Battles of the Flesh
I genuinely enjoy food. I love to eat. For me, it is often about the experience of just sitting down to a nice meal, eating all of the deliciousness, and relaxing, relishing the flavors and textures while spending time with those I love and care about—laughing, talking and making memories. Unfortunately, sometimes I do eat just to eat, and I do indulge in moments of excess, and I am left with regrets like: No, I didn’t need another helping; Yes, I could have had just one dinner roll; No I didn’t like the feeling of being over-stuffed; Yes, I could have made a healthier food choice than peanut butter cups for a snack… And even though at times I distinctly dislike my food choices, I, more frequently than I care to admit, do again and again make the bad choice even though I know better and want to do it differently. It’s a flesh battle, and I know it.
Romans 7 talks about these kinds of battles—flesh battles, battles that involve making a sin choice over and over again when it’s not really the choice that we want to make, and yet, in spite of that, we do. Proverbs 26:11 gives a very disturbingly clear word picture of this battle: “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” If we are repeating a sin again and again, the Bible is clear that we are not walking in the Spirit but according to the flesh. Romans 8 speaks to this. Whatever our sin issues are that we keep coming back to—sharing gossip, telling lies, swearing, taking in pornography, being critical or judgmental, etc, we must allow the Spirit of God to put an end to them.
Paul lays it out clearly in Romans 8:13-15, admonishing and encouraging us: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’”
Today, let’s put to death the sinful flesh nature. Although we are under grace and we know that the Lord forgives us, let’s not take advantage of His grace; Paul strongly warns against this in Romans 6. Let’s instead allow the Spirit to do the work and let Him lead us into a closer relationship with the Father. This week, let’s take the time to read Romans 6, 7, and 8.
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