Today's Manna

January 26, 2017
The Flesh
by Eric Doucet
Scripture Reading: Genesis 36

When the Bible speaks of "the flesh," it is referring to the part of man dominated by sin. The flesh is the carnal, unspiritual nature in man that cannot be brought into subjection to God. It is the controlling influence in unbelievers and can be the corrupting influence in the believer’s life if it is not put to death.

Esau is almost a perfect picture or type of the flesh in Scripture. He never once made a spiritual decision and never understood spiritual matters. He always gave in to his carnal desires regardless of the consequences. Esau lived for the here and now, disregarding the long-term consequences of his choices. Esau lived for himself, in rebellion to God, dominated by choices that led to immediate gratification without consideration for eternal consequences. Notice God's judgment of Esau's life:

Heb 12:16-17 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. (17) For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

As mentioned earlier, the flesh is the controlling force in an unbeliever's life. Of more concern to us, though, is that the flesh can be the corrupting influence in believers. That's why Paul wrote, "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish" (Gal 5:16-17).

The way to deal with the flesh is to put it to death (Rom 8:13-14) through the cross. Galatians 5:24 reads, "And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." This doesn't mean that the flesh is not active in believers, but it does mean that Jesus' death for our sin and His resurrection broke sin's power over us (Rom 6:6). As a result, we are now capable of walking in the Spirit, or yielding to the Holy Spirit's control in our lives, instead of being controlled by the flesh.

In other words, because of what Jesus has done for us, we are now capable of living lives that please Him. We don't have to give in to the desires of the flesh. Let us learn to appropriate the power of Christ in our lives to overcome the lusts of the flesh.

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