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.