The Flesh and the Spirit
By: Rick L. King
October 31, 2012
We hear the term being in the flesh all the time, but what does this really mean? Is this a good or bad thing? What is God’s view on this?
There are many scriptures in the Bible concerning this area. This is something that all Christians need to understand and learn Gods way of dealing with it. Hopefully this article will shed some new light on what this really means and how God reacts to this.
Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
The word “flesh” in the Greek means:
1. the sensuous nature of man, "the animal nature"
2. the flesh, denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God
When a person is walking in the flesh, then according to definition he is walking opposed to God as he is prone to sin as Gods divine nature is not working in and through him.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Above are the works of the flesh. These are things that mankind does while walking by his flesh. It is easy to see that there is no divine influence at all. The opposite is walking in the Spirit. Verses 22 and 23 show a distinct contrast between the flesh and the spirit.
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
We are told to walk in the spirit as then and only then the flesh is no longer a problem. It is obvious why God is not pleased with a person that walks by the flesh.
After a person is saved, God gives to them His Holy Spirit. Man has a choice now. Even though he has lived his old life by his flesh, satisfying its cravings and lusts, he is given an opportunity to live by the Spirit. It is a choice that he must daily make. The world and the devil has brainwashed many into believing that satisfying the flesh is true life. This is far from true. It is actually a lie from the pit. We are told:
2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
God tells us in the above scripture that it is the “Spirit” that gives life, not the flesh. So obviously believing that the flesh is life is a lie. We are told:
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
This truth will set a person free. We can believe the lie or the truth as it is our choice.
Walking by our flesh causes us so many problems and keeps us from living in the joy and freedom that comes from walking in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 above is a real key to victory. You can be walking in either, not both at the same time. If you walk in the spirit then you are not walking in the flesh. Also if you walk by your flesh, then you cannot walk in the spirit. Sure there are times that we all walk in the spirit and the same day walk in the flesh. The reason this happens is because we have not fully died to self. We have not totally let go of our fleshly control. Our flesh has a very self fulfilling appetite. It wants what it wants and is not temporarily happy till it gets it. The problem is that it is never lasting. It just goes and wants something else thinking this will make it happy or fulfilled. The problem is the flesh is never satisfied. It is only when we get into the spirit and allow Him total control over our lives that we can find true fulfillment.
Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Here lies the real problem. Many have gotten saved but have never really tasted of the Lord. They have not been in His presence. They have not experienced His love for them. They read about it in the Bible but have never experienced it. I have learned that once a person experiences being engulfed in God’s presence that from then on nothing else will even come close to causing them to be complete or satisfied. In His presence there is a peace, a joy, a freedom, strength, and the knowing His love, that can never come from any other source. Sure there are many substitutes given to us by the devil. Many walk in the substitute as they have never experienced the real. The real is glorious. The substitute always leaves you wanting something more as it is only temporal satisfaction.
Much of the church still preaches that we are to feed our fleshly desires. It tells us to do this or that. The real message is that we must die to the flesh and not feed it. The real truth is that we need to learn to walk in the Spirit and surrender our lives totally to the Holy Spirit. This is the only place that we can find real peace and victory. If our focus becomes how may I please the Lord and how may I become intimate with Him through His Spirit, then we are on the right track to a new powerful and glorious life in Jesus. If we keep trying to fix self we will never win. Scripture says:
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for too will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
In the flesh dwells no good thing! So if this is true, which it has to as it is God’s Word, then how can no good thing fix no good thing? It can’t! Only God by His Spirit can fix us. Only God by His Spirit can change us into the real person that He ordained for us to be. We must surrender to His Holy Spirit and give up our control over our lives if we want to be what He wants for us to be. As long as we are in control, he can’t be.
So how deep does this really go? Look at:
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
This is getting down to the real basics of life and God says to not even think about them. Thinking about them causes us to get into the flesh which cannot please God. When we are in the Spirit and in His presence something really beautiful happens. We are not concerned about anything other than pleasing and loving Him. This tells us when we are in the flesh or in the spirit. God says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. He says that when we do this that HE will take care of all the things needed of this world. This really makes us wonder as He wants us to trust him alone, not self, for our basic needs. I have learned over the years that He will do just what He says. If I put Him first and not be concerned about all the “stuff” of this world that HE will always take care of me. I had to learn to trust in Him alone for everything and not in myself.
Isaiah 30 and 31 really should make us think. God tells us that when we trust in our flesh or in man instead of His Holy Spirit that we are in rebellion. It is rebellion when we think we should be in control and not God. We are actually in agreement with the devil when we do this. He wanted to be God. He wanted to run things. On down in the passages Isaiah says: In returning and rest shall ye be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength, and ye would not (rebellion). God then says: therefore shall I wait. He waits till we come back to Him and allow Him to run things. He will let us run things and make a big mess of our lives as we must come to the realization that our ways just do not work. They just do not bring us peace, joy, and fulfillment. So while we are running things, God is waiting. He waits till we return to Him and then He pours blessings upon us. Not until we give up does He do this. Read the full chapters of Isaiah 30 and 31. They are a real eye opener.
Being in the flesh cannot please God as there is no good fruit of the Spirit. The flesh is all about self. The Spirit is all about others and pleasing God.
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
You see what that says? The flesh profits NOTHING! No wonder God is not pleased when we walk by our flesh. We are to be vessels for His Glory and to bring the Kingdom of God down to earth. In our flesh this can never happen.
God not only saves us but also gives to us power to become the sons of God. God will fill us with His Holy Spirit if we ask Him too. We then will have power to walk, pray, praise, minister, teach, and preach. It will become the Holy Spirit working in and through us. This power is what touches the world. This power is what will bring others to salvation, see them be healed and delivered, and cause them to become the sons of God.
I love this scripture and have learned that this is the most important truth that I have learned. Zachariah 4:6 says…Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord. If we could realize that everything we do as a Christian is really vain if we do it in our own power and might and that we need to walk in His power and be led by the Holy Spirit so His will can be done on earth. Church, nothing else matters. He is Savior to many, it is time to make Him Lord of our lives and allow Him alone to run our lives by His Holy Spirit however He chooses. This will bring Gods kingdom on earth. It is the only hope that mankind has.
Mt 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Mr 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
Lu 9:24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Lu 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Saving your life is all flesh. Losing your life is giving up all control and surrendering to His Lordship and allowing Him to run your life as He sees fit.