Fighting The Battle…Flesh or Spirit?

Before we begin today’s post on this Veteran’s Day I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all those who have served in our nation’s military, fighting to defend our country and the freedoms that God has given us in this great nation! Thanks also to their families and especially to those who have paid the ultimate price in sacrificing their lives for our nation and freedoms…THANK YOU SO MUCH! You’re in our prayers and thoughts not just today but always! 

(Galatians 5:16-18)

What are you giving in to and feeding…the flesh and its lusts or The Spirit. There is a battle for your soul. Christ has already paid the ultimate price to redeem you but you must willingly choose by faith in His grace to submit to Him and receive His gift.

This also means that when you receive Him as Savior you must walk with Him as Lord as the lusts of the flesh and the enemy will continue to battle against The Spirit in you (Galatians 5:16-18).

As Christ disciples, we continue to grow in faith by the same grace…HIS grace…to live out the power of The Spirit in us.

Which are you feeding in your choices, actions and relationships, even your motives and thoughts, which always precede choices and actions…is it the flesh or The Spirit?

Those of you who have been following these posts…first of all thank you and second, you will not find the following surprising at all. Here we find the Biblical concept of what I’ve been sharing throughout these posts when it comes to being a disciple of Christ and what that truly means.

Think about where you are when it comes to living for Christ, where our churches are with regard to holding people accountable for a moment-by-moment walk in which nothing in our lives is apart from Him…1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Luke 17:7-10.

Could it be that even though you are God’s child, you still think of your life as belonging to you? When you think of your life this way, then ministry is about stepping out of your life, giving God a little bit of your time, energy and money, and then stepping back into your life. In this way of thinking, ministry (discipleship…mine and added) is something separate from your daily life. It tends to be structured and scheduled by the leaders of your church, and you support it for a while with your own efforts. But behind this view of ministry (discipleship…mine and added) is the thought that your life still belongs to you, and you give moments of it to the Lord for His work…

The New Testament is quite clear in its call to us to understand that our lives no longer belong to us. We don’t own our physicality…our emotionality…our spirituality…our mentality…our psychology…our communicative abilities…our relationships…our gifts or experiences…even our own possessions in the deepest sense of what ownership means…

The New Testament does not teach a separation between life and ministry. Every dimension of your life is a forum for ministry. Marriage is ministry. Friendship is ministry. Parenting is ministry. Being a neighbor is ministry. The workplace is a place of ministry.

You have been called to represent a glorious Savior, who has graced you with everything you need to live with a ministry mentality.

(Paul David Trip, New Morning Mercies)

These Biblical Truths are why, as I teach, counsel and disciple, I nearly always make this statement…”You don’t first have a porn problem, or addiction problem, or money problem, or ________ (fill in the blank) problem. First and foremost, you have a God problem.”

How are we doing in this battle for lives and souls? How are you doing when it comes to living the life God called you to in Christ?

It’s good to attend church as we need teaching, fellowship and corporate worship… all part of God’s design and plan and we need to be a part of this. It’s good to give faithfully and generously as God commands, to help build up His Church and advance His Kingdom. It’s good to serve others in our families, churches and those in our communities and beyond to show compassion and care for them, reflecting God’s love for us. But this is not enough.

We must heed His Word to live out His free gift of salvation by dying to self, making Him first and wholeheartedly devoting our entire lives to Him. We must acknowledge His design and order for marriage and family as building blocks of His Bride and Family, The Church. We must build loving accountable relationships within His Body as disciples in obedience (love) making more disciples who will do more than just attend, give and serve.

A disciple is one who makes Christ Lord of every part of their life! How are we doing when it comes to His calling us to be His disciples and help others know Him as Savior and Lord so they can walk as His disciple in their marriage, family, relationships…in every part of their lives! This is what He has called us to and it must permeate every moment of our lives…nothing less. (Matthew 6:24; 22:37-38; Titus 2:11-12)

Practically then, what is your devotional life like? Are you spending time in God’s Word every day (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17)? Are you letting His Word fill you so that it overflows from you into others (Colossians 3:16)?

Are you in prayer every day, seeking The Father’s face and will…what He wants and desires (Psalm 27:8)? Is your prayer life all about you and what you want…or about knowing God more fully and allowing Him to have His way in and through you so others can know Christ as Savior and Lord (Philippians 2:12-13)?

Are you persevering in listening to and for Him so He can grow you and the Church in Christ (Ephesians 4:14-16)?

This battle that is the discipleship life (spiritual disciplines that create Godly loving relationships) must be a life surrendered to Christ and in so doing seeking His Kingdom and righteousness first and above all else (Matthew 6:33). The only true fulfillment in life is Christ in us as we die to our own selfish flesh and desires!

This battle is about seeking, finding and serving Christ as Lord, living as His servant so He can do all that He desires in and through us…no matter the cost. Every other “lord” in this life is simply a covering for satan being lord of our lives and ultimately demands our life from us. Jesus demands it as well but He gives it all back and more!

Jesus, as Lord, patiently and graciously offers Himself for us and allows us to choose to willingly submit our lives fully to Him. This is the True Life, the free life, found only in Him. You do have a Lord or lord. You are someone’s disciple. Do you know who that is? The only way to know Christ is through surrender, time in His Word, prayer and listening to Him. Are you spending time each day to know Him so He can reach others through you?

What is it that you are chasing after? What is your heart set on above all else? What drives you? What are the real priorities of your life?

God tells us very clearly that He must be the first and only Lord of our lives in and through Christ (Exodus 20:3; Mark 12:29; Philippians 2:9-11).

What does that look like? God has provided the answer to that as well…and as we worship Him alone and above all else, we will find Him and grow in our relationship with Him that will bless every other part of our lives!

He alone is worth seeking with all you are!  “…you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

We all know and love the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 but let’s consider what God has told us with regard to the fulfilling of that promise in vv. 12-13… “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

And Christ tells us plainly where to place our priorities… “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.” Matthew 6:33

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – A simple question but maybe not so simple answer…In every moment of every day, what are you chasing after?

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  2. What areas of the flesh make the battle most difficult for you? In other words, what desires of the flesh do you continue to give in to?
  3. What are you doing when it comes to spiritual disciplines in this battle…Bible study, prayer, quiet time, Godly fellowship and accountability?
  4. What steps do you need to take, i.e., disciplines to develop, to ensure that you are winning this battle in Christ and by His Spirit?