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Conquering Your Flesh

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A lot of preachers today claim that their messages, all of them, can change your life. They say that to get you to buy what you just heard them preach. They are dealing with this issue or that issue or problem area of you life. But if that were so, then there are a thousand messages you have heard that should have, but didn’t change your life. The problem is that they never got to the core problem and went to the foundational issue.

This Word of God will do that. No message or word of man has the power to change your life, but the Word of God, if it is heard and received and believed and acted on, has the power to change your life, for that is how you get or got saved to begin with. It was because you heard the Word and you were brought to conviction and repentance and so were born again by the Word of God. 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” The power of God is in His Word. When that logos becomes rhema in our spirit, then the Spirit of God uses it to make a change and transformation in us.

We think, look I’m saved, I’m born again, I have the spirit of God in me, why do I keep sinning and doing the wrong thing, I just can’t seem to overcome my flesh. You can overcome the flesh and live in God’s abundance by walking in the spirit and not fulfilling he lusts of the flesh. How do you do that? We need to find our how to be led by the spirit and stop walking in the flesh and how to walk in life and victory.

The flesh is a way of thinking that leads to a bad decision that leads to failure. Failure doesn’t come from being in the flesh or being out of control in your emotions but failure comes from making bad decisions and bad decisions come from being in the flesh and from letting your emotions rule over you.

The enemy of our inheritance is not the devil, but the flesh. The devil doesn’t stop us from walking in the spirit and having what God wants us to have but our flesh. The flesh opposes the spirit and the spirit opposes the flesh. If you are not walking in your inheritance it is because you are not walking in the spirit, but in the flesh.

          John 6:63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The spirit quickens, it gives life. The flesh profits nothing. If the flesh profits nothing, if something, anything profits nothing then there is no benefit in doing it and that is not where we want to be or to be headed. Why do people walk in the flesh? It isn’t because they have too but because they choose to, especially if they have been redeemed. Most people walk in the flesh because they think it will accomplish something, or produce something. Why do people get angry? They think it will cause others to do what they want. They think it will get others to change their behavior or whatever. But the flesh profits nothing. The spirit is the words of God. To walk in the spirit is to walk in the Word of God. When you walk in the word, you walk in the spirit for the Word is spirit and life. And if you walk in the Word, you will not walk in the flesh and think and do that which will lead to failure, sin and that which is bad for you.

We are talking about a mindset. What you mind is set on and the basis for your thought life. We are also talking about a worldview. Do you think and see things in this world, in your life and circumstances through the filter of the Word of God or is it by what man say, by humanistic thinking, by modern psychology, by that which is convenient to you or that which you think will benefit you. Today society is being taught to think contrary to the Word of God, to think that they are not a creation of a loving God, to think that God shouldn’t be in our society because everyone doesn’t believe in God and that there are no moral or other absolutes. That way of thinking leads people to walk in the flesh and produce the lusts of the flesh and do that which is contrary to God and that which is life and to live in sin. So, let us start with some definitions.

Our spirit is that part of our being that is conscious of what is above us. It was created to be God conscious. Our soul is that part of our being that is conscious of that which is around us. Our flesh is that part of our being that is conscious of what is wrong with us, and what is in us. Our flesh is that part of our being that is what is in us, not what God has put in us, but what our emotions and that which we feel, see and hear or that which is on us.

There is a part of us that can be conscious of what is above us. What is above us but heaven, God and life. Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” It is where Jesus is “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21) and “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

Galatians 5:16-17This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil 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.” The flesh is at war against the spirit, and the spirit is at war against the flesh and they are fighting one another and you can’t do the things you want or desire and you can’t have what you want. The war between the flesh and sprit will keep you from having the things you wish, desire or that God wants you to have. So we have to put an end to the flesh.

The Bible doesn’t say battle your flesh, but crucify your flesh. Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Galatians 5:24-25 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” That means to walk in the power and by the leading of the Holy Spirit. What does the Spirit of God use to speak to you and lead you in making the right decisions? The Word of God. Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” What is that word you will hear, the spirit speaking to you God’s Word, bringing a verse to mind, causing your consciousness to be pricked because of the truth you know and what God has commanded you to do and how He has told us to live.

