How to Beat the Flesh

by Mar 21, 2022Growth, Questions

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 not there also.

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 car with a manual transmission? 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 buy 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 transmission 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, the power of 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. You fight the flesh by coming in agreement in your mind and your heart with what God says about you. You are born again and your identity is in Christ. You do not identify with the struggle you are currently going through.

By birth, you identified with Adam and his old nature. By baptism, you identify with Jesus.

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

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 daily 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. Instead, you must realize that those restrictions create protection and healthy boundaries for you. It’s not all about crucifying the flesh and disciplining yourselves. But without overcoming and controlling the flesh, you cannot have a successful 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 sitting in a car with your foot on the brakes; we need to constantly be moving forward. Our relationship with the Holy Spirit should be constantly growing in all areas of your life.

The key which determines how fast our Christian life can grow 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. Take off those brakes and advance.

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

Prayer

Perhaps you feel overwhelmed or have constant thoughts of not being good enough; maybe because of your struggles and/or failures you feel like you are not righteous anymore. Maybe you 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 failures, or struggles. I identify with Jesus my Savior. Lord Jesus, I thank You because through You I can put to death all fleshly desires that struggle against me.” Ask God to give you strength. Thank Him for the revelation of who you are in Jesus, who He is in you, and what He did on the cross for you.


I pray this was a blessing. Please share this blog and let me know what you think!

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