How to Follow God Over Your Flesh
“Be nice, have fun, play nice with the other kids. Unless the other kids wanna fight, then you kick the other kids’ b---.” —Mushu (with at least a little “hostile flesh”, don’t you think?)
I have flesh. You have flesh. Everybody has flesh. On this side of the grave, it's impossible to get rid of it. It comes in as many flavors as Baskin-Robbins ice cream. A few of the most popular include:
Because “flesh” is common to everyone, and because certain flavors are more popular than others, it's easy to conclude that since “flesh” is normal, then it must be acceptable. But it’s not.
The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. —Romans 8:7-8
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. —Galatians 5:16-17
“Hostile toward God” and “contrary to the Spirit” doesn't sound all that acceptable to me. Yeah, you might be tempted to shirk off your flavor of flesh with a wink, but you don't have to look very far to see the devastation that it causes in our world, in our homes, and particularly, in our marriages. This stuff is nasty and destructive. By now, you should have the mantra memorized:
“A great marriage comes from two people walking in the Spirit, loving one another.”
The antithesis is also true.
”A bad marriage comes from two people walking in the flesh, battling one another.”
When two people walking in the flesh cross paths, collision often occurs, and mutual love never occurs. Think about it. What are your flesh patterns? How do they affect your most important relationships?
Holy Spirit, I need You to break in right now. I have probably put up a protective wall of self-justification that keeps me from being able to see my own flesh patterns. I am probably blind to the way that they affect those around me. In the name of Jesus, break through that barrier. Tell me the truth. Show me the hostile, contrary effects of walking in the flesh. Make me willing to let you take control of these deadly tendencies so that I might walk in Your ways. Amen.