In order to walk successfully as a Christian the flesh must be subdued. It is most important that the flesh be controlled, lest it control you. The flesh wants what it wants, when it wants it. The flesh screams “NOW!” and you feel the effects of it by way of discomfort, anxiety, restlessness and eagerness to satisfy it’s cravings. The flesh cannot stand to be uncomfortable. It wants the best, the largest, and it wants full cooperation. The flesh screams for heat when its cold and when its too hot; it has to have the biggest lobster in the tank. The flesh wants to follow the crowd. It loves to listen to explicit music and “twerk.’ It wants to watch movies that are loaded with sex swapping partners. At dinner time it wants to indulge in the finest cuisine, and drink the best champagne, afterwards the flesh is ready to smoke a cigarette, in order to top off the meal in pleasing satisfaction. When the flesh is strong, it’s ready for you to follow its lead.
What is the flesh?
The Greek word for “flesh” in the N.T. is “sarx,” a term that refers to the physical body. According to the Apostle Paul, ‘all parts of the body constitutes the flesh, which is dominated by sin to such a degree that wherever flesh is, all forms of sin are likewise present, and no good thing can live.’
The Bible makes it clear that humanity did not start out this way. The Book of Gen. says that humankind was originally created good and perfect, but due to the fall of Adam, all mankind suffer the consequence of sin, which is death. Of course this speaks of spiritual death and not a physical death. Adam and Eve suffered the sin consequences, which resulted in broken fellowship with God, and they were evicted from Eden’s Garden.
The Sin Nature
The Bible makes it clear that there is a spiritual and moral side to every person that is distinct from their physical body. Scripture also states that it is this component of a person, who has inherited what is call a ‘sin nature,’ that produces everything from white lies to murder. The fact being the reality of the sin nature is clearly seen in human behavior. The O.T. affirms that a sin nature exists in everyone (Jere. 17:9).
There is a story told of a man who once came to a preacher and said “You talk about how heavy sin is, but preacher, I don’t feel a thing. The preacher thought for a minute and then asked “If you put a 400 lb. weight on a corpse, do you think that he will feel it?”
SIN IS MUCH TOO HEAVY TO CARRY!
The Consequences of the Sin Nature
The first effect is that each and every person in born spiritually dead. They are devoid of any spiritual life or desire for the things of God. Jesus affirmed this condition by saying “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. You must be born again” (John 3:6-7).
A person without a spiritual life results in behavior that is hostile toward God. The Apostle Paul confirms, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is unable to do so” (Rom. 8:6-7). The final consequence is God’s wrath remains on those who are not born again (John 3:36), and so their destiny is one of judgment (Rev. 20:14-15).
To live according to the flesh is to have your mind set on the things of the flesh. The Christian life consists of mortifying the flesh of its earthly desires, and bringing the flesh into subjection. According to Galatians 5:19-21, the flesh manifest itself this way, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and like natures. “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if you live according to the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live (Rom. 8:13). The fact being that obeying the flesh always results in breaking God’s moral law. Furthermore, a person also becomes a slave to his/her fleshly nature (Rom. 6:16).
To mortify means to kill or subdue. In the biblical context, to mortify is to subdue the body through self-denial and discipline. Therefore mortification of sin or the flesh is to put to death the deeds of the body. Mortify sexual desires, impurity, passion, lust, evil desires, and covetousness (Col. 3:5).
There is a contrast between being heavenly minded and earthly minded. You were once in the world, walking according to the flesh, but now you’re in the Spirit. Because of this, put to death those things that were of the flesh. As you kill the flesh by not giving it what it wants, it will scream for what it wants, but as you reject the desires eventually it is subdued. It now is subject to you, this means that you are in control of your flesh.
This requires discipline The Bible makes it clear that the struggle is real, the flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit wars against the flesh. Christians have assurance that God will eventually bring success over the flesh (Phil. 1:6).
Overcoming the Flesh
The Bible provides a four- step process for overcoming the flesh and restoring oneself to a right relationship with God.
The mortification of sin and flesh in a word is sanctification, the process by which the Holy Spirit works in the lives of God’s adopted children to grow them and form them into the image of Jesus Christ. Sanctification which refers to holiness, it is God’s will for our lives, and it is the purpose to which He has called us (1 Thess. 4:3; Rom. 8:28-29).
The Good News is that sin has been defeated by the One who did not inherit a sin nature from earthly parents. Jesus being born of a virgin, and through His work on the cross, being sinless, satisfied God’s wrath for sinners and rose again to offer life to those devoid of the spiritual life. Christ provides a way of conquering the inherited sin nature and a victory that can be experienced both in this life and the next. It does not matter how bad off a person is, Jesus can defeat the sin that enslaves him. Victory is already won!
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
(1 Cor. 15:55 NIV)
Source: Got Questions.org / Pic. Virtouswoman_31
Additional Scripture References: 1 Cor. 9:27; Col. 3:8-10; Rom. 6:6; Gal. 5:24; Eph. 4:20-24