Flesh or Spirit

Like Peter we don’t understand the need for spiritual cleansing (John 13:5-10); nor do we like to be asked by the Lord “do you love Me?”, not once but multiple times! Jesus did this to remind Peter to do what He has commanded because he loves Him and was committed to Him; not because it is what is expected! This in turn caused Peter to grieve and allow him to realize that Jesus did see what was in man’s heart (John 21:15-17; 2:24-25). Like Paul we have struggled with the flesh, the world, and the enemy. While he was hating the struggle he asked God why he had to (Romans 7:14-25; 2 Cor 12:7-10)! Through the struggle, they both strived and endured to finish the race well (Heb 12:1; Php 3:12-22)!

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” John 13:8

But Jesus on His part did not entrust himself to them, because He knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for He Himself knew what was in man. –John 2:24-25

So with this being said I would like our minds to be on spiritual cleansing and self-control!! Let’s ask the Lord to teach us through the Holy Spirit and His Word, as we seek Truth on what is written.

As I ponder the words and phrases such as flesh, cleansing, taking thoughts captive, self-control, discipline and walking in the Spirit, this came to mind: When we try to control others and the circumstances around us, the harder it is to have self control.” I also thought to myself, Sometimes as believers we get busy pointing out flesh or the wrong in others that our own flesh and walk with the Lord is not being examined. O’ how our flesh likes to point out flesh, but I want to continually walk out the Truth that Spirit bears witness to Spirit.”( Rom 8:12-17)

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. -Romans 8:16-17

Why can’t we focus on the working out of our own salvation? (Read Chapter 2 of Philippians) Because when we get distracted and don’t do this; the flesh, the world, and the enemy can creep in. Thoughts will run rampant until we realize it is harder and harder to take each one captive (2 Cor 10:3-7). With each one that isn’t dealt with through the Holy Spirit and Truth, we can totally miss it! We can so easily give the enemy an opportunity (Eph 4:26-32)! Each opportunity given to him (yes, I said GIVEN to him) can lead to disobedience instead of obedience. In turn, we see a hinderance in our walk where we are not experiencing mind renewal and transformation that is pleasing and acceptable to God (Rom 12:1-2)! When control is relinquished or surrendered to Jesus; the faith that is demonstrated from releasing control and entrusting it to our Lord and Savior, produces self-control (Luke 9:62; 10:38-52). Not from our own doing but from Him working in us and through us (Eph 2:8-9; James 2:14-26)!

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” -Luke 9:62

Therefore, when the Holy Spirit illuminates self-control in us to others and towards circumstances, it allows for freedom and hope to take over (John 8:31-38). Through that take over of the fruit of the Spirit, light exposes those other individuals and circumstances to us, and we realize they don’t need us they need the Truth and the Lord (Titus 2; 2 Tim 2:15, 21-26; Jude 17-23)! The only self-help I’ll promote is self-control and self-discipline in prayer and in the Word! If we don’t discipline ourselves to abide with the Lord, then we walk in the flesh and not in the Spirit (Rom 8:1-11; 1 Cor 3:1-3). If we are not walking in the Spirit we don’t have the fruit of self-control. Through the Spirit we experience life and peace.

But I , brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with mild, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not  yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? -1 Corinthians 3:1-3

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. -Romans 8:6-9

If you are not experiencing life and peace, I encourage you to turn to the Word and allow it’s sharp edges to cut away at that flesh. To allow God’s Holy Word (2 Tim 3:16-17) to cut sin away and sanctify us (Heb 4:11-13; John 17:17). I have to remind myself of this daily (Gal 2:20; Luke 9:23)! This is where discipline comes in!! Self-discipline to crucify the flesh! To communicate with the Lord each day, and allow Him to work in us through the Word to expose any darkness and then REPENT and “go and sin no more” (Rev 3:19; John 8:11)! Don’t let the flesh, the world, or the enemy have any room! That room is taking up space that isn’t filled with the Spirit! Then we are not being utilized as He wants us to be, we are not aligned to His will in our lives!

I don’t know about you but this is my hope and motivation, to be in continual alignment and fellowship with the Lord…that my will is transformed to line up with His! Through that humble stature of a godly, repentant heart (Ps 51), fellowship is restored to the Lord and now you have allowed Him to reveal and work!

I encourage us all as the Body, to not just be satisfied with sonship but want more of Him by hungering for continual fellowship!! Through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection we are promised the hope of salvation; in which I am so grateful for His grace (John 1:16-17; 2 Cor 12:7-10)!! I am so grateful, in fact, that I want more of Him now!!

The last devotion I wrote on iron friends.  If what is written  a struggle, call on an iron friend (Pro 27:17). Simone who will get into the Word and pray with you! Let us have communion together with our Lord and Savior; He has prepared a table for us all to join (Rev 3:20)! I yearn with you all for His blessed, hopeful return; were there will not be a struggle anymore! And we will be called “the one who conquers” from the letters to the churches of Revelation in chapter 2 and 3. But we can experience so much of Him right NOW!! Once you have tasted the goodness He has offered, you want nothing else (Psalm 34 and 23)!

If you want to take this devotion a step further and make it into a Bible study:

Take each scripture that is mentioned in the parentheses and make time (be disciplined) in looking them up, read them, munch on them or ponder, write them out and circle keywords that stick out, if something doesn’t make sense ask the Holy Spirit to teach, and then pray them! After this is done expect to see opportunities to walk them out tangibly in your life! Can not wait to hear the testimonies of how Good God is; because no matter what, He is!

More Scripture (you can never have too much!!)

Jer 29:12  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

Jer 29:13  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

1Th 4:7  For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.

1Th 4:8  Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Gal 5:24  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Gal 5:25  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?

Rom 6:2  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Rom 6:3  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Rom 6:4  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

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