I sometimes feel like I struggle with what the bible calls ‘the flesh’ more than others. The flesh is our sinful nature. Our natural position in the universe. We live for ourselves and our lives are an eternal expression of this. Our decisions are based on what we want, like and believe. We can do good things, but they are completely stained with self. The good news? Jesus. Christians know that Jesus did not live a sinful life. He actually lived the only perfect life, a life that expressed God as King. As a Christian I now have that life. My life is Christ’s life.
BUT, I still struggle with sin. And I feel like everyone is else is much better at battling with sin. I easily give in, I actually love to give in. When I step in the ring with sin, its feels like I’ve just gone 12 rounds with Rocky, if I even make 12 rounds without temptations knocking me flat out.
The biggest reason that I feel like a failure when it comes to battling the skin is that I try to do it alone. I treat sin a bit like a new fitness regime. I get all excited about it, tell everyone I am going to stick to it, I bang on about it and then I try it. It is hard. I give up. I hope nobody asks about it.
The Bible gives me the tools that I need to resist sin.
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 whateveryou want.But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
I have a battle inside of me. It is between the skin (my sinful nature) and the Spirit. Instead of letting my very poor best efforts take on my sinful nature I should be tagging in the Spirit. There is some amazing news in the above passage. If I belong to Jesus he has killed my sinful nature. This is a big point. There is me trying to knock out the sinful nature, and Jesus has gone and killed it. The cross defeated it. The Spirit applies Jesus’ victory to my life, winning fight after fight after fight against my defeated sinful nature.
However, it is not enough to know that the Spirit is there, waiting to open a can of whoop ass on my sinful self, I need to tag him in. I need to get in line with the Spirit. I look at the list of the fruit of the Spirit and I am reminded of how hard I find it. But I am not doing this alone. The Spirit is there. I must shake off the flesh and start training in the Spirit.
This passage is my prayer for the next few days, weeks and months. I am going to look at it everyday and train in the Spirit daily. I have been beaten by the flesh for too long. I am tagging the Spirit in. I will continue to struggle, and it is gonna take sweat, blood and lots of tears but Jesus has done the hard work before me. I want to chose Jesus, not cheap dirty sin.