Do you find yourself contending to do right like the Apostle Paul? “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Rom 7:19 NLT). This probably paints the picture of so many; really wanting to serve God, but ending up doing wrong. Some might even in frustration think that pleasing God and doing what is right is impossible. Even if they don’t conclude that, all have found that there is another law, another force working in their body. This force is called the flesh, and it’s the second great enemy of all saints, thwarting the will of God and keeping saints destined to sin. However, this enemy like the world, is no match for the provision of freedom that is provided through the cross. Read on as I lay out what the flesh is, but most importantly how you gain freedom and victory over it, so you can please God and do the things that are right.
The Flesh, the Enemy in Us!
Let’s get a better understanding of the enemy in us. The flesh is also referred to as our “natural man” (1 Cor 2:14), and our “old man” (Gal 2:20). The flesh is the source of all sinful desires in us (Rom 7:25), the flesh is weak in it its ability to pursue God (Mat 26:41). The flesh wars against the Spirit not allowing us to do what’s right (Gal 5:16). This is not a small thing, the flesh hinders and disables the work of the Spirit in us. The flesh is the hiccup in our service to God, it’s the great disconnect of the flow of the Spirit in us. If the fruit of the Spirit is not being birthed in our lives, we must look to see how we have dealt with the flesh. If we find ourselves not hearing from God, we have to look at the operation of the flesh in our lives. The flesh is the number one enemy in you and me, keeping us from pleasing God and doing whats right.
Have you searched your bible to see the different faculties of the flesh that operates in the old nature. Here is a list of a few, there’s more on the study notes.
The flesh has a mind or inclination/purpose that is enmity or rather at war with God (Rom 8:7). The flesh has its own wisdom, its own way of processing knowledge (II Cor 1:12). The flesh has its own will; it attempts to exert its own intent and direction in our lives (John 1:13). Along with a will, the flesh has its own lusts and affections that stir up within us and seek to be fulfilled (Gal 5:24). We can walk in, or live in the flesh, this is where all of the faculties of the flesh is exercised (Rom 8:3-4). The flesh has its works that are opposite the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:19-21). The flesh is the enemy in us, it has its own mind, wisdom, will, its own lusts and walk , that is contrary to the Spirit of God; its works are opposite the fruit of the Spirit and ultimately none of what the flesh offers can please God.
The Flesh is defeated
Did you know the believer has been given victory over all of his enemies? That even includes the flesh, the very enemy in you and me. How did God give the believer victory? Through the cross of Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17
Our freedom is found in the cross, our joint crucifixion with Jesus, where our old nature (flesh) was crucified, put to death and where we became new creations in Christ, where old things have passed away, and all things have become new. This is our victory over the flesh, a new creation (Gal 6:15). We have wrongly thought that God was working on us, like fixing an old car, no God has recreated us, like scraping the old in with the new! The flesh/old nature could not be repaired it was from corruptible seed and inherently corrupted. The flesh, could not be educated to please God, could not be reformed to do His will, neither could it be trained to be obedient. As Paul said “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells;…” That’s why Jesus said we’d have to be born again, the first birth was messed up.
As new creations in Christ we have been given the mind of Christ (1Cor 2:16), now we can think the thoughts of God, we can by the Holy Spirit be instructed in the wisdom of God, to know and comprehend God’s intent and will.
This mind needs to be daily renewed, because the same brain cells are being used which were used by the mind that was enmity to God. L.L Legters
The new creation, thinks and deals with wisdom from above (1Cor 1:30). His will is invigorated by God, this is God working in the believer to will to willingly do the things God desires (Phil 2:13). He has new desires, new thirsts ( 1 Peter 2:2). His walk is in the Spirit, a walk where the fruit of the Spirit is produced, and in the power to live life as God intended. Lastly, he walks in the works that God has prepared for him (Eph 2:10).
Your new life is intended to be radically different from the old life, this is your time for complete freedom and victory over the flesh. There is a maturing process, a growing process, but nevertheless, there is victory in this present age from the flesh, and its lusts, and it’s guaranteed to the believer in Jesus Christ!
For complete study notes and outline based off the Freedom Through the Cross book by L.L. Legters click here.
Click here to view the “flesh” and the new creation chart!
Filed in: The Cross