, we still have a rocky road to travel. And our choices along this difficult road tell the tale of our faith, or its lack thereof.

God has a solution to besetting sin. So we must never attempt to justify sin in our life—no matter how or when it might crop up. Sometimes we try to blame besetting sin on some sort of character flaw. But that’s not the real issue. Sure it’s a character flaw! But not in the way psychologists might define it—not as something we simply, by virtue of our nature, are never able to overcome.

Each and every one of us who comes to Christ has a deficiency in our character. And though it may take years to work through the difficulties resulting from such weakness, it’s important to understand that God never meant besetting sin to be a lifelong problem.

What Is Sin?

What is sin? Scripture never really bothers to define sin, except where it says that “sin is lawlessness.”(1 John 3:4) Everyone in the Bible simply seemed to understand what it meant. The word first appears in Genesis 4:7 where Cain, angry over the unacceptability of his offering, is told by God, “sin is crouching at your door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

I have often heard sin defined as missing the mark, as if one were missing a target he is aiming at. The Greek dictionary defines sin as, “missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is God—an offence in relation to God with an emphasis on guilt.”

It’s pretty obvious what God considers to be sin. Time and again in his various letters Paul makes perfectly clear what the sins of the flesh are, listing each by name—often along with a warning that those corrupted by sin have no inheritance in God’s kingdom.(Galatians 5:18-21, Ephesians 5:3-5) And other biblical writers do the same. God’s purpose in so emphatically defining the sins of the flesh is to make it impossible for us to play dumb, saying we didn’t know.

Excerpted from: Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

God Desires Our Good

Unquestionably, God wants good for us here, but His plan ultimately revolves around our union with Him later. So He has designed things such that His purpose can only come to fruition as we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, and then enter into a lifelong pursuit of God in spite of our human penchant to choose self in place of Him.

So our ongoing battle with the flesh, as we’re confronted daily by a world steeped in sin, boils down to one thing only: choice with teeth, decision with real meaning. And this is precisely why God had to allow sin to play such a major role in our decision-making.

But how could God (whose very essence is goodness) give evil the right to exist at all, much less allow it to have such overwhelming and destructive power over mankind? Again, choice is the answer to this age-old question. In His unfathomable wisdom, God has ordained that His children choose Him freely—and the more difficult the choice, the better He likes our yes. It makes the value we place on Him all the more meaningful.

Excerpted from: Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Discipline and Self Control

My child, think of your flesh as a toddler who wants what he wants when he wants it. He throws a tantrum until he either gets what he wants or he is disciplined by loving and caring parents. Your flesh must be brought under discipline and self control or it will rage out of control. Undisciplined flesh leads only to death. Discipline, by the power of My Holy Spirit will bring about self control and the change of fleshly habits. A successful life is a disciplined life. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Hebrews 12:11 NLT

Renewing of the Mind

Although an attempt to produce genuine change in man’s behavior through discipline of the body may have some minor value, it ultimately never produces the desired effect.(Colossians 2:22-23) This is because it merely treats the symptoms rather than the disease, and only leads to heaping on a load of guilt when it fails to work. By its very nature, this strategy is doomed to failure because it simply bucks God’s design—His life flows not from the works of the flesh, but from the Spirit of God surging through the panel of our spirit.(John 15:5)

And here’s another prevalent misconception: the belief that we can transform ourselves by acquiring knowledge about the things of God. Can’t we? I hear a chorus of voices shouting, “Of course we can; how else can we grow in the knowledge of God and thus renew our minds?” The fact is that this too bucks God’s design. When Paul admonishes us not to “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” he doesn’t mean merely the intellect. Rather, he means the transformation of our mind defined as the inner man—our immaterial nature integrated with the physical mind.(Romans12:2)

But doesn’t gaining more knowledge about God mean that our heart will change in the process? Well, in a sense it does, because knowledge of the things of God and His kingdom are certainly vital to our growth. But such knowledge must be pursued from the right motives if it is to be effective. Why? Because true change in the heart does not come from the direction of the intellect. Rather, the genuine source of change in our heart is the result of the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God bringing our spirit alive to Him. Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”(John 16:3) He does this by disclosing to us—Spirit to spirit—revelatory truth within, as well as spiritually quickening what we learn through our intellect.

Excerpted from: Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself






An Empowered Body

Paul tells us in Romans 8:10-11, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

How can our body be spiritually dead because of sin and alive at the same time? Does this merely refer to our glorified bodies when resurrected? I think that may be part of it, but I believe it also means that our physical bodies are being made alive in the here and now. How? By being given the capacity to fulfill our purpose here on earth, in our flesh, by the power of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence. It’s His power that makes it all possible!