BIBLE READING: ROMANS 8:6-8; GALATIANS 5:19-21
NOW THE MIND OF THE FLESH (WHICH IS SENSE AND REASON WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT) IS DEATH (DEATH THAT COMPRISES ALL THE MISERIES ARISING FROM SIN, BOTH HERE AND HEREAFTER). BUT THE MIND OF THE (HOLY) SPIRIT IS LIFE AND (SOUL) PEACE (BOTH NOW AND FOREVER). (THAT IS) BECAUSE THE MIND OF THE FLESH (WITH ITS CARNAL THOUGHTS AND PURPOSES) IS HOSTILE TO GOD, FOR IT DOES NOT SUBMIT ITSELF TO GOD’S LAW; INDEED IT CANNOT. SO THEN THOSE WHO ARE LIVING THE LIFE OF THE FLESH) CATERING TO THE APPETITES AND IMPULSES OF THE CARNAL NATURE) CANNOT PLEASE OR SATISFY GOD, OR BE ACCEPTABLE TO HIM. (ROMANS 8:6-8 AMPC)
The flesh has many outlets and from the above scripture we can see it is hostile to God and cannot please Him. It is very important we understand this as we grow in our relationship with God. “OUR FLESH IS HOSTILE TO HIM AND CANNOT PLEASE HIM!!!!” . It is not God or the devil that makes the choice for us; God has given us the ability and responsibility to make our own choices and so we cannot blame God or the devil for the consequences of our actions.
When we make the wrong choices, we have chosen to be controlled by the mind of the flesh and that is why the choice we make is said to be “ a sin or wrong” because it is hostile to God’s laws and of course will eventually bring chaos in our lives. I know some of you will say, everyone makes wrong choices sometimes, yes this is true and I make them too but the important thing to know is, the more we study the Word and get closer to God, the less of these wrong choices we will make. At the back of my mind, I know that when I make a wrong choice, I should not blame anyone for the choice I made but myself and so this helps me go to God whenever I find myself struggling to do the right thing.
Most of the time, if the truth be told, we know the right choice to make, but the pull to do the wrong thing sometimes is so strong that we succumb to it. Knowing that every time we make a choice, we are choosing to be a friend or an enemy to God who helps us to do the right thing even when doing the wrong thing is so appealing.
I think it is important here to remind us what the sins of the flesh are and how they are manifested in man. Paul in his letter to the Galatians listed them out so that none of us can be mistaken. In Galatians 5:19-21 (AMPC), Paul writing to the Galatians says “Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (Obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (fractions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
To know if you are in the flesh, you have to ask yourself truthfully if you are doing any of these things. The presence of just one of these things proves the existence of the flesh in us. Our duty is to be truthful to ourselves by acknowledging where we are falling short and with the help of the Holy Spirit begin to deal with this (these) shortcoming(s). The devil makes us believe some sins are less sinful and others more defiling, but Paul tells us, all these sins are manifestations of the flesh and remember, the flesh is an enemy to God.
Yes, you might not be struggling with adultery and fornication, but what about envy (gossip), strife, anger, an unforgiving spirit; all these are manifestations of the flesh. Just because you are exhibiting the so called “less defiling” sins does not make you superior to those struggling with the so called “more defiling” sins. All of these sins are fruits from the same tree; the flesh, so the sooner you begin to see sin as sin, the better for you.
A Christian is someone who sees the sinfulness of his sin because the Holy Spirit in him convinces and convicts him of his sin. To a Christian, a “white lie” is a sin and he sees no difference between murder and a “little white lie” and blames himself for his sin, not God, the devil or anyone else.
Brethren, let us look inward, bow and kneel before God and ask the Holy Spirit to convince and convict us of the “little foxes” we are unaware of in our lives.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate our lives so we see ourselves, for who we really are, not who we pretend to be (Some of us have been pretending for so long we have gotten used to living a lie). I try to do this spiritual check up as often as possible so that my attention is called to things I need to correct in my life. The reason the Bible says if we think we have no sin we deceive ourselves, is because it is true!!! Everyday we fall short but our falling short becomes a victory when we recognise we have fallen short and this drives us into God’s merciful hands as we repent and ask for His mercy. As we ask, may the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth about ourselves in the mighty name of Jesus (Amen).
– Pastor Tinu Olashore