The Flesh: Living Life Independently of Christ

Growing  yellow flower sprout

Why Do Christians Sin?

Last month we looked at Life Messages.  These are messages we received (good or bad) from situations and relationships about ourselves. We internalized these messages and formed beliefs and experienced feelings which affected our choices and relationships. Let’s take a look at the effects of those messages. Why do Christians sin?  It seems the harder I try to obey God’s Word, the more I experience?  This was the Apostle Paul’s experience as well.  “For that, which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate….”Romans 7:15-21.

The Flesh: Living Life Independently of Christ

Paul is talking about the Flesh.  The Flesh is the condition in which my focus is primarily on myself, in which I am living out of my own resources in order to cope with life, solve my problems, and meet my needs or, in other words, living life independently of Christ.   God created us with a need for an intimate personal relationship with Him. In this relationship He promises to meet our need for which our love, acceptance, security, adequacy and worth.  In the circumstances of our lives and our relationships with others we experience unmet needs, pain, fears, disappointments, and anger.  Often this causes confusion as to why we are experiencing pain and why God has not met our needs or healed our wounds.

The Effects of Flesh Wars

Flesh is a by-product of what happened to Adam in the Fall.  When Adam disobeyed God, he chose not to place his faith in God but in Satan.  Adam rejected the TRUTH and power of God’s Word and accepted Satan’s lies.  Enter the FLESH! When Adam sinned, he died spiritually and became a child of wrath. So the nature of the problem is functioning without God as the center of life. Using the soul, we develop a self-centered functional approach to life, where the mind and heart is set primarily on ourselves.  Patterns of thinking and feeling result in behaviors motivated to meet our needs and solve our problems. A defense strategy or battle plan develops to try to make life work for us.  Flesh tries to function in its own way.  Flesh responds by doing things based on our own understanding of circumstances, myself, others and God.  Apart from God, our needs remain unmet because the Flesh cannot interpret life or relationships according to God’s truth. The Flesh wars against the things of the Spirit.  In as much as the Flesh struggles for happiness and satisfaction, the effects are always the same: conflict and frustration. So how do we eliminate this conflict and frustration from our lives? As believers, we now have a choice to make: whether to live by the flesh or to live from the Spirit. Choosing to rely on Christ’s life is the only way to experience the abundant life He came to give.

Put to Death the Deeds of the Flesh and Live!

“So then brothers, we are debtors, not to flesh, to live according to the flesh.  For if you live by the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh you will live.”  Romans 8:12-13 As we continue to move through True Life’s Discipleship Counseling process, next month we will discuss how our “Concept of God” affects our relationship with Him.