Thursday, September 6, 2012

Starving or Feeding the Flesh?

So often my focus is on how to feed the flesh. I believe it's important to take care of the physical body in order to live and work for God with energy and vitality while we're here. We are to be good stewards of the physical body we've been given just as we are to be good stewards of our spirit. And I confess, I'm one to look for comfort, whether comfort food, a comfy place to sit with a soft blanket, or a comfortable schedule with lots of down time.

I've been thinking about the flesh recently in the bad sense of the word--that part of us that is pulled by the world. It's the part that wants only comfort, it wants its own way in everything. Like a toddler demanding his or her own way and stomping a foot. Can't you just see those arms crossed in the front and a pouty lower lip sticking out?

What if the parents allow that toddler his own way? What would happen if she got everything she wanted? We call that being spoiled, and spoiled is a good word for it because it means bad or rotten. If an apple is spoiled, it's not good to eat. We throw it away. If a child is spoiled he grows up angry and resentful, unhappy because he always expects to get his way out of life. This person may end up in jail or just miserable as an adult. She will always be looking to feed her flesh.

In our nation, the god of sex has a stronghold and is gaining power every day. Now even our political parties are defined by it. More people may vote this year based on their fleshly sexual desires, or their belief about sex than on any other issue. Whether abortion or same sex marriage, the issue comes down to wanting our own way with our flesh.

The church is no different. We want our own way. We're comfortable and spoiled. We need to ask ourselves, "Where is my allegiance?"

If my allegiance is to Christ, then I deny the desires of my flesh that conflict with His will. I don't redefine His will so that it fits my desires. This is our sacrifice. Christ sacrificed it all for us, now it's our turn. So today, I'm suggesting starving the flesh by denying its sinful pleasures. Make it suffer. Let it weaken and die to this world, that you might live to Christ according to the Scriptures. It won't always be easy, but neither was the path Jesus chose for us.

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