One of my sisters was talking to me the other day and was saddened by the fact she ate two chocolate bars in a row. Not wanting her to feel too bad I told her about a day not long ago that after 10ish until 2ish in the am I consumed two chocolate bars, two chocolate puddings, a bag of sour candies, four black licorice, three sour candy canes, one Ah Caramel, one bowl of ice cream, and other goodies I don’t remember. Usually I don’t even eat after , but I fell way off the healthy bandwagon that night.
My body craved the junk food almost like I was a heroine addict. I HAD to have my chocolate fix! Normally I would just say ‘No’ but that night I was weak in spirit. Wow. Guess I’m only human after all. We all are. But we can’t run our lives that way for it only leads to our destruction- and I’m not just talking physically! We can also be affected mentally, emotionally and spiritually when we allow ourselves to live ‘in the flesh’ according to our body’s desires.
that ye no longer should live the rest of your time in flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will* of God. 1Pt. 4:2 ASV (*determination, choice, purpose, decree)
because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1Jh. ,17
Ever wonder why we spiral down sometimes and it’s so hard to rise out of the pit? It’s because we allow our flesh to rule our lives. Now usually it’s not as bad as my junk night, but it’s the many little things we give in to every day. Too tired to exercise, no time to read the Word or communicate with God, watch TV but can’t help a friend, eat that second piece of pie, another coffee, buy 30th pair of shoes or newest toy again, another hour on the internet, etc. No one thing is a problem, but we allow our bodily/ fleshly desires (cravings, longings, desire for forbidden- or unhealthy) to overwhelmingly rule our lives.
For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die. But if you through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. Rm. 8:13
I say, then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary to one another… Gl. 5:16,17
Can we continually deny ourselves without God’s help? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Php. ). In my experience, the more I am walking in the Spirit, the less I give in to the flesh, and it becomes easier to deny myself. “But I buffet my body, and lead it captive…” Paul says (1Cr. ). Why is it easier- here are my thoughts:
Potato chip reason- We might just start with one but we can’t stop there which often leads into a downward spiral and we won’t want that.
Good time reason- We’re having such a good time in God that we forget about some of the cravings and desires.
In love reason- We are so in love with God we don’t want to do anything that will muck up our relationship or come between us.
If we always live just to feed our own pleasures- desires- cravings instead of doing God’s will, we shall die, never experiencing the abundant life (Jh. 10:10) that Christ has and wants for us. But if we walk in the Spirit we will not complete or perform the lusts of our flesh. Here’s something that took me years to learn: denying these desires doesn’t diminish my life or my joy in life like I thought it would, but it actually removes the bondages I live in giving me the freedom and joy that come from being in the Spirit and being in unity with the Father, Son and Spirit. That is abundant life!!!
Lord of glory, thank You for showing us the way to freedom is to let go of our own yoke, and take up Yours which is easy and light. (Mt. 11:30)