Winning the Battle of the Flesh
Do you know what it is like to be in a losing battle with your own body? I do…and I can tell you, it’s miserable.
There have been times in my life as a believer when I wanted with all my heart to behave one way, and my body seemed absolutely intent on doing exactly the opposite. Times when I desperately wanted to lose excess weight, yet kept on stuffing myself with every kind of unhealthy food I could get my hands on. Times, years ago, when I so longed to quit smoking that I threw my cigarettes out the car window…then turned the car around to go back and get them.
You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been there too. We call it the battle of the flesh.
“Oh yes, Brother Copeland. We have to fight our flesh constantly. It has an evil nature, the nature of the old man, you know, and it opposes the nature of God in us.”
Please excuse me for being blunt, but that is the most schizophrenic thing I’ve ever heard in my life. When we’re born again, we’re not half God and half devil. Jesus paid the price for our whole being on the cross—spirit, soul and body.
It bothers me when I hear a believer talk about his old, wicked, sinful, terrible flesh. We shouldn’t talk like that! Jesus allowed stripes to be laid on His back so that our flesh could be healed. Ephesians 5:29 says, “No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” You’re doing something unscriptural and unnatural in the sight of God when you begin to hate your own body.
We do have to crucify our flesh, or take dominion over it. And we train our flesh to obey God by practice (Hebrews 5:14). We practice training our flesh by obeying the Spirit and walking in the light of God’s Word. Galatians 5:16 reveals the key. It says when we walk in the spirit, we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh. It does not say to hate our flesh enough, and someday maybe it will settle down.
If you’re led by your spirit, there won’t be any need to impose law on your flesh because your spirit man has been reborn. He has no desire to break the law of God. He has been made the righteousness of God.
If you’ll develop your spirit man and put him in charge of your body, instead of being dominated by your body, eventually you’ll train that body to work with your spirit instead of against it. That’s the good news!
Speak the Word
“I am Christ’s. I crucify my flesh with its affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24)
Scripture Study: Galatians 5:16-18