“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. 5:17)
The second accomplice of the devil working with the world to prevent us from walking in the Spirit is the flesh.
Although we have been born again and our spirit has been born from above, the sin nature still exists in our flesh to draw us away from the things of God.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)
The carnal man or flesh nature is of the world but the new man or spiritual nature is from God.
“As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” (1Cor. 15:48)
Until Jesus returns, and as long as we are in this body, we will always have the flesh nature to contend with.
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1Cor. 15:50)
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1Cor. 15:51)
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1Cor. 15:52)
Although we cannot escape the flesh while we are upon this earth, the Bible teaches us that we can weaken the flesh until he is not able to prevail in our lives.
THIS IS THE KEY TO WALKING IN THE SPIRIT.
The devil uses the world to entice the carnal man, and the carnal man then tries to draw us toward the world and away from God. The carnal man feeds on the things of the world.
If we can recognize the deceitful debate that the carnal mind offers before we allow him to feed on the world, then we can starve him from the world and weaken him to the point that we treat him as dead.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col. 3:5)
“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.” (Rom. 8:13)
The word “mortify” literally means to “count as dead” or “cause to die by starvation or abstinence”.
As the carnal man weakens, the new man gets stronger.
By studying what the Bible has to say about the fool (the carnal man) and the wise (the spiritual man), we can learn to recognize the reasonings of the carnal man that is in our flesh and resist him before he has an opportunity to feed on the ways of the world.
“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 14:1)
This is the basic nature and foundational belief of the flesh: that there is no God. From this stems all other subtle persuasions.
“Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.” (Prov. 27:22)
The carnal man will never change. If you could take the sin nature and grind it in a mortar with a pestle, you could not grind this belief out of him.
Your faith in God and Christ resides in your new nature born of God. Your sinful nature in your flesh has not changed. He still says there is no God.
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer. 13:23)
That is why psychiatrists, psychologists, behaviorists, and others can never change an individual by themselves.
It takes God to change a person by giving them a new nature to join with the Holy Spirit and war against the old nature to subdue it. You cannot change the sinful nature of man.
The carnal man says that there is no God. There is no God to help you. There is no God to love you. There is no God to hear you. There is no God to care. And so on, and so on, and so on.
He will try to get you to choose any other solution for your problems instead of trusting God.
You cannot rationalize with the old nature, you cannot persuade the old nature, and you cannot change the old nature.
As soon as you recognize the old nature is arguing against what you know to be right in your heart, the only answer is to resist and starve the old nature, fight him through the power of the Holy Spirit with the Word of God, turn and walk away.
The Bible tells in the Gospels that after the Holy Ghost descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted of the devil.
Each time He was tempted, He said “It is written.” Jesus didn’t argue, He didn’t debate, He didn’t justify, He simply said, “It is written” and then quoted the Word of God that was contrary to the temptation of the devil.
This was done for our example. This is how we defeat the flesh, the world, and the devil. “It is written.”
(TO BE CONTINUED)