The flesh doesn’t want to die.
Mine kicks and screams and throws up fists at every call to humility, every demand placed on “my” free time, every confrontation with the reality that I am not the center of God’s universe.
Jealousy, fear, anger, lust, bitterness, despair… These all perspire out of the fleshly, sinful nature that isn’t totally dead yet. They’re the toxic output of the sinful flesh I haven’t fully shaken. I long to throw that old man off (at least in my better moments I do). But he’s still with me. And he always will be, as long as I’m in the body.
But I won’t surrender to the flesh. I can’t. To let it have dominion over me is to be an enemy of God, and I’d rather die than be an enemy of the Almighty.
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
Your flesh doesn’t want to die, and mine doesn’t either. But the Good News is that if you belong to Jesus through faith, you are not alone. The Spirit of Jesus Christ dwells in you, and He will help you put to death the deeds of that old, fleshly nature. The sinful self that doesn’t want to succumb or surrender.
We are called to put the deeds of the flesh to death, and we are promised the help we need to do it.
When you feel anger rising up inside, confess and repent to Jesus by the Spirit, and pray that that Spirit would sever the root of your wrath in your heart.
When you recognize lust lurking its way into your mind, call upon Your Savior and the Spirit of His Resurrector to keep your eyes and your soul pure.
When you shrink from the world in anxiety or fear or despair, take one minute and bend your knees to the Christ and ask Him to put down the faithless shrieks of doubt from your flesh. Ask Him to give you the trust He Himself prescribed when He told us about our Abba feeding the birds and clothing the flowers with care.
Join me, guys, in putting the flesh to death by the Spirit through faith in the risen Jesus. He has promised to be with us in His Word, and to give us life as He dwells in us. We are not alone in the fight of (and for) our lives.
He is in and with those who belong to Him.
If you are truly in Christ your old man may not be fully dead yet, but his obituary is already written.