“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:16-17)
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:24)
The Bible teaches us that when we come to Christ and are born again, we become “…a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
God creates within us a new spirit, a new man, a new nature, born in His image, in the likeness of the Spirit of God.
He gives us new desires. He gives us a hunger for righteousness and holiness and a longing to please our Heavenly Father.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell within us, the Comforter sent by God helps alongside and empowers our new man to walk after and seek after those things which are right.
However, we still dwell in the same old fleshly body with the same old sin nature. And therein lies the war.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Rom. 7:18-19)
“Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Rom. 7:20-21)
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom. 7:22-23)
“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 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.” (Rom. 7:24-25)
The Apostle Paul says that it is God through Jesus Christ our Lord who shall deliver us in this war between the flesh and the spirit; however we seem to find ourselves many times taking two steps forward, yielding to temptation, and taking one step back.
The key to being an overcomer and winning the victory over the flesh is to walk in the Spirit.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16)
If walking in the Spirit is the key to victory, ignorance of knowing how to walk in the Spirit is the pathway to destruction.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…” (Hos. 4:6)
God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), but has promised that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled (Matt. 5:6).
The Lord has provided the answers in His Word to those who are willing to search, but like the parables that Jesus told, they are hidden to those who are without.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” (Prov. 25:2)
Since the Bible says that we shall reign as kings and priests with Christ, it is our honor to search out the hidden truths.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1Peter 5:8)
It has been said that a good general knows his enemy.
Our enemy is that old deceiver and liar, the devil. But he works with two associates to tempt us and keep us from the victory. These companions of the devil in his endeavors are the world and the flesh.
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
“Because the carnal mind (carnal: pertaining to the flesh or the body) is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7)
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1John 2:16)
When we become a Christian, the Bible teaches us that God has “…delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Col. 1:13)
Satan no longer has any direct power over you. He can no longer force you in any way to do his will. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that as far as the born again child of God is concerned, the devil has been paralyzed.
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” (Heb. 2:14)
The word in the Greek that is translated destroy in the King James Version literally means paralyzed.
That is why the Bible tells us in 1 Peter that the devil goes about as a “roaring lion” seeking “whom he may devour”.
Naturalists and the Bible tell us that it is the young lion that is quiet and stealthy as he sneaks up on his prey (Psalm 17:12). It is the old lion that is slow and weak and roars to frighten off the other predators so that he can eat the wounded prey that they have attacked.
Since the devil cannot physically attack you or stop you from serving the Lord, he works through the things and people of the world and through the flesh to tempt you to sin and wound yourself so that then he “may devour”.
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
The Bible says to “…resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7), but it also says to “…neither give place to the devil.” (Eph. 4:27)
The word translated “place” here in the King James Version literally means scabbard in the Greek. A scabbard is a covering or a place for a sword. The sword is ineffective when in the scabbard. The Bible says the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. (Eph. 6:17)
In order to be effectual in resisting the devil with the sword of the Spirit, we must first remove any “place” in our life that Satan may have gained through the world or the flesh, so that we may then be unencumbered to walk freely in the Spirit.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Heb. 12:1)
This is done by understanding the way that the devil uses the world and flesh together to deceive us and draw us into sin and iniquity.
The enemy’s goal is to wound us to the point of losing hope and faith, so that we give up and our sins become presumptuous to the point that we are unable to be used of God.
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” (Psalm 66:18)
“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Psalm 19:13)
“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2Ti 2:21)