If we are a Christian there should be a constant battle going on within each of us between the body of flesh and the Holy Spirit residing in us. This article is meant to help us examine ourselves.
God has told us what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil. He also told us that as Christians we had to deny the desires of our flesh for the flesh is condemned and will die, only the spirit can be saved. The Lord tells us in His Word that the unsaved flesh, being condemned, is at enmity or war against the spirit of God which indwells those that are saved. Therefore we know and can expect our body of flesh, including the mind to constantly be trying to get us to do things contrary to God and to do those thing He has forbidden. The Apostle Paul knew and understood this and he laments about the constant struggle in Romans chapters seven and eight.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. ~ Romans 8:6-7
Paul continues on about how there is a war against not only his flesh, but also in his mind and he cannot find a way to do the good, the right thing that he knows to do instead of doing the sinful thing. He despairs, crying out seeking deliverance from so wicked a body that is condemned to die.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? ~ Romans 7:24
Then he shares with us how that God, through Jesus Christ has made a way of escape for those believers who walk after the Spirit of God. In other words they deny the carnal nature which tries to rule the flesh and the mind.
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. ~ Romans 7:25
This in no way means that because the flesh wants to sin and is the servant of sin that Paul or us today are to just give over to it and go on sinning. It is meant to show and inform us that the flesh is lost, will always be lost and condemned and if we are not vigilant it will take us down as well.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. ~ Romans 8:1; 8:12-14
So we see that we must mortify or put to death the deeds, the desires of the flesh and the carnal mind if we want to be a child of God. No it is not an easy or pleasant thing but it is possible and it is required of Christians to deny the flesh, but God did not leave us here to struggle alone.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. ~ Romans 8:11
If we are saved then of course we have that same Spirit in us that returned life to Jesus Christ and will give us the will, the strength, and the power to live a Holy and pleasing life. Even so, it is not automatic, nor is it imposed upon us, but the ability is given to those who make effort to walk in the Word of God. Unlike Jesus who committed no sin, we are guilty of sin, our blood is tainted and because God is a graceful loving God He made a way for our spirit to escape death, but the flesh remains condemned and determined to take us to Hell with Satan.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13
We should notice in the verse that it states; ...will make a way to escape.... It does not say God will snatch you out, or kill the temptation, but says He will
make a way leaving us to do our part in spite of what many teachers, preachers, and pastors will tell us today that there is nothing we can do.
Hopefully having a better understanding of the battles often going on inside of Christians will shed new light for us on the admonition to cut off offending parts of the body. I do not say it means the bloody use of a knife, but it means a denial of that desire or behavior which is against the Word of God.
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. ~ Matthew 18:8-9
Are your feet taking you places you should not go? What is your hand taking? Is it stealing? What about your eyes? Are you looking at things on television or Internet that no Christian should? If so folks the implication in the verse is that these things can cause us to be lost and to lose our eternal soul. I hesitate to say
lose our Salvation because these days so many of the lukewarm folks throw a hissy fit and start to hyperventilate, but that is exactly what the verses mean.
These verses should be a warning to us today as to just how serious God is about sin. It should help us to better understand the sinfulness of sin that it is not a light thing to be dallied with. Sin must be battled daily, the flesh must be put into subjection by the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot do this without Bible reading, study and prayer on a daily basis. The world has a way of creeping in and our heart and mind become de-sensitized and we are soon found compromising with the flesh and the world. That is Satan’s greatest hope for Christians because he knows that our strength and our power come from the Word of God.
Everything goes right back to the Bible folks, it tells us right from wrong and it tells us how to battle sin. It comforts us with assurances of a better hereafter and strength and power in the here and now. Read the Bible everyday and battle sin and wrong, because if you are not battling it then you are increasingly embracing it and all that is forbidden for those who are bound for Heaven.