"There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self." – Benjamin Franklin
When marriages get in trouble and one or both spouses start looking for an exit, I often hear, "I really didn’t know who I was marrying." That’s a true concern, and I'm sure that's only true for approximately 99.99% of all couples, and it’s not an excuse to bail. It's actually fairly easy to get to know your mate. It's a whole lot harder to be honest enough to get to know yourself, and to be humble enough to take responsibility for your flesh.
Carol is a counselor and a friend who helped my wife and me turn over a new leaf in our marriage. She has talked to so many people about their flesh that she’s identified numerous flesh patterns. Are you honest and humble enough to see which ones describe your natural bent?
- Performance flesh: The hard worker. Well-adjusted, aggressive, outgoing, positive, motivated, driven, take charge kind of person. Their motto is “Just do it,” and they often run over others to get stuff done.
- Religious flesh: The “Good Christian.” Passive, nice, sweet, obedient, dutiful, pious, sanctimonious. With a motto of “What would Jesus do?”, they are often legalistic and judgmental because other people don’t match their own religious achievements.
- Superior flesh: The “snob,” outwardly proud, defensive, conceited, know-it-all. They look down on other people because they’re not as bright or as wise as they are. Their motto is, “Nobody does it better.”
- Comfort flesh: The laid-back easy-going person, cautious, indecisive, unmotivated, and avoids conflict like the plague. Their motto is, “That’s not my job, someone else will take care of it.”
- Victim flesh: Negative, complaining, defeated, self-pitying. Their motto is “the world hates me.” They are often unforgiving and blaming.
- Caretaker flesh: The enabler, rescuer, fixer. Often obsessive, nagging, overlyresponsible, overly protective. Their motto is, “Look at all I’ve done for you.” They long to be needed.
- Pleaser flesh: The nice guy. Compliant, submissive, compromising, selfneglecting. Has a hard time saying no and says yes to too much in order to feel accepted. Their motto is, “I did it for love.”
- Indulgent flesh: The compulsive person. Obsessive, easy addicted, insatiable, thrill seeker, pleasure seeker. Their motto is, “If it feels good, do it.”
- Hostile flesh: The abusive antisocial person. Angry, domineering, vengeful, quick tempered, hateful. Their motto is, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” Their desire is to dominate and control, often to protect themselves.
Anything sound familiar? (If not, you probably have religious or superior flesh!)
Holy Spirit, You are the Great Counselor, and I need You now. I sincerely ask that You would make me honest and humble, that I might be able to identify and take responsibility for the patterns of my flesh. I want to walk with You. Lead me in the ways of Your love. Amen.
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