NKJV - 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
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Die to yourself, get alone, cry out and wait for God. Men cannot fight this battle. This battle is against Satan, Hell, and selfish sinful desires, against all the power of darkness in this world. This battle is not our own, and if the battle is not our own we can be sure God will not leave us to fight it alone. It says in Zechariah 12 that in that day the weakest among them shall be as David. And the house of David as God. And the LORD shall encompass about them, and He promises that in that day, He will destroy all our enemies round about us. We need God. Read Romans 7. Look at all the 'I's. Look and read closely, this is a man fighting in his own power and you can be sure if he does, he fights without his armor, without his sword and weapon, and without his captain. Surely, this man will be slain in battle. Now, come to the same conclusion as Paul, 'who shall deliver me from this body of death!' 'I thank God through Jesus Christ!' Now read into Romans 8. Notice how there is no 'I' any more, but it is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost. Saying 'but if you, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the of the body you shall live'. It's through the Spirit. It's by the power of God. God will get the glory for your victory, not you. Be sure of that. It says in Isaiah 30, 'Woe to the rebellious children'. Listen here, it says 'woe!' 'That take consul but not of me'. Come now, when was the last time we agonized in prayer before God before we came even here for answers... It says, 'that cover themselves with a covering but not of my Spirit; that they may add sin to sin!' We need God. And He promises to come to those who seek Him. Jesus Christ says 'repent!' 'Repent and believe the gospel'. Repent of dead works and believe His promise to come to you, to come and fight for you. He told the disciples, 'Go and wait at Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on High'. And this promise is for you and your children and for all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call!' Do we believe it? Do we wait for Him? Jesus would say, 'according to your faith be it into you'. We need to repent, we need to magnify our weakness before God, magnify our deep and utter insufficiency to accomplish this great task we have been honored with. We cannot bear the image of God to the world through our own power. Go back to Isaiah 30, 'Woe' it says, to them who go down to Egypt and do not ask at His mouth, to strengthen themselves in the strength of men and trust in their shadow. Repent we must. Paul agonized for the thorn in his flesh, and he prayed God to remove it from him. But God told him, 'my strength is made perfect in weakness' and Paul understands it this way, 'I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me'. Come to God. Get on your knees and declare your insufficiency, your weakness, your dependence, and wait for Him. Believe on His name. He will not leave us comfortless. Yet a little while, and He will come. Rest on one word: 'and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple' - Malachi 3:1 Even so come, lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
The key word in this verse to me is crucify. When Jesus was crucified, what happened? He willingly sacrificed himself and willingly endured the pain to pay the penalty for our sins. To crucify our flesh is for us to willingly sacrifice worldly desires and endure the pain of loss (perceived) in order to please Him. So how do we do so? We esteem Him above those worldly desires making the sacrifice less than our desire to please Him. When we do so, we cannot do otherwise.
1 John 1:8-10 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” Life as a Christian is a beautiful way to live because of the divine blessings and honor that comes from serving our Heavenly Father. However, we must remember that as committed to our faith and acceptance of Jesus Christ as we may be, we are still human beings capable of falling short of God’s glory. The Bible teaches us to confess our sins and to repent by turning away from the immoral temptations of this dark world. Each day that we continue to walk upon this earth the plight of spiritual warfare will continue as an invading force that hovers over us trying to break our holy foundation. God forewarned that our battle is not with mere man, but that it is against wicked powers of the air. Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” I have been a Christian for countless years, but whenever my guard is down my inner peace is subjected to a place of vulnerability. It is a tricky position to be in because regardless of living a devoted life serving Christ, there are still times when my spiritual walk is challenged by schemes of the devil; and instead of rebuking and fleeing temptation, I have fallen prey to the downfall of my flesh. I am a strong person with a genuine desire to live in righteousness, but there are moments when Satan will interfere, similar to the manner in which he did with Job. Proverbs 25:26 “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.” A few days ago I was telling a friend how happy and peaceful my life has been over the past four years. Literally moments later I found myself in a fight with a close relative. To my shock and horror, I had allowed her actions to incite my spirit to a point of physical combat. I decided to go home and immediately fell to my knees in prayer and repentance. I later apologized to my niece and asked for forgiveness simultaneous to forgiving her. After all, had I not gone over to her house in a confronting manner based on vicious gossip, the incident would never have transpired. As Christians, we both made peace with each other and were able to move forward. 2 Timothy 2:22-26 “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” I am humbly grateful that God is merciful with His forgiveness; as well as being extremely appreciative that He teaches us to forgive others during times of backsliding. I have learned that my fight with my niece did not have anything to do with her per se, but in a heated moment of weakness, we both were in a whirlwind of a spiritual battle caused by demonic forces. I also learned that all Christians should know how to effectively refrain from anger and a multitude of other negative factors which hinders spiritual growth. Even though none of us are perfect human beings, we were blessed with perfect love through Jesus Christ and should always call upon His love and the Holy Spirit to help guide our actions. We must choose eternal life in place of a life of fleshly sinfulness.
First of all let me say that it takes God to serve God, it's not by power nor by might but by the Spirit.... To crucify the flesh means to overcome its cravings, not yielding to its dictates, and how do we do that? The answer is in verse 16"... Walk in the Spirit so you will not fulfill the desires (cravings, dictates, passions) of the flesh." The way to overcome the craving and dictates of the lustful flesh is simply by walking in the Spirit. The fellowship with the Holy Spirit our teacher, guide and comforter gives us the needed strength or grace to be overcomers of the flesh. The flesh wars against the spirit, and the spirit wars against the flesh, all to gain ownership of our life in our soul. So just like two dogs fighting, the one you feed more will have enough strength to defeat the one starved. FEED YOUR SPIRIT MORE AND STARVE YOUR FLESH! And that's why the enemy fights to prevent you from that koinonia (fellowship) with the Holy Spirit. He does it through guilt, ignorance of who you are in Christ, and what Christ has purchased for you, through worries and worldly cares just to distract you. But they that know their God shall be strong and do exploits. Let's walk in the Spirit!
The short answer is: we don’t, because in Christ, we already have. Notice the tense that this is written in: And those who are Christ’s HAVE crucified the flesh with it’s passions and desires. I think it’s necessary that we understand two little terms that the New Testament writers refer to quite a lot, or simply assume. Those two terms are, ‘in Christ’ and ‘Christ in you’. When Jesus died for us, he died as our representative. In other words, He died our death. When He died, we died. When He was buried, we were buried. When He was raised by His Father to new life, so were we. When He was seated at his Father’s right hand, so were we. This is some of what it means to be ‘in Christ ‘. Christ in us is a reality because when we come to Jesus to receive His salvation, He gives us His Spirit to live out His life in us. He, Himself, is our new life. He doesn’t simply give more instructions on how to live differently. He gives us new life - a new Spirit, the Holy Spirit united (married) with our spirit. 1 Corinthians 1:30 might be helpful here: “...of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption...”. Of Him. In other words, it was God’s doing, not something we accomplish. The new identity that we have in Christ is characterized by resting in the fact that we have already died to sin, died to the law, and died to our old nature. Now we are alive because Jesus has united himself to us, in the person of the Holy Spirit, and now it’s ‘no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’.
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