The Flesh and How to Overcome It

Last post we looked at one of the three enemies that we have in our walk of faith: the devil, flesh and world.  

If you missed the post discussing the devil as our enemy, make sure you check that out here.

Our Enemy the Devil and how to Overcome Him

In this post we are going to look at the flesh.  The flesh is just a word we use to describe our bodies.  Our bodies aren’t the real us, they’re just as one minister used to say, “our earth suits”.  

You need a space suit to be in space, a wet suit to be in the arctic ocean and need an earth suit for your spiritual body to live on the earth.  

Once your earth suit gets damaged or wears out, you’re gone from this world and present with the Lord.

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV

The problem with our flesh is that it hasn’t been renewed like our spirits have…yet.

Quick Recap – Keeping the Devil Away

  1. Submit to God. Do what God wants you to do in every situation. 
  2. Draw near to God.
  3. THEN Resist the devil.

Enemy #2: The Flesh

The next enemy that you’re going to face in this life is the flesh.  

Our flesh as Christians is not renewed like our spirits are.  

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

This is talking about spiritual things because that’s the true you, but the flesh still has all the same desires as before. 

Paul puts it this way in Romans…

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 7:23 KJV

This “law of sin which is in my members” is inside of his flesh.  

Here are the steps to overcoming the flesh

#1 Become spiritually minded. 

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:6 KJV

The carnal mind is the mind that isn’t renewed to the spirit.  In “non-christianese” it just means that you aren’t thinking about what your flesh is telling you all the time. 

You aren’t focused on what your body is saying.  

We all know the “but it feels good…” voice that our bodies have.  

For some, this voice rules us to our destruction.  All logic would dictate – DON’T DO THAT – and yet we will because of the voice of our flesh. 

We have to STOP listening to the voice of the flesh. 

#2 Crucify the flesh

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Galatians 5:24 KJV

We are talking about crucifying the flesh.  

All this really means is that we don’t listen to the things that our flesh wants to do these “affections and lusts”.  

And God is really clear about what these affections and lusts actually are…

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 KJV

This is a pretty long list!  All these are the things that our flesh is going to want to do – yes, even as a Christian.

It’s up to you and me to NOT do these things. 

BUT HOW?  That’s a really good question because it’s one thing to know what to do it’s a whole other thing to know how to do it. 

#3 Walk by the Spirit

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Galatians 5:16-17 KJV

The 21st century explanation of this verse is that all those things you really want to do that feel good are the things you should do.  Does that mean you can’t have fun?  No!

It simply means that these things that are pleasing to you for a season, but that ultimately end in death aren’t on the table as options for “fun”. 

So this verse tells us that we have to walk in the spirit, but what does that mean? 

For the sake of this post, I will say that one of the primary ways to walk by the spirit is to pray in other tongues.

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Jude 20-21 KJV

Here’s a good example of what it means to keep yourself in the love of God. 

The Law of Lift and Thrust 

Planes have a set of laws that they have acting upon them all at one time.  You have laws of gravity, lift and thrust and many more all acting simultaneously.  If one becomes more powerful than the other, then something is going to happen. 

For instance if the law of lift becomes more powerful than the law of gravity, you’re going to fly!  The same works in reverse. 

The Law of Spirit and Life

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:2 KJV

There is a law of death and a law of life.  They’re opposing forces much like lift and gravity are opposing forces.  When we allow our flesh to rule us we are in essence making that law of death larger in our life.  

But when we allow the life of Jesus inside of us – our spirit – to dominate our thoughts and how we act then we can life in freedom from the law of sin and death. 

Death and sin will be completely swallowed up when God glorifies our bodies and we get a new body.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

1 Corinthians 15:54 KJV

Until that happens, the law of sin and death never goes away; its voice just gets really small as we walk and talk with Jesus.  Pretty soon we can hardly remember what that old flesh sounded like. 

2 of 3 Enemies to our Faith Walk

So far we have covered both the devil and the flesh as they try to oppose us from walking by faith.  

  1. Our Enemy the Devil and how to Overcome Him (1 of 3 Enemies) 
  2. The Flesh and How to Overcome It (2 of 3 Enemies)
  3. Defeat the World’s System with your Faith

In our next post, we will talk about the World’s System.  This is a really important one because it can be subtle how much the world can creep into our lives as christians.  

If you enjoyed this post make sure to share it with a friend!  The Word of God is powerful and is the only thing that can set the captives free.  These enemies are real and can really put people into bondage!  

That’s why it’s so important that we know how to fight against them properly.