“What is the flesh?” you might ask.
There are times, when we just would rather not make the ‘love is patient and kind choice, or the ‘I believe God’s in control ‘choice or the ‘put on our breastplate of righteousness’ choice, ( because at moments like these we can’t even see what the right thing is because there is just way too much dirt flying around in our heads and heart. ) So, we make the choice to ‘flesh out’!
“Oh, I don’t know what you mean?” you might say! And since we are a human beings, the Bible, which is our ‘instruction manual’ tells us some little things about ourselves,
“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Gal. 5:17.
Why is it that we don’t do what we would wish to do? There is a battle going on!
So, we find ourselves at a fork in the road, at a moment of choice, and there are times when we just ‘don’t care’ about being careful, and we throw caution to the wind – but what then? If we could only see what that will do. If only we can see past our noses so to speak. If we could only remember,
“For to be carnally minded is death…” Romans 8:6. We aren’t THINKING! To be carnally minded or ‘fleshly’ minded is taking the wide path, the easy path, but there isn’t a sign at its entrance saying, ‘WARNING’ this is the ‘D’ Road, with a picture of skull and crossbones – this leads to discouragement, despair, defeat, depression, and death! There are no outside warning signs.
There is only a still small voice in the heart of one who has the Spirit of God abiding inside, (because there came a day in their life when they realized they just couldn’t live anymore on their own volition, and they surrendered their heart and their lives into the hands of God, through Jesus Christ His Son who died on the cross to set them free.)
And that still small wants to remind us , ” To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6.
“Think on things that are true,” Phil 4:8.
If the Holy Spirit were to stand at the entry of the narrow path in the fork in the road holding a sign, it would say, “Do hard things-and have a life of peace and joy.”
Two roads, a choice of the flesh or a choice of the Spirit. What are we to do? Romans 13:14 says plain and simple, (simple – not necessarily easy!) “Make no provision for the flesh.”
And this reminds me of a story. It is in Genesis 21. I remember reading this story and feeling that Abraham was cruel because, well, he had a son of the flesh so to speak because he , (I don’t like this part of the story but it is in there) , he listened to his wife, which in this case was not a good idea! We can’t blame Sarah totally, Abraham did follow through -anyway, Abraham had Ishmael, the son of the flesh with the bondwoman Hagar.
However it was Abraham’s son with Sarah who was the son of the Promise born according to the Spirit. (Sarah was 90 years old remember – this was quite the miracle.) This of course is Isaac.
Ishmael mocked Isaac. Do you see the picture? The flesh against the Spirit?Do you know what happened?
Gen. 21:10,Therefore she (Sarah) said to him, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” (Listen carefully to this next part, you will like it if you are a woman,) “But God said to Abraham, “…Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.Gen. 21:12.
Here comes the part I thought was cruel, “So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away.”Gen. 21:14.
Abraham sent his son of the flesh away with his mother with only a little water and bread and pointed them in the direction of the desert!
Now it makes sense to me – it is not cruel. It’s the picture for, “Make no provision for the flesh.” Starve the flesh! Point it toward the desert with just a little water and bread and send it away! No hugs, no delay, don’t pamper it – send it out with the provisions of a convict.
“Cast out the bondwoman and her son;”, “Make no provision for the flesh,” But how? Choose the road of the Spirit. Cast all those emotions, and thoughts, and desires, and feelings into the back seat, and let faith and careful thought take the wheel once again. “There’s no way,” you might say.
“With God all things are possible.”
So, if you don’t have a willing heart, ask Him to give you one. The narrow road in the fork in the road may seem hard, but after you have, ‘crucified the flesh with its passions and desires’ you will be set free.
I wish I could sing through these pages, but a song written by a missionary in Nicaragua reads like perfect prayer at this moment of struggle,
“Oh Lord forgive me, for what I’ve been.Please Lord, change me, my ways to mend.
You are my Savior, come down from above, please heal me, from this slavery to sin…
My Savior Jesus, You hung on that tree giving your blood, it was shed to set me free. O Lamb of God, it’s Your blood that washes me clean, You gave Your love, it was shed to
set me free. Set me free.”