As Christians, we have a struggle that is ongoing. We have two natures. One is spiritual, the other is fleshly. This study is written to hopefully help others find some understanding of what our battle really is and how to come out a winner in Jesus.
All verses quoted are from the KJV with some paraphrased. All translations are taken from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and the Online Bible Greek and Hebrew Lexicon.
The Body, Soul, and Spirit
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, we learn that we are a body, a soul, and a spirit.
The body, our outer fleshly covering, without a mind or spirit is just a dead corpse. The body in itself does nothing but house the mind and spirit. The seat of all emotions, will, passions, intellect is the mind or our soul. Our spirit is where the divine things of God are manifest and live.
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Flesh - the flesh, denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God
Flesh-or as the symbol of what is external, or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties [physically or morally] and passions), or (specifically) a human being (as such):—carnal(-ly, +- ly minded), flesh([-ly]).
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
18 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedition’s, 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.
If we allow the works of the flesh or our carnal sensual mind to rule, we will not have the fruit of the Spirit manifesting through us. The kingdom of God is the fruit of the Spirit in us operating. It is the power of God over the flesh (our carnal mind) and the demons that try to control and tempt us to sin.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
I have heard man talk about the flesh in such loose terms that they have not grasped what the Lord is telling us. The flesh by definition means ruled by externals, or the senses, or by the carnal mind. The mind is external of the spirit. It is separate from the spirit. Its function is to not be a place full of thoughts; it is a place of decision as to what to yield too. The Word says that they that are Christ’s’ have crucified the flesh or better said have put to death the carnal mind with its lusts and passions. The Apostle Paul said that the carnal mind is enmity against God (Ro 8:7) and they that walk this way cannot please Him (Ro 8:8). Yet on the other side he does say that they that walk in the Spirit find life and peace (Ro 8:6). Our true life only comes as we yield to our spiritual nature. Yielding to our carnal nature displeases the Lord and brings death to us spiritually.
We know that the enemy always attacks the mind. He desires that we as Christians walk by our senses or carnal mind. Did he not attack Eve in the garden through her senses? She knew what was correct, yet she allowed the enemy to attack her through her carnal sensual nature. The fruit “looked” good. She lusted after those things, which are seen in the natural. She was ruled by her carnal nature. She pushed aside her spiritual nature when she chose to yield to the serpent’s suggestion (Gen 2). We are told that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but principalities and powers (Eph 6:12). Why is this so? Well if the serpent had not tempted Eve in the first place, she would not have sinned. The suggestion to go against the Lord came from the devil, not her. If we go to the root cause of the problems we face, we will find that the devil is behind them all. Sin is of the Devil (1 John 3:8). If the devil did not ever suggest to us to do or crave or want this or that, we would sin? If our mind is crucified, then we must have a mind of some one that we yield to otherwise we would be vegetables. It would be Christ if we yielded to Him, or it would be the devil if we yielded to him. We are told to “let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus”. Let implies a choice. If we have to choose then what do we choose from? There is our carnal mind, the mind of Christ, and the mind of the devil. Peter rebuked Jesus in disagreement when Jesus said that He would go to the cross and then would be raised the third day. Jesus said “Get thee behind thee satan thou savourest not the things that be of God but they that be of man. (Mat16:21-23). Peter was walking in his carnal mind in agreement with the devil or Jesus would not have rebuked the devil. Man has two natures, spiritual and carnal. God said that to be spiritually minded is life, to be carnally minded is death (Ro 8:6). The only way to win over the carnal mind is to yield to the spiritual mind. The whole idea of faith that God said that we must have to please Him, is that we walk by things which are unseen, not seen. It is very apparent then as to why the enemy wants us to be carnally minded and attacks us in those areas. When we yield to them, we will not possess the real life that God wants for us as life only comes as we please God in faith and walk by our spiritual nature. What is not of faith is sin (Ro 14:23). Since sin is of the devil and this sin takes us from walking in faith, then when we do sin our faith is killed and we please the devil and not the Lord.
Satan works on our carnal nature. He cannot enter into our godly spiritual nature, so all he can do is draw us away from it through temptations. Just like the serpent worked on Eve in the Garden of Eden, he works on us the same way. Satan has many spirits in this world that have one objective, to kill steal and destroy (John 8:32). As we act out these carnal sensual impulses we open ourselves up for demonic spirits to come into us and control us in the areas that we yield our members too. We are a servant to what we yield too (Ro 6:16). The key here is the word control. Satan is out to control us. When we sin, we have acted out a suggestion that the enemy suggested to our mind. At the beginning, it didn’t control us. Yet if we continually yield to this thought and act upon it, it becomes sin and if we continue in it, we may get to the place that it controls us. Once it controls us we have allowed a demon spirit to enter us in that area of control. God always gives to us a choice. Satan always is out to control us.
We are told that whatever is not of faith is sin (Ro 14:23). We cannot have faith to please God by walking by our carnal mind as it comes by the Spirit. Faith is one of the fruit of the Spirit. The word says that the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God neither can he know them, as they are foolishness to him (1 Cor 2:14). Faith to the carnal Christian is foolishness. Faith has us believe things which are not seen (Heb 11:1) and usually will make no sense to our carnal mind. Many try to drum up faith out of their carnality. Since faith comes by the spirit then they are unable to hold on and believe for things. God’s faith in your spirit is a knowing faith. You don’t have to work it up, you just have to yield to and agree with it. There is a major difference between the two. One is unsettled and the other is totally settled in us.
How do we win?
