I got saved as a teenager and had great difficulty with my flesh. I struggled to keep my anger and sexual desires under control and to submit to God’s authority in my thought life. I found myself constantly falling into sin and repenting but going back and doing the same thing. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24). It took quite some time for me to understand that I was better off dead.
Galatians 5:16 states, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (NKJ). Ok so all I have to do is walk in the Spirit. What? The question then arises how do I walk in the Spirit? Does that mean I walk around in a godly trance speaking in tongues all the time? Galatians 5 goes on to say how the Spirit and the flesh go against each other and gives a list of the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. In reading this passage I saw that the flesh works and the Spirit produces fruit. Anything done in our flesh is not productive. It is just empty work. The Amplified Bible describes the flesh as human nature without God. We see human nature without God every time we turn on the news. Child molestations, malicious murders, immorality and all of the other things listed in Galatians 5: 19-21 are prevalent in our society. So whatever we do apart from God is in our flesh and therefore unproductive. If you continue to read Galatians 5 in the Amplified Bible verse 22 describes the fruit of the Spirit as the work which His presence within accomplishes. There it is! How do I walk in the Spirit; by having the presence of God within me, being connected to the True Vine. In John 15:1-8 Jesus implores us to abide in Him so that the Father will be our Vinedresser and we may be cleansed and pruned by the Word then we will bear fruit that will honor and glorify God.
The key for me has been to realize, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20 NIV). I really am better off dead. My desires die, my way of thinking dies, my ideals, my plans, my righteousness, my beliefs they all die so that Christ can live in me. You see I couldn’t let go of the sin in my life until I let go of myself and submitted all that I was to God so that He could make me all that He is. Isn’t He great!! His love forgives and covers our sins and then He puts in us, through His Holy Spirit, the ability to live a life holy and acceptable unto Him. I have to die because in my flesh there is nothing good or productive. Not to say this is a one time thing, no I die daily. I must choose everyday, every moment of the day to crucify my fleshly ways and desires and submit to God’s ways.
If you are struggling with your flesh whether it be lying, stealing, sexual sin, or just stinking thinking I encourage you to let God cleanse and prune you. He will cut away any part of you that is not bearing fruit. It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to feel good but if you know like I do dying is the only way to live. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God (Galatians 2:19 NIV).
God Bless and in the words of Tedashii “I beat my flesh to the death every breathe like I beat my chest”—MAKE WAR!!!