For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members (Romans 7:22-23)
It’s not your husband. It’s not your wife or your children. It’s not your pastor of your Christian friends. It’s not even the devil. Eventually, you will realize that the biggest hinderance to your Christian walk is…you! The biggest frustration is the struggle with a nature that goes contrary to the desire you have to walk with God. The spirit is willing, but the flesh has a weakness and a need for the fulfillment of its own desires. We are built up of more than one part, and those parts fight with one another.
Today, we are going to dive into those parts, but here’s why: Right now, I believe we are in the midst of the greatest social conditioning experiment in history. We are literally being programmed on how to think, how to feel, and what to believe. Even as Christians, we are being conditioned to think and believe everything this deceitful world tells us, as if it is truer than the Word of God. In order not to comply (conform) to this world (Romans 12:2), we must be renewed in our minds. Our minds must be conditioned to tend toward the influence of the spirit, and not the influence of the flesh. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:12).
So, here’s what you’re made of:
The Flesh (body)
- We live in our bodies. This is our earth suit. It is what makes us conscious of the world around us. We see, hear, smell, feel and taste. This is the part of us that is drawn toward earthly, worldy stimulus.
- The job of the flesh is to serve as a slave to the spirit. It is to enact on this earth, the will of the spirit. The flesh is the part of us that is disallowed its own will. It must be shut down so that it can function solely in the will of the spirit (Romans 6:19)
The Soul (Mind, emotions, character, personality)
- We have a soul. It is the part of us that is self-conscious. It is self-aware. It is the result of one’s body being filled with one’s spirit. Genesis says it well in the creation. “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7). That word “creature” is the Hebrew word Nephesh, which means, “soul.”
- The job of the soul is to execute the will of either the flesh, or the spirit. This is the part of us that makes the decision on what we will do. When we are “moved” by the spirit, this is the part of us that moves.
- The soul is far more complex than merely a decision maker. It also houses emotions, memories (both good and bad), and the personality that results from those things. The saved soul is conscious of the redeemed spirit and will gravitate to its influence. The lost soul knows little of the spirit except those spiritual realities that exist in the lost (fear, unbelief, spiritual darkness).
The Spirit (The Spiritual World)
- We are spirits. We do not just have spirits, we are spirits. (Genesis 1:26-28). God created the spirits of Adam and Eve, at the same time. Their bodies had not yet been made. This part of us is conscious of the spirit world, whether good or bad.
- As unbelievers, this is the part of us that say, “There has to be more.” It is also the part of us that is aware of prevenient grace – “all the drawings of the Father; the desires after God, which, if we yield to them, increase more and more; –all that light wherewith the Son of God “enlighteneth every one that cometh into the world;” showing every man “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God”; –all the convictions which His Spirit, from time to time, works in every child of man–although it is true, the generality of men stifle them as soon as possible, and after a while forget, or at least deny, that they ever had them at all.” (Wesley). Also, see John 6:44.
- As Christians, this is the part of us that is drawn to God, both outwardly towards heaven (John 17:1), the awareness that we are in Him (John 17:21), and finally, the awareness of the presence of God within us (John 17:23).
- The function of the spirit is to lead in influence and strength, the existence of a person. “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).
The triunity of man can be corrupt, of it can be pure.
- Pure: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
- Corrupt: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
- How does one “cleanse themselves”? The soul makes a choice.
- But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law (Galatians 5:16-18).
- What do you think is the key action that must be taken to have spiritual strength?
- What has been the biggest challenge to your own spiritual growth?
- What processes do you think can be put in place, where the devil can just “set it and forget it”?
- Where do those processes live?