For a Christian, the ultimate problem with the flesh is that it lusts against the Spirit [Gal 5:17]. The trouble is that you constantly struggle with yielding to the work of the Spirit of God in you while you battle with desires to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. You cannot do both. If you yield to the Spirit then you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. But if you give into the flesh, then you will not be walking in the Spirit. And we see from Rom 8:8, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
The flesh works on you in all kinds of ways. We will categorize some of these ways as physical appetites, emotions and limitations and self-will.
Physical Appetites – in the flesh you will deal with physical lusts [1 Pet 2:11] which are based upon self-gratification [Eph 2:3]. These manifest themselves as, among other things:
· Pleasure [2 Tim 3:4]
· Gluttony [Prov 23:21, 23:2]
· Drunkenness [Gal 5:21, Eph 5:18]
· Fornication [1 Cor 6:9, 6:13]
· Greed [Prov 21:26]
Physical Emotions – in the flesh, your emotions will mislead you and dominate your attention away from the Spirit of God. Christians are primarily plagued by these three:
· Depression [1 Ki 19:4]
· Discouragement [Num 21:4-5]
· Distress [Rom 8:35, making you feel separated from the love of God]
Physical Limitations – in the flesh, you can only do so much, but in the power of God and by the grace of God you are able to do so much more [Phil 4:13, 1 Cor 15:10] – the flesh gets you to quit far short of what you are capable of doing for the Lord’s glory by:
· Weariness [Gal 6:9]
· Laziness [Prov 26:13-16]
· Pain avoidance [2 Cor 11:23-28, Prov 31:3-7]
Self-will – the flesh wants its way and refuses to make any sacrifice to go God’s way – thus it manifests things against which God is absolutely opposed
· Idolatry [covetousness Col 3:5]
· Envy [Gal 5:21]
· Pride [Prov 6:17, 8:13]
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