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*Living in the Spirit, not in the Flesh

October 4, 2007

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One day while I was driving my daughters to their Bible Study at church, my mind began to drift back to difficult times in our past.  Things that happened we never dreamed could happen, but they did.  Then all of a sudden I began to think of how unfair it was for these things to happen to us.  I had a “What did I do to deserve that?” attitude.  I immediately captured that thought and threw it out.  It happened so fast that I almost didn’t catch it!  I was caught off guard…a good sign of living in the flesh rather than the Spirit.

Here is what Romans 8:5 says,

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Our family has seen a lot of adversity & turmoil the past 8 years. At times it seems like we are on a roller coaster of troubled times and just can’ t get off.  I’ve prayed David’s prayer many times from Psalms 123, “Have mercy on us O LORD.”  My flesh cries out saying, “Please stop this and let us live in easy times again.”  But, then the Spirit begins to speak to me, reminding me of my purpose as a daughter of the King.  My purpose is to bring glory to God.  I am to reveal God to others through the way I live my life.  More simply put; I am to make God look good.  I cannot do this if I am whinning, “It’s not fair!” all the time.

I have a choice. When circumstances arrive I have a choice at my reaction.  I can glorify God through my response; react in the Spirit.  Or I can cry, pout, complain and react in the flesh.  Which one brings glory & honor to God?  the answer is so obvious, but not as easy as stated.

Here are a few “flesh” responses I have had in my life.

  • Why did you let this happen?
  • I don’t deserve this!
  • I don’t have time for this!
  • I want a break!
  • When will this be over?
  • Why is their life so easy & mine is so hard?

Any of those sound familiar?

Paul said in Romans 7:15,

I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do, I do not do but what I hate I do.”

I’m right there with you Paul!  I know what my response should be, but I still react the wrong way!  Aack!  Will I ever react the right way & actually glorify my God?  The answer is yes, it is possible.

We learn from Jesus how we are to live.  Paul was a good example as he went through way more than most of us will ever go through in our life as a believer, but he learned from Christ how he should live.

John 12:27, Jesus replied to Andrew and Philip,

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!”

Jesus knew what his ultimate purpose was, to glorify his Father.  He knew that God would be glorified through his own suffering.

Here are some Spirit responses I am learning to make;

  • How can I bring glory to you in this?
  • Teach me your way through this.
  • Help me to be faithful to you.
  • Father, help me!

I have learned that when I live in the Spirit I have joy & peace in the midst of terrible circumstances.  My valley experiences don’t feel like valley experiences.  When I am living in the Spirit I radiate God’s love & joy.  Others want to know how I can experience all that I have & still be so happy.  My mind must be on what the Spirit desires, not what the flesh desires.

Make Psalm 73:26 your prayer.

“My  flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. pureandsensible permalink
    October 17, 2007 6:10 am

    Great post and great writing! This is the first post I’ve read so far, but I plan on coming back!

  2. March 28, 2008 4:56 am

    thank you for the insight

  3. J.C permalink
    November 5, 2009 10:38 pm

    Looking at a guy view what are tips that you know that can help me not live in my flesh. How do i keep my body and mind train to do what is right.

    • November 15, 2009 11:02 pm

      J.C.
      This is a great question that I have heard asked many times. My sons have asked my husband this question. Scripture tells us to take captive every thought. This means that we must learn to recognize when thoughts enter our mind that are not of God. Philippians 4:8 is a verse that my children have memorized to remind that of what God does want us to think about.

      You have to learn to make a conscious effort to turn your head when you are faced with images that may tempt you to lust. I watch my husband do this all the time when he sees a woman wearing revealing clothes.

      IF you continue to be tempted physically & emotionally, it is important if you are a Christian to know that on your own, you cannot resist any temptation. That is why Paul tells us in one of his letters that Christ grace is sufficient. It is only when we admit to Christ that we cannot resist on our own does he strengthen us to be able to resist. It is all through HIM, not through us at all.

      Most importantly, when our minds are immersed & consumed by the Word of God we will more easily recognize when we are being tempted. We will know the thoughts are wrong. I don’t know of any better advice to give you than to immerse yourself in the Word of God. Read it, memorize it, pray it out loud back to God.

      Thanks J.C. for a great question. I pray you are blessed as you seek to walk in the Spirit.

    • Ntebo permalink
      March 23, 2010 3:08 am

      As the previous post has commented: Recognize the thought and weigh it against Christ’s character as you know Him from scriptures. If it does not line up with His charactere cast it down, meaning focus your thought on Him instead of entertaining that tempting thought. Example, if you know that you are not supposed to be eating sweet things and you see a delicious looking cake, turn your thoughts to fruit instead and think about how healthy you will be when you eat such like and how you shall be taking good care of your body which is necessary for Jesus to use for His glory.Same way with other temptations.

  4. Yungflamez permalink
    June 7, 2010 5:09 am

    I believe everything in this article has really strengthened my spirit. I at times find myself wondering how such situations can come about but, I would whine complain and always feel like things never go my way at times I would get so so angry at life and even Blaspheme the lords name of which I’ll regret afterwards but God puts you through trials and tribulations as a test of faith, I believe if any believer knows this and can react to it according to the desires of the spirit we have already made a step of progress, I have just come to realise that the fleshly desires of the body and heart, constraint and block our blessings from God. I am so glad that by reading this my body mind and spirit may be edified by the Holy Spirit. It is truly a blessing from the lord to be given this strength and my prayer is that anyone who reads this may also experience the AMAZING, power of God and wonderful joy that comes through living in the spirit. God Bless to all… Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus.

  5. Deanna Goldberg permalink
    September 24, 2010 9:22 am

    I just discovered this by asking the question what does the bible mean, living in the flesh? I already know but I wanted more clairification. I’m so glad I stumbled accross your site. It sounds like I not the only one that realizes, we are not perfect, infact, far from it. How in the world do we become like Paul? I know the idea is to become like Jesus, but that is impossible. I look forward to reading more of your blog. You are truely a blessing and God is using you to help others.

  6. david diggs permalink
    October 8, 2010 5:15 am

    thanks for this i needed it but you know his real name is not jesus its yeshua

  7. otieno rodney permalink
    November 11, 2010 9:45 am

    powerful can really identify with that/Rodney in kenya

  8. dan bursch permalink
    November 29, 2011 2:46 pm

    thanks for this great post! Very powerful. When I read the quote from Jesus I was reminded not to pray for an easy life but to pray for a life that glorifies God.

  9. December 28, 2011 8:19 pm

    Great post… Living by the Spirit in a very physical world can seem tasking, but it’s worth it in the end.

  10. December 11, 2012 5:46 pm

    living and the flesh is wrong im so glad that the let me live to see that

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