So how do we walk in the spirit? We must crucify or put to death these carnal desires. It is not our job so to speak to crucify our flesh. It is our job to yield to the Holy Spirit and be obedient to His words. As we do what He says, then little by little we gain victory. Often times most will try to fix themselves. Flesh has no power over flesh. It is not what we do that brings the change, it is what the Holy Spirit does as we yield to Him in obedience. If man could change self, he would never need a Savior or deliverer. There is only one way to do that. As we yield to the spirit man in us, the carnal nature dies out. If we allow our carnal nature to rule, our spiritual man dies out. What do we allow? Anything that we feed, so to speak, gains strength. As we feed our spirit man by doing things that draw us into the spirit, our spirit man gains power over the carnal nature. Likewise if we feed our carnal nature, it also gains power over our spiritual nature. God told us to not use our freedom for an occasion to the flesh (Galatians 5:13). Our freedom still gives us the ability to choose. God says don’t choose the carnal mind with this freedom as He knows that it will take us back into bondage. It gets down to whom we will allow to be Lord. Who do we choose to allow to rule us in our thoughts and actions? When we walk in the spirit, we still have a freedom of choice, though when we walk in our carnal mind we open a door for satan to attack and to rule, which takes away our ability to choose. We are told in Ephesians 6:12 that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. We war only against our mind, as we must cast down the imaginations that are keeping us from obedience to Christ. These imaginations are thoughts that have become a stronghold within our mind. These thoughts are untrue thoughts that oppose Gods Word or will for us. Once we learn to deal with the imaginations, the wrong thoughts already within our mind, we also must deal with the source of the wrong thoughts. When we war against the root cause of the problems, then the problems will go. Most try to war against the problems by their fleshly strength. They find that they cannot win that way. We are in a spiritual battle not a carnal one. We must use the weapons that are spiritual not carnal. (2 Cor 10:4).
The only way to win is to become a spiritual Christian instead of a carnal Christian. You must determine that you are going to walk by the spirit of God and not by your carnal mind. You must start doing those things that draw you into the spirit and into God’s presence. Here are some keys.
1. Be baptized in the Holy Ghost with speaking in tongues- Why? If you will read Jude 1:20, you will see that when we pray in the Holy Ghost (tongues), we will enter into our most holy faith. Faith pleases God. God rewards faith. Miracles happen when we walk in faith.
2. Spend time in prayer- as you commune with the Lord He will commune with you. We are told to draw near to God and then he will draw near to us (James 4:8). If you will develop your prayer times with God, He will teach you how to pray and what to pray for. Even when you do not know how to pray we are told that the Holy Ghost will pray through us (Ro 8:26:27). The Holy Ghost will teach you all things (John 14:26).
3. Praise and worship- God inhabits praise. He wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This is worship out of our spirit not out of our head. God is a spirit. To commune with God we must get on His level, a spiritual level.
4. Seek deliverance- all the areas in your life that have been controlling you may very well have a demonic spirit attached to them. If you cannot control something you think or do, see someone that knows the deliverance ministry for help. God can just deliver you with you and He alone, but He has anointed many in this area that know how to deal with the enemy, so you can be set free.
5. Study the Word- the Word is truth. When you know the truth you get set free. The enemy has suggested many things to us that we have accepted as truth because we did not know what God said about it. These lies may have become a stronghold in our mind that needs to be removed. Truth is the beginning. The devil hates truth, so at times you may find a struggle deep within as the demon spirit gets angry and worried as he knows his time is short. Truth is truth, regardless of how that you feel inside about it.
6. Cast down imaginations- (2 Cor 10:5) imaginations are thoughts, that are against the Lord. If you would research the word imaginations you would find that it goes all the way back to the Ten Commandments in that we are to have no other god before God. These imaginations are lies that we believe and walk in that are not the truth of God. As we bring our thought life into obedience to Christ, we have new freedom to yield to things of the Holy Spirit. Our thoughts in obedience to Christ means that we are walking in His mind which is only to do the will of God the Father, not our own will.
7. Learn to listen- listen to the still small voice in your spirit. As you gain a sensitivity to listening to your spirit. The inward voice, instead of the outward voices, you will find the Holy Spirit speaking to you often. He will teach, lead and guide you into all truth. Use the Word as a judge of what you hear. The Holy Spirit will not go against the written Word of God. He will tell you to do things that are not spelled out in the Word letter by letter, yet these unctions will not oppose the Word.
8. Come out from among them- be separate (2 Cor 6:17). The things that feed the carnal nature you will find will have less interest to you as you walk in the spirit. Television shows with the sex and violence, and all the demonic influence will no longer interest you. You will find that you find life in the things of the spirit instead of the carnal nature. You will find the greatest joy and peace that you have ever known. You cannot serve two masters, you must hate one and cleave to the other Mat 6:24). You will desire willingly to serve the things of the spirit once you know how beautiful that they are.
The Mind of Christ
So what is the mind of Christ? Jesus said that He came not to do His will but to do the will of the father that sent Him (John 5:30). He gave up His own mind. He laid down His life to do God’s will, not only in going to the cross when He suffered physical death, but also when He walked on earth. He said that He spoke and did what He saw the Father do (John 8:38). He laid down His life to do the will of God. If then we are Christ’s and have the same mind as He did in us, then we lay down our wills and own mind to do the will of God. The will of God comes through our walk in the spirit. Even though people do religious things they can be doing them out of their carnal nature and not by the spirit. Those are the religious ones that Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you”. He says this, as their works did not originate from the Spirit; they originated from the carnal mind. Jesus even on the Cross said, “Not my will but thine be done”, (Luke 22:42). This shows that Jesus still had a carnal mind, He just chose too not let it rule Him. He allowed the will of His Father to rule.
Copyright 2007 By Rick L. King
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