The flesh [that the scriptures speak of so often] refers to a person’s entire physiology: their brain structure, their hormone production, their chemical responses to internal and external stimuli, everything down to their DNA. Every aspect of our natural being has been compromised and damaged by the sin from Adam and Eve, the sin of our entire heritage, and the sin of our own doing. Sin has corrupted human physiology so much, it is only by the intervention of God that we have even survived this far.
As Christians, our spirit (our spark of life, you might say) has been reignited by the power of Jesus Christ and by the price He paid upon the Cross for our sin. Our spirit has been revived, yet the physiological part of our existence has yet to receive the same transformation. Our physiology remains a broken lattice work that still produces desires that lead to sin… if we follow those desires to their fulfillment.
“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
~ Galatians 5:17
The battle that is waged within us is like a civil war, a light side against a dark side, holiness against wickedness; or like two twins with opposite natures in constant battle. There is a difference between the sides though: our spirit has access to the power of the Holy Spirit and His weapons which are not physiological in nature (2 Corinthians 10:4), but much greater. Our spirit must everyday, every moment, choose whether to fight by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, or to surrender to the powerful desires of our physiology that get stirred-up by our undisciplined internal thoughts, by our own body chemistry, and by external stimuli.
We can win every civil war battle, each battle’s outcome is based upon each choice we make: to dance with the Holy Spirit (“keep in step with the Spirit” ~ Galatians 5:25), or to dance with the desires that are created by our sin-damaged physiology.
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