I've been thinking about my spiritual journey lately. My walk with God hasn't always been easy and to be quite honest I still fall alot. I'm amazed by the battle between the flesh and the spirit and how so often the flesh is victorious. The flesh is such a powerful force and I see why the bible tells us to pray without ceasing. We can never get too comfortable. Just when you do bang! The flesh is back in full force, telling you "it's okay, just this one time, a little lie can't hurt, or are you going to let them get away with that!" All of the old bad habits that lie dormant when you're in the spirit are alive and kicking in the flesh. I'm frustrated how easily I can slide back into certain bad habits knowing the end result. In the midst of my decision my spiritual self is saying, "don't even think about it!." When I refuse to heed the warning that's when the big trouble begins. It may not appear as though a storm is brewing, and I may even rationalize that everything is just fine... but it isn't. The scriptures tell us you can't have any confidence in the flesh, is there a truer statement?
Funny thing is I always think I know my flesh pretty well. I know the many tricks, lies, and weaknesses that I can easily fall prey to and yet I still fall for them. I'm always left feeling awful afterward. My spirit feels dirty and at times I feel like I'm back to square one on my walk with God. There was a time when I was a slave to my flesh and I won't lie the flesh can be great fun, but the consequences not so much fun. The consequences way outlast the pleasures of the flesh. The flesh is momentary the spirit is eternal. Why is it so easy to risk our spiritual wellbeing for the lies of the flesh. I guess because we are born in total depravity. Without God we are helpless against the world and all its temptations.
Sometimes I feel like a complete failure on my walk with God, but then I remember how far God has brought me, how some of the destructive fleshly desires of the world no longer hold any appeal to me, and how I'm still a work in progress. When I began to really study the word it was like a light bulb came on. Everything I was on an endless quest to find was staring at me in the scriptures. I had an 'aha moment' Freedom wasn't in the world it was in the body of Christ. When I realized that I knew my life could never be the same. So, see now when I fail to resist the flesh my spiritual conscious cries out. Then I know it is time for me to cry out.
I read this verse last night in 2 Corinthians 7:10 about repentance that gave me goosebumps, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." The subsequent verses discuss how godly sorrow will produce earnestness, an eagerness to clear ourselves. Repentance is a gift! It is our confession to God and with it comes a new beginning a blank slate to start over in the spirit. When we cry out to God our tears and our confession is cleansing us from the guilt and shame that's festered because of our submission to the flesh. God knows we're going to stumble, does he expect us to be perfect? I don't think so. I think God wants us to strive to do better, to turn to him in our weakness. He said it perfectly to Paul when he said his grace will sustain us.
I won't go into detail, because there are some situations, that are well.. just personal. But it is something that has been a thorn in my side, and I've suffered the consequences from this thorn countless time. You would think I'd get it through my thick head already, but I didn't. The final consequence of this thorn has been so painful, so hurtful, and had been holding me captive to it's power. The end result was me being angry at myself, hurt, and this feeling of utter despair. I had to take a moment alone and fall on my knees in repentance. As I confessed and the tears rolled down a sense of calmness came over me and I knew God's presence was with me and he forgave me. Repentance is a gift it relieves us.
The flesh gives you it's deceitful pleasure for a short time and then leaves you high and dry, whereas the pleasure that comes from the Lord is eternal. The flesh is a liar that wants to separate us from our father. It wants to make us so shameful we couldn't possibly turn to God. How could a child of his be so bad? Then time passes and more time and before you know it the flesh has you in it's grip. Don't be slave to the flesh! Go to God, take off your mask, confess your sin and take away the power of the flesh! So much time is wasted carrying our burdens when we simply can hand them over to the Lord. He is the same today, tomorrow and yesterday, he is our father and never forsakes us even when we're at our worst. It has taken me a long time to learn this, but glad I'm learning.