The Spirit vs. The Flesh

While reading my Bible, I came across Romans chapter seven and chapter eight. In chapter seven, Paul identifies the two conflicting natures found in every believer. These conflicting forces are the sins of the flesh and the Holy Spirit that resides within us. In this short Bible study, I would like to identify the severity of the sins of the flesh and why we need to identify them. Then, I want to explain why at times we want to do good but come up short. Lastly, I would like to share the solution to this problem.

 

In the beginning, humanity was created and fell to sin (Genesis 3). When man fell, we were cursed and became a slave to sin from birth. In actuality, our own flesh is one of the three enemies to a believer (The world, The Flesh, and Spiritual Warfare). This is important to understand because as believers, we cannot change the influence of impact or the world, nor can we change the spiritual warfare going on in the background. However, we can fight against our flesh. Paul identifies the sins of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 as immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and other things like these. These things we can do something about. This is why Paul was highlighting them to his brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Paul identified with great humility that nothing good dwelled in his flesh and even at times when he was willing to do good, he did not (Romans 7:18-20). Paul was telling his fellow partakers of Christ that everyone will go through these struggles. If an apostle appointed by Christ Himself had struggled so would a new believer. Paul was identifying that we all have evil within us that can stop us from doing good, even if we wanted to do it. I believe this is important to understand because if we cannot keep this evil within us in check by defeating it, our very flesh will keep us from God’s very best.

 

This is not the end of Paul’s lesson though. He identified that Through Christ’s likeness to our sinful flesh and His sacrifice on the cross allowed Jesus to condemn sin to the flesh (Romans 8:3). What Paul was identifying is that those who have accepted Christ into their lives have become heirs to the kingdom of heaven. The same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead lives in us. From the time that we get baptized, our minds should be on things of the Spirit and not on things of the flesh. This is because those who set their minds of things of the flesh (the things identified in Galatians 5:19-21) set their minds on things of the flesh. However, for those who set their minds according to the Spirit can live in the Spirit.

 

If we try to fight about our flesh on our own, we will fail every time. I tried to fight against my PTSD and other struggles by myself and could not win. Just like many of you have tried to fight against your own personal sins of the flesh. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit that resides in us can allow us to fight and win these personal battles. Our minds are a very powerful thing. When we choose to have a different perspective and vision on where we want to be and who we want to be can be the deciding factor on the victory. This is why Paul stated that those who have the mindset of the flesh are doomed to death because they are hostile towards God (Romans 8:6). Only those with the mindset of the Spirit will have the strength to put death to the flesh, specifically the sins of the flesh (Romans 8:13). For those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God and receive the spirit of victory and freedom instead of the spirit of slavery that comes from our flesh.

 

This knowledge leads me to identify the message of this Bible study. We already have the power to fight against our flesh! It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit within us that can allow us to have victory over our flesh. Our anger, jealousy, envying, and addictions can be defeated! First, we must be able to identify our sins. Even those that we do not want to speak about because it will make us look or feel weak in front of others. Then, repent for them and truly give them to the Lord. Lastly, live by the Spirit and not the flesh. What I mean by this is to live a life worthy of the sacrifice of Christ. Like Paul, we will all fall short. However, for those who are heirs of the kingdom, we have a power within us that can raise people from the dead. It is with this power that we can fight and win against any of our personal evils. This blessing came from Jesus’ sacrifice and it gave us the spirit of victory!

 

So I pray today that if there is anyone out there that feels like they are fighting alone, please understand that you are not. I pray that you can understand that you have the Spirit of God right next to them wanting to be in their hearts and minds. It is only through this Spirit that we can become complete, fight against our personal issues, and have life everlasting. I pray for those who have been stuck in a life of bondage and defeat to accept Christ into their lives. A life of victory and joy is only a change of perspective away. I also pray for those who are already believers that are fighting against something they are having issues with to bring it to light. Identify it within yourselves and seek help. Together we are stronger! Amen.

 

Our Canadian Trip

I wanted to share with everyone a short clip of one of my family’s most memorable experiences in Canada. We were blessed to get blow up kayaks for a great price. We definitely got our money’s worth the first time we used them.