Look at this verse, Isaiah 42:16. “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” How does God do this? To bring one from darkness to light is by the revelation of God’s Word. Christ told Paul that he was sending him to preach the gospel to “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” (Acts 26:18). 2 Peter 1:19 puts it this way, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” That is because God’s word is the light. Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light.” The Word of God brings light into the mind. That which is contrary to the word of God is darkness and blindness of the mind. 2 Corinthians 4:4  brings these two things together. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

That thinking which is contrary to truth is thinking which is not according to truth or that which is a lie. Romans 3:4 says, “let God be true, but every man a liar.” Any thought that is contrary to truth is a lie. The truth of God’s Word is light. So any thinking that is contrary to the light of God’s Word is darkness. God’s Word is spirit and life and all thinking that is contrary to God’s Word is flesh and death.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” To walk after the Spirit is to walk under the authority and under the obedience of the Word. If you walk contrary to the Word you are walking according to the fleshly mind and that brings condemnation because you are in disobedience to the Word. Therefore, it continues, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” When you walk in the fleshly mind, you will make wrong decisions that lead to sin and sin leads to death.

Scripture says that you have to take up your cross daily, not fight your flesh daily and that is because the flesh tries to resurrect itself. Luke 9:23 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” What is your cross? Your cross is where your will, your desire, your thoughts are contrary to the thoughts, will and desire of God for your life. It is where your will and the will of God come into conflict and you have to do as Jesus when He walked as a man and pray, “Father… not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Why is this true? We can verify this with another scripture. Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So when we are following our ways, our thoughts, that is walking in the flesh because it is contrary to God’s ways and God’s thoughts which are given to us through His Word.

But you have to crucify your flesh once and for all. That is done by your coming to the cross and surrendering your life and identifying with His death, burial and resurrection, which is shown in baptism. Therein through baptism we tell the world that we have died to our self and living by our flesh, the ways that are contrary to God’s Word and now are a new creation in Christ Jesus and will walk according to His Word and His Spirit. You crucify your flesh by identifying the flesh to the simplest definition and then you won’t have to constantly battle it.

You won’t have to think, now does my flesh want to eat a piece of pie or whatever. At the simplest definition, the flesh is the opposite of the spirit. John 6:53-58Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”

So what is Jesus talking about here? This passage is twofold. In this passage there is an indirect application in communion, but in this context it is primarily speaking about His Word. Yes, we remember His life and death by partaking of the elements of communion and thereby identify with His sacrifice for us and come back to the cross and apply it to our lives.

But more importantly, Jesus was the Word become flesh, the living bread that came down from heaven and we live by Him by eating His Word and living by His Word, which is our heavenly manna. Jesus lived by the Father by living by His Word and so do we. John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge.”

Concerning us, in John 5:24, Jesus said Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” How do you pass from death and condemnation into life? By hearing the Word and believing His Word which means to live by His Word and allow it to influence and control our decisions. John 8:31-32 If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth is God’s Word is what sets us free from all lies and deceptions of the world and the devil and walking by His Word is what makes us His disciples. Walking in the flesh is walking contrary to God’s Word.

The words of Jesus are the spirit of God, walking in the spirit is walking in the Word. Walking in the flesh is walking contrary to the Word and it happens without thought because it is a mindset and that is why our minds must be renewed by the Word of God. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world:(don’t be made in the image of this word, to look and act like the world, we are to be conformed to the image of Christ) but be ye transformed (totally changed in nature so as to make fit for a totally new purpose so that your outward man looks like the inward spirit of Christ) by the renewing of your mind (by the living and abiding Word of God within), that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The only way to transform your mind and thinking is by filling it with the Word of God and walking according to the Word of God is the only way to prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God for your life.

I sinned, I fell, I blew it. Does that mean I was in the flesh? No. It’s being in the flesh that caused you to sin, to blow it. Being in the flesh is not an action, but a way of thinking.  It is a disease condition of the soul that leads to corrupt decisions and that is where failure comes from. The flesh is a way of thinking that leads to a decision against God’s Word that leads to bad decisions to being out of control in your emotions. Bad decisions come from being emotionally ruled instead of ruling over them, it is a way of thinking that opposed the Word and opposes righteousness. The flesh stays alive through a system of thoughts.

Therefore the flesh is crucified by taking thoughts captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Imaginations speaks of images in the mind and those images that come from worldly, carnal, ungodly thinking must be cast down because they are contrary to Christ. God said bring your thoughts into line with my Word, into obedience of His Word and that is what it is to bring them into the obedience of Christ. You can only do that by displacing incorrect thinking with the Word of God, by filling your mind with God’s Word that you will then walk and make decisions according to that Word.

That is what the word to Joshua was all about in Joshua 1:8. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” When you fill you mind with His Word, you meditate on His Word and it is in your heart, then you will speak it and do according to it and then you will have success because you will be walking according to the spirit and not the flesh.

