Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flesh vs. Spirit

When my children deliberately disobey OR make common little boy mistakes, I always have a choice.  Either I will respond with MY FLESH or I will respond with THE SPIRIT

A silly and small example of a little boy mistake happened yesterday:   The boys, over the course of the day, together spilled 2 cups of water and 1 cup of milk ALL OVER the kitchen floor. 

I had a choice.  I could respond with my flesh by becoming unrighteously angry and out of control.  Or, I could respond with the Spirit by demonstrating patience and self-control.  

In case you are wondering, after the first spill I responded with my flesh (it was kind-of ugly).  I defended my right to sin with the whole, "I'm tired and always have to clean up everyone's messes; their behavior was selfish and inconsiderate so they deserve to be harshly chastised and shamed."  

Well aware that my response to the first spill was not God's will, after the next two spills I whispered a prayer for help and was able to demonstrate patience and self-control.  I ignored my supposed right to sin and responded under the control of the Spirit.

While doing a Beth Moore Bible Study years ago, she challenged me to ask myself the following question when faced with a moral dilemma or sticky situation:

Will I defend my flesh or demonstrate the Spirit?

The idea behind this challenge is that we ALWAYS have two choices when temptation to sin comes in like a flood.

Choice #1:  We kick into defense attorney mode and make excuses for our sin, as well as, provide evidence defending the flesh and its right to sin.  In other words, the flesh pleads SELF-DEFENSE.

The defending of the flesh argues a right to HATE, to wallow in DESPAIR, to STIR UP TROUBLE, to be QUICK TO ANGER, to be DESTRUCTIVE and CRUEL, to BENEFIT SELF, to believe FALSEHOOD, to be MANIPULATIVE and LOOSE-TONGUED, and to be engrossed in and controlled by ADDICTION & IDOLATRY.

Choice #2: We prosecute our flesh by confessing to its crime (or temptation); we make no excuses and choose to do the opposite of what our flesh wants.  Because demonstrating the Spirit of Jesus when faced with a moral dilemma always involves denying the flesh of its supposed rights.

To deny the flesh by demonstrating the Spirit of Jesus results in behaviors that are...unconditionally LOVING, rooted in JOY, striving for PEACE, constructively KIND, benefiting GOD & HIS KINGDOM, founded in FAITH and commitment, graciously GENTLE, and firmly under GOD'S CONTROL & STANDARDS.

The choice between defending our flesh and demonstrating the Spirit is a difficult one.

For, I can recall too many times when I've defended my flesh and argued for my right to sin.

I can also recall too many times when my children have defended their flesh and argued for their right to sin.

The KEY to making the right choice is having a GROWING relationship with Jesus

One in which we are actively pursuing Him on a daily basis, talking to him constantly, fervently studying His Word (s), and fully committed to bringing Him glory. 

When Jesus matters to us, we begin to demonstrate His Spirit naturally.

Join me today and let's pray:

Jesus, I pray that my children would care more for You than anything else in this world.  I pray that a growing relationship with You would trump all other pleasures and pursuits.  And I pray that as they grow in relationship with you through prayer and study of Your Word that they would begin to demonstrate the Spirit naturally, rather than defend the flesh.  When faced with moral dilemmas, may they demonstrate the Spirit's fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control . 


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