The Fleshly Person
I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.
The spirit of the fleshly person is identical to that of the spiritual person. The fleshly person is a Christian, spiritually alive in Christ and declared righteous by God. But that's where the similarity ends. Instead of being directed by the Spirit, this believer chooses to follow the impulses of his flesh. As a result, his mind is occupied by carnal thoughts and his emotions are plagued by negative feelings. And though he is free to choose to walk after the Spirit and produce the fruit of the Spirit, he continues to involve himself in sinful activity by willfully walking after the flesh.
His physical body is a temple of God, but he is using it as an instrument of unrighteousness. He has the same troubling physical symptoms experienced by the natural person because he is not operating in the manner God created him to operate. He is not presenting his body to God as a living sacrifice. Since he yields to the flesh instead of crucifying it, the fleshly man is also subject to feelings of inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry, and doubt.
Several years ago I did some research to discover how many Christians are still the victims of their flesh. I asked the same question to 50 consecutive Christians who came to me to talk about problems in their lives: "How many of the following characteristics describe your life: inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry, and doubt:" Every one of the 50 answered, "All six." Here were 50 born-again, righteous children of God who were so bogged down by the flesh that they struggled with the same problems of self-doubt which inundate unbelivers who only live in the flesh.
If I asked you the same question, how would you answer? I imagine that many of you would admit that some or all of these six traits describe you. It is evident to me that a staggering number of believers are still confused about their spiritual identity in Christ and its implications for their daily lives. We are struggling with the behavior aspect of our growth because we are still struggling with the belief aspect of our growth: who we are in Christ.
Prayer: Father, help me live above my fleshly desires today by exercising my spiritual inheritance at every temptation.
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