Romans 8:4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Righteousness is fulfilled by the spirit, by walking in the spirit. Those in the flesh mind the things of the flesh and those in the spirit have their minds on the things of the Word. Romans 8:5-6For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally (worldly) minded is death; but to be spiritually (Word) minded is life and peace.” To be fleshly minded, carnally minded is death. The flesh is a way of thought, a way of thinking, of words that are contrary to the scripture and to Jesus.  It is not that the flesh wants this or that. It is a way of thinking that leads to immorality; that leads to lust and other works of the flesh. The words of the flesh lead to the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21. Lasciviousness is living without boundaries. This list of the works of the flesh, are the manifestations of a wrong way of thinking. The flesh is simply a wrong way of thinking, a wrong attitude of the mind, a wrong mindset.

The flesh is not thinking of lusting things. No the flesh produces lustful things. Lustful things are the fruit, the harvest of the flesh. The flesh is not thinking “that sin that I did, that will finish me off; that will doom me.” You wouldn’t think that that thought is the flesh talking to you, but that is what it is; because it is contrary to what the Word says. No sin or failure has to result in your ultimate doom. The word says God will remove our sins as far as the east is from the west when we repent of them. The Word says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). End of subject. God is faithful and just to forgive. Our part is to humble ourselves and repent of that sin and then change our way of thinking, that is the about face of repentance, so that we do not go back to that sin and continually walk in that sin we have repented of. It is done by a change of mind, a change of thinking. Repentance is first and foremost a change in attitude of the mind and therefore a change in direction.

When we think, “I don’t know if I will ever get over this sickness.” That is the flesh, not the spirit because it is not the Word of God. There is a difference between the manifestation of the flesh, the byproducts of the flesh and what it is. The sprit says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” and the flesh says, “If I just do this or that, or fast enough, I can do it myself.” I am not saying you shouldn’t fast, but fasting doesn’t crucify the flesh. Fasting can help put your mind on spiritual things and help you focus on spiritual things and to quiet the appetites of the body so you can feed on the Word to help renew your mind to the things of God.

The flesh’s appetite is fed by a wrong thought pattern that leads to fleshly actions and sin. “I don’t know if I can do this, if I can stop doing this, or get victory over that.” That is the flesh. The flesh opposes the sprit, which is the Word that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It is not I can do all things. That is also fleshly thinking that will bring us into condemnation before God because it is pride in our ability rather than faith in His ability to work in us and enable us to do it.

We cannot do what He asks in and of ourselves or by our flesh. We can only obey and do God’s will by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Yes, the Spirit of God can work and lead a new believer in that which is right, even though he or she doesn’t yet know the Word concerning something, but still can convict of God’s desire for us and lead us in the right way. Yes, but the problem is our thinking being by a worldly, humanistic mindset that has to be changed by the washing of the water of the Word, which bring sanctification, which is a process and doesn’t happen all at once. It is when we see ourselves in the mirror of the Word and see that we are doing something that God doesn’t want or not doing what He does, that we change our thinking in that area and ask the Lord to enable us to then do that which is right, but it begins with your changing your thinking so that it is according to His Word. Why? Because scripture tells us this about man, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). That is because you first think, then you do or act on what you think or meditate upon. You become according to your thinking. So you’re thinking and your life are either being conformed to the image of Christ by being conformed to His Word or you are being conformed to the image of Lucifer by your thinking more and more like the world and its ways.

James 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 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.” How are you tempted? In your mind! It is by thoughts of the mind that temptation comes. Then the question is, what do you do when a bad or evil thought comes. It isn’t the first look or first sight that is or causes lust and adultery in the mind, but the second look that continues to look and admire and think upon. No one ever robbed a bank or another person without thought and planning. It begins in the mind. No one lied without thought to try and conceal truth to protect themselves or whatever. What you think upon, you will move toward and then you will do it and sin and if you continue in it that continual sin will lead to spiritual death. It is that simple. You can loose your salvation. You once made a decision for Christ, okay, but that isn’t good enough. It isn’t where you begin the race but where you finish it. You must continually choose to follow Jesus. You still have a free will and many, like Demas, in love with the world and the things of the world, turned away from God and the ministry he was once a part of. Unconditional eternal security forgets your own free will which doesn’t change when you come to Christ. As I was told when I came to Jesus, try Jesus, if you don’t believe serving Him is better than your present life, you can always change your mind and walk away and take your old life back. Many have and when they walk in the flesh and according to its lusts; that leads to spiritual death as with the prodigal son. But yet, God in His great mercy; allows for repentance and restoration of the prodigal who turned away from His grace. That is grace beyond understanding and love I cannot comprehend.

