by Dr. Charles Stanley
Monday July 5, 2004
InTouch Early Light Devotional
The Struggle of the Flesh
One of the most misunderstood concepts in the Christian life is the idea of "the flesh." What is it? How do we respond to it? Does it refer to just our bodies, or is there a deeper meaning?
Today's passage presents a bold, painfully honest picture of the results of living by the flesh. They include immorality, impurity, idolatry, anger, strife, dissensions, and other destructive consequences.
In contrast, a life moved and motivated by the Holy Spirit produces rich, ripe spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Which of these two lifestyles sounds more rewarding?
Many people desire the higher, spiritually-minded life and yet fall to fleshly sin time after time. They may cry, "I can't help it! My body is working against me!"
My friend, you must realize that when we talk about "the flesh," we are not simply talking about your physical body. Rather, "flesh" points to something deep inside of you, a carry-over from the old life of sin that was replaced by God's Spirit when you became a believer. Therefore, your "flesh" refers to the inherent, residual desire that leads you to act in ungodly ways.
Your flesh cannot be improved, disciplined, or changed. Instead, it must be completely replaced by your continual transformation toward Christ-likeness. Ask the Lord every day to make you more and more like Jesus. As He becomes the foundation of your life, your eyes will begin to move away from yourself and toward your true focus: your heavenly Father.
Are you looking for an outreach that will inspire your children to grow in their faith? Visit Teen Connection (www.teen-connection.info), the official teen outreach of In Touch Ministries. Be sure to check out the latest interviews with Atlanta Braves' pitcher Russ Ortiz and Dove award-winning band, downhere.
For free one-on-one mentoring online from Dr. Charles Stanley, visit