The flesh. What is it? How do we deny it? How do we operate in the Spirit and not in our selves? Let me take this two ways: 1. Flesh that causes us to sin, and 2. Flesh that we use to try to do the work of the Spirit. Today we'll talk about #1 and Wednesday we'll cover #2. Will that work?
Good, because I don't want to hog your blog reading. :)
There are two ways at looking at having no confidence in the flesh in regard to sin: 1. We can't count on it to stop wanting sin, and 2. We can't count on it to be able to stand up against sin either.
Let me expound a bit. Our flesh is, what the Bible calls, our sin-nature. It's what is pretty much in direct opposition to the things of God. It is what Paul so eloquently talked about in Romans 7.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
That's what we're talking about in regard to the sin-nature. It is what we are born with, what was placed on us through the sin of Adam way back in the beginning of things. Fair? Nope, but if you've lived long enough, you know life ain't fair and we've got to figure out what to do.
So, we can all agree we have a bend toward sin. There are things about it we love and things we hate. There is a satisfaction to it, and yet we all know it leaves us empty and void. There is a seduction about it that when fulfilled leaves us dirty and frightened. We know the consequences of our habitual, chosen sins.
What about those sins that sort of seem to "pop" up. For instance, you slam your hand in the door of your car and a darling little four letter word flies out of your pretty little redeemed lipsticked mouth. Well, that was not some sort of premeditated sin, it was just a response to a situation.
Whether it be a sin, a deep habitual sin maybe of gossip, bitterness, slander, unforgiveness, over-eating (which is really related to something deeper), complaining, cheating, stealing, oh the list is endless; or it's those slip-of-the-tongue kind of sin, truth of the matter is...it's all sin. It's all from the sin-nature.
Oh man! Not fun.
But, (and there is always a "but" in Christ)
But, we don't have to be ruled by our flesh.
Let me give you an example. I'm Irish. I like to joke about it, but I can sometimes be a short-tempered person. Usually not at people, but at things like a door not closing all the way, or if I drop the same pen four times in a row, I can really get twisted. Not pretty. I'm really not easily angered by people, it's just I can get bent out of shape over stupid stuff. So, I've just chalked it up as personality, my Irish nature, and moved on. I moved on in habitual sin.
I've had worse, believe me, but the point is, I did not have the guts or the belief in me to think that the Holy Spirit could actually do something about it. And to be honest, I didn't want Him to because it felt good at the moment. So, when I went to tell Him all about it He reminded me that He have given me a new nature.
We have to start believing the Word. When it says that we are a new creation in Christ the old has gone the new has come, we have options:
1. We can be free to behave differently.
2. We can actually live without being bound to those old sin habits.
3. We can be free to stop feeling guilty.
4. We can look forward to being more and more like Christ.
5. We can be free in the Spirit to pray more.
6. We can start believing that we are who He says we are, not what our sin says we are!
I can keep going!......
7. We have the freedom to walk away from that which tempts us.
8. We can be ruled by the Spirit and not ourselves.
9. We can live out His dreams for us.
10. We won't go to hell, but live forever with Him!!
When He says we have a new nature, we're the ones who don't believe it. Does that mean our old self, our flesh, our sin-nature is gone forever? No! It just means it is dead to us by the power of Christ! It means that we do not have to be ruled by our flesh. It does not hold the power unless we give it the power!
For is you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:13, 14
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5
We have options. We have the choice to walk in faith that by the Spirit of Christ our old nature is put to death!
But, (here it comes) HOW do we do that?
Oh mercy, it's in recognizing in faith and in humility that the Spirit will do His job. We, in turn, set boundaries, watch what we say, watch what we do, and most of all, live in a deep, conscious faith that the Spirit is putting those things to death.
Do not try to do His work...oh wait, I get ahead of myself. More on confidence in the flesh on Wednesday.