Again, the flesh says I’m afraid, I can’t believe that, that isn’t going to work. That is the flesh. Your right, the flesh doesn’t believe anything but self. It only believes what it can see, touch, hear and smell. The flesh lives by its five senses and the flesh can’t please God.

Romans 8:7-8Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” The carnal, fleshly mind is hatred against God and the things of God and it cannot be subject to the Word of God. Why can’t you please God in the flesh? Because the flesh lives by what you see and if you live by what you see you can’t live by faith and without faith it is impossible to please God. Romans 10:17 “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” The opposite of faith is the flesh. Faith comes from hearing the word. Fear comes from hearing you flesh, something contrary to the word of God.

All depression is from listening to your flesh. Those who know who they are in Christ have crucified the flesh, that worldly, ungodly mindset and its affections and lusts. Those who walk in the righteousness of God have crucified the flesh. It’s a righteousness that comes from God versus that which comes from our flesh. As we think righteousness and know we are righteous in Christ; that causes the flesh to stay hidden.

How do you think righteousness? Righteousness becomes the filter of your mind. Nothing can go through your mind without asking righteousness decision. Every thought that comes into your head needs to stop at the registration desk and check in with righteousness and let righteousness decide whether to allow that thought in or not. That is how we must live to come to victory and becoming what God wants us to be, conformed to the image of Christ. Romans 8:19 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” The registration of your mind must be righteousness, God’s righteousness.

Remember your thought life controls your actions and the flesh is a way of thinking.  If you think the way God tells you to think, then you will see results and you will get victory over your flesh and its desires. The key is to take charge over your flesh by taking change over the fleshly thought life and mindset and bring it into the obedience of Christ. This is the key to a walking in the spirit.

Walking in the spirit first takes filling your mind with the Word of God and then prayer and learning to become sensitive to the spirit of God by practice and exercising your spirit and faith in everyday life.

Romans 8:9-10 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” We have to remember, that it must always begin with being born again of the spirit of God. The natural man, not born of the Spirit, cannot walk according to the Spirit of God, cannot be led by the Spirit of God, cannot have his mind renewed by the Spirit of God, which uses the Word of God to renew and cleanse the mind of the things of the world and the past life, when we come to Christ and walk with Him. But if you have come to Christ, you have come to the cross and put your faith in the finished works of Calvary and the blood of Jesus shed for your sin, then the Spirit of God comes into your life and that will bring life and righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:20 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

Those without the Spirit of God can only know the letter of the Word which is death. 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Without the life giving Spirit of God, there is no life and the Word of God is a dead book, words on a page for there is not revelation and understanding of the meaning of those words, so they are death and not life. The Spirit must first convict the sinner using the Word of God to bring them to repentance and then He can do His work of salvation and renewing of the spirit within man that makes us born-again. “… but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.;” (Titus 3:5).

We must begin with the Spirit by being born of the Spirit and then we must continue in the Spirit, allowing Him to renew our minds by His Word as we read and study and meditate upon it and then allowing Him to speak to us in our daily life and become sensitive to His leading that we know His voice and leading and then we will find a new level of success and victory in life and we think according to His Word and allow it to direct our decisions in life.

Bringing the words of God to Joshua we read earlier into the New Testament and summarizing this we do so with the words of James 1:22-15. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” It does no good to read or hear the Word if it goes in one ear and out the other and we do not hear, believe and then act according. When God’s Word shows us the way and rebukes something in our life, then we need to allow it to cleanse our lifestyle by cleansing and renewing our thinking. Then we will walk according to His Word and Spirit and be doers of the Word and receive the blessing of God. The one, who hears only, doesn’t receive the blessing and the inheritance, but the one who is a doer because He allows His thinking to be changed and conformed to the Word of God, which conforms us to the image of Christ.

In closing: Romans 8:12-14 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 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. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” You must walk as a son of God to be a son of God. To be a son is to come under the authority of your spiritual Father. To be a part of His kingdom, you have to be under the authority of the King. That is what sonship is about, not just confessing, “I am a son of God.” That doesn’t make you one any more than swimming or going fishing makes you a fish.

You are what you do, not what you claim by profession. If the Word is directing your life and decision, therefore your actions, then you are being led by the Spirit of God, for His Word is spirit and life (John 6:63-64). “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not.”

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