This is one of many videos that we will begin to share with everyone. Starting November 25th we will be heading to Rome. We will be world schooling our three remaining children at home while attempting to start an overseas outreach program across Europe for a couple of years.

So stay tuned for more updates and videos on my family’s journey to walk by faith and do what the Lord is calling us to do as a family.

If anyone has any insights on traveling abroad, please leave me a comment and some travel tips. God bless you all and I pray that our family can be a light as we continue traveling and sharing Christ’s love through our actions.

 

Being a Useful Servant

The life of the apostle Paul is a perfect example of the redemptive and transformative power of Jesus Christ. At first, Paul, a Jew among Jew’s was on the Damascus Road to hurt the disciples of Jesus and then faced the Lord himself (Acts 9). Once Jesus made himself known to Saul (Paul), Paul had no choice but to serve Him. Paul was able to experience the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ and from that point, his life would be changed forever. I think it is funny to know a little of Paul’s history because it made him perfectly equipped to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Paul had a deep understanding of the Jewish, Greek, and Roman culture. This made him a valuable tool for the Lord to use. You see, without Paul knowing it, God was grooming and equipping him to be His servant. I believe that this is important to understand before we begin to read our Scripture for today. By understanding where Paul came from will help the audience grasp a deeper understanding of not only how to understand this Scripture but how to apply it into their lives.

It is written, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 1:1-7, NASB).

In Paul’s introduction to the Roman church, he first identified himself as a “bond-servant” or “slave” to Jesus Christ. The Greek word used was “doulos” which cogitated a special servanthood to Yahweh. This term was used for the biblical characters of Moses, Joshua, Abraham, David, and the prophets. Paul was letting the church understand not only his position but his complete devotion to God. This is not the first time Paul referred to himself in this way, he did so in Galatians 1:10 and Titus 1:1. Paul did this because of his complete and full devotion to Jesus Christ.

Imagine living in a time where the term “slave” meant that a person was worth as much as an animal. Being a free man, Paul was showing the church his humility, obedience, and submission to Jesus Christ. Even though God set Paul aside from normal people, Paul did not see himself in a manner other than being a servant. There is a lot to learn from Paul’s position.

Paul knew that being a servant of Christ enables believers to be partakers of the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. To Paul, understanding this fact was a privilege but also his responsibility to share with the world. Since he experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ he could no longer sit still. He needed to share the Gospel of Christ until his last dying breath.

Many of you may be telling yourself “I do not have the anointing and calling of Paul.” However, I believe this statement is not true. God may not have called you to be an international missionary; however, He has been guiding your steps since the day you first took your breath. As God used Paul for whom he was, God wants to you each and every one of us today. Once a person accepts Christ into their hearts and minds, they are born again as a new creation. They become slaves to Christ! As slaves to Christ, there must be a certain amount of submission that is required. Your attitude, mindset, and actions must change for the better.

Since the old you is gone and your sins are forgiven, what is holding you back from being the useful servant that God wants you to be? So I will ask everyone here today some reflective questions to help guide you to become a useful servant. First, what is your attitude toward Christ? This may be a straightforward question but the reply to it will share with you your spiritual maturity. If Christ is at the center of everything you think and say, you can be useful. If you are distracted by things that challenged the old you, you have to let go and allow Jesus to take control of that aspect of your life. My second question is are you willing to obey and serve Christ? I get it, sharing your testimony with people or allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you can make you feel uncomfortable, and however, is the lack of willingness keeping you from your calling? Being a slave means that you will do things that will make you uncomfortable. Your life is not your own anymore. As a Christian, your life is no longer yours. Your life belongs to Jesus Christ. Have you felt uncomfortable lately? My last question is are you serving another master? I simply mean are you putting other things before serving Jesus?

As you reflect on your replies, only you can know if you have been a useful servant of Jesus Christ. This is something very important to learn from the apostle Paul. Paul lived a life that understood that we all cost Jesus too much to simply sit still. As we come to learn about Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we should be compelled to not only accept him but share the transformation that we have had in our lives through Him. As we become true servants for Christ can His Gospel continue to spread? If we sit still and grow stagnant, we start to lose the fruits of the Holy Spirit. So I challenge everyone reading this today to reflect if they are being a good servant.