How to Beat the Flesh

By Vladimir Savchuk | March 21, 2022 | 6 mins

How to Beat the Flesh

Our Three Enemies

Ephesians tells us that we are fighting three main enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Ephesians 2:1-3

The world is our visible enemy. This is the system that is in rebellion against God, which seeks to redefine everything that God said was good.

Secondly, we are against the devil because he is against us. He is our supreme enemy.

And thirdly, the most difficult enemy we fight is the one that lives inside us. The Bible calls it the flesh.

The flesh is not a demon but if you yield to it long enough, it will give place to one.

The flesh is not a demon but if you yield to it long enough, it will give place to one.

The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.”

Genesis 25:23

We were born with the flesh – that is our old nature. Surrendering our lives to Christ Jesus gives us a new nature. Just like in Genesis 25, there is a struggle inside us all between the old us and the new us – between our flesh and who we are in Christ. The old nature is to live in subjection to the new nature. Just because the old you is present, does not mean the new you is absent.

The presence of temptation is not a sign that you have not been transformed.

The only reason you are tempted is because you have been made righteous. When you were not, you simply practiced and indulged in sin without restraint. But now, the Holy Spirit within us resists the flesh.

Getting saved does not remove the flesh, it actually creates a struggle against sin. This struggle pushes us to depend on God. Recently I thought of an illustration that helps clarify how we are to respond.

Have you ever driven a manual car? I have, and I really don’t like it. When I was around 12 years old, my dad gave me my first driving lessons in the manual car he had. I learned how to drive it but I never enjoyed the complexity of the 3 pedals- clutch, brake, and gas. After some bad experiences, I knew that I would never get a manual car, it had to be automatic! Thinking back to those times, I realized that our minds can be very similar to the manual car. Just because you are a Christian does not mean you will “automatically” be able to overcome temptations. Our minds require a “manual” approach if we are to see victory, and that requires us to use the three pedals: Consider (clutch), Crucify (brake), and Commit (gas).

Step 1: Consider Yourself Dead To The Flesh

The Bible says when Jesus died, our flesh died with Him.

For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:10-11

We don’t start with the battle; we start with the victory. You don’t overcome your flesh by fighting against the flesh first. You fight the flesh by coming in agreement in your mind and your heart with what God says about you and your identity in Christ, not with the struggle you are currently going through.

By birth, you identified with Adam. By baptism, you identify with Jesus.

Identify with Christ, and from the point of His victory, you can fight. From the point of His death, you can put to death the lust of the flesh.

Step 2: Crucify The Cravings Of The Flesh

On the cross, Jesus crucified the flesh’s power, not its presence, nor its influence. You and I have the responsibility to crucify the desires and the passions of the flesh.

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:24

The Christian life is not about following a list of regulations that forbid you to enjoy life, but instead, realizing that those restrictions create protection and a healthy limitation in our lives. The Christian life is not just about crucifying the flesh and disciplining ourselves, but without crucifying the flesh, we cannot have the Christian life.

Step 3: Commit To Following The Leading Of The Holy Spirit

Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16

As Christians we were not called to stand still, like a car with the brakes on; we need to constantly be moving forward. Our relationship with the Holy Spirit should be constantly growing in different ways.

The key which determines how fast our Christian life can go is our communion, covenant, and commitment to the Holy Spirit.

In order to grow quickly in your relationship with the Holy Spirit, you must learn to remove the things in your life that hinder your full commitment to Him.

For greater speed in your Christian life, you have to connect, communicate, and commit to the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee victory over the flesh; yielding to the Holy Spirit does.


Perhaps you feel overwhelmed or constant thoughts of not being good enough; maybe because of your struggles you feel like you are not righteous anymore and feel as though Jesus doesn’t love you, or that you are not worthy of forgiveness, regardless of it all, God wants to strengthen you and empower you to know the truth, to be set free by it, and to live a full life in Christ.

Begin to thank God for the cross. Say “I identify with Jesus; I don’t identify with my sexuality, past, or struggle. I identify with Jesus. Jesus is my Savior. Lord Jesus, I thank You because of that I can put to death all fleshly desires that struggle against me.” Ask God to give you strength, the revelation of who you are in Jesus, who He is in you, and what He did on the cross for you.

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