Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die, but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God – Romans 8:12-14.
The Scripture used the word flesh in five ways. It may refer to (1) the body or physical being (2) the old nature or sin nature (3) the epidermis [skin]; (4) man’s immaterial nature or (5) the whole being of man. The flesh itself is not evil, yet the Apostle Paul uses it to represent humanity’s evil nature, which cannot please God. As Christians, we should glorify God in our physical bodies (flesh) as well as in our spirit, since both belong to God!
God created man from the dust of the ground, God breathed into the nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. He gave the man a free-will to do what he wanted to do. Because the man was created in holiness after the image of God he didn’t know or do evil until he and his wife disobeyed the instructions of God. Although God had given them instructions of what to or not do, man was created with a free-will.
Adam and Eve’s disobedience assisted Satan to be the god of this world (In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God should shine unto them – 2nd Corinthians 4:4. Prior to our acceptance of salvation, we were Satan’s child, we followed and submitted to his instructions. Sadly, to say many professing Christians are living double lives. They are trying to serve God and worship Satan, but they have to choose who they will serve, they can’t serve God and Satan.
The works of the flesh according to the Word of God is (Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, editions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkness, revellings, and such like of the which I tell you before, as I have also you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). We can’t be a true Christian if were practicing any of these behaviors.
Christians are not in a tug-of-war between the flesh and the Spirit. The Christian is led by the Spirit of God when he or she has yielded to Him to turn away from the flesh’s evil yearnings and cravings. We will either yield to God’s instructions or Satan’s, the choice is ours to either prepare ourselves for heaven or hell. Adultery is to be sexually active with someone else husband or wife. Fornication is sexual gratification without marriage. Uncleanness is sexual impurity such as oral sex. Lasciviousness is sexual excess. Idolatry is not just the worship of a graven image, but putting one’s chief affections on any object or person instead of on God. Witchcraft is sorcery, that is, tampering with the powers of evil, demonic, this also include dabbling in the occult. Variance is strife or discord. Emulations mean jealousy. Strife is selfish ambition. Seditions is dissensions, Heresies are nonconformity, dissidence, agnosticism, schism, secularism. Revellings means excessive eating, or gluttony as well as carousing, meaning to engage in a noisy drinking party.
Any of these behaviors are the works of the flesh and it will send the professing Christian to hell. The professing Christian must have a relationship with God and is willing to submit to the instructions of God’s written Word. The Bible must be read as well as studied with the intention of submission. God has empowered Christians with His Spirit to disengage from sinful behaviors. The reason why a lot Christians fall into sin is that they’re pouring more of the world’s ideas and desires rather than the Word of God. A persistent prayer life will also enable professing Christians to abstain from worldly actions. There is no way Christians can stay in contact with God and still have the desires of the world.
As professing Christians, the Fruit of the Spirit should be manifested in our behavior. Love is the willing, sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of another without thought of return. Joy is the gladness of heart no matter what may be going on in one’s life. Peace is the tranquility of mind, freeing one from worry and fear. Longsuffering is patience with others, the opposite of short temper, a disposition quietly bearing injury. Gentleness is kindness. Goodness is generosity. Faith is dependability on God as the Father that knows what is best for us. Meekness is a gentleness that is courtesy and consideration in one’s relationship with others. Temperance is self-control, that is, the ability to harness and control one’s passions and lusts.
As professing Christians, the flesh should not have any control over us, but the Spirit that lives within us should be in control!