When the flesh is winning…

I have a confession to make……my flesh won this morning. Big time. (just being real) 🙁

Sadness.

Everyone has a flesh. Everyone. No one is perfect. Even people who’ve been Christians for a long time. Even ministers. Even you and me.

What does it look like when the flesh wins, you may ask? It could look like a lot of different things. There’s a whole list in Galatians 5:

  • Impurity
  • Lustful pleasures
  • Idolatory
  • Sorcery
  • Hostility
  • Quarreling
  • Jealousy
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Dissension
  • Division
  • Envy
  • Drunkenness
  • Wilds parties
  • Other sins like these

Those are pretty obvious, right?

But the flesh also wins when we don’t have these:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self control

Lots of times when we think of the flesh winning, we think of the biggies: adultery, murder, addiction, lying. But it’s so much more than that.

The flesh wins when we’re edgy. When we’re not faithful to our word….when we make a commitment and don’t follow through. The flesh wins when there’s no joy or kindness to be found.

Did you know the Bible also says that over eating (gluttony) is a sin? When is the last time you ate too much? Ouch!

Galatians 5:16 says, “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.”

Let.

He wouldn’t have told us to do it if it wasn’t possible. We have to let (allow, permit) the Holy Spirit and not the flesh guide our lives. Guide our actions. Tell us what to do. The flesh and the spirit fight against each other – we determine who wins.

So….my flesh totally won this morning. Totally. Let me paint you a picture of my morning.

I woke up early and wasn’t feeling well. Early. At early o’clock in the morning before Jesus is even up. And I couldn’t get back to sleep. So I was super tired.

Then the dog wouldn’t stop barking at the garbage truck coming down the street. Not an abnormal occurrence, but – I was super tired, remember? So annoying.

I finally looked out the window to watch them take away the trash only to find out to my horror that the boys didn’t take the trashcan (the OVERFLOWING trashcan) down to the street like I had asked them to last night!

I ran around trying to find my boots and tried to get out there in time to catch them, but it was to no avail. I missed them. And then the dog went to the bathroom in the house while I was trying to catch them (probably why she was barking…ugh!).

My husband is in Israel and our door hinge fell out of the wall in the kitchen. Just fell out of the wall. And every time I try to screw the screws back in, they keep falling out.

Seriously? Now? That couldn’t have happened before he left?

Then all I could see was what wasn’t done. The dishes weren’t washed. The kitchen floors were dirty. The bathrooms needed cleaned. The laundry was everywhere. And….on and on and on.

And I got grumpy. Really. Really. REALLY. Grumpy.

I started barking orders at the kids when they got up. I was grumpy when my husband FaceTimed me from Israel. I was grumpy on the way to work.

Not a stellar start to my day. But the funny thing was – I felt justified in being grumpy. After all, didn’t you hear how my day started? Wouldn’t you have been grumpy?

I was still feeling a touch edgy sitting at my desk when one of my coworkers mentioned having grumpy thoughts about something.

And that’s when I realized…..my flesh was totally winning. And I was letting it. And I was mortified! I know better….

ENOUGH!

We stopped everything we were doing and spoke this confession from Grace Ryerson Roos’ book The Blood:

The Blood of Jesus purges me of every defilement of the enemy.

The Blood of Jesus keeps and guards my mind day and night.

The Blood of Jesus prevents deception and aborts every attempt of the enemy to deceive me.

The Blood of Jesus is my divine covering and protection against all the fiery darts of the evil one.

Yes, the Blood of Jesus is alive! So full of life and grace it perfects that which concerns me – reconciling everything in me to the perfect will of God every day in every way.

Then we prayed. And worshipped. And let the Holy Spirit guide our lives.

It took all of three minutes to do that…to make that change….but it was so effective!

The grumpies were gone, the joy was back, and my day was back on track.

Nothing else really changed. My trashcan is still overflowing. I’m still feeling a bit under the weather and my door is still unhinged. But the flesh is no longer in control of my attitude.

Woo hoo!

It’s easy to let the flesh win….but it’s also easy to let the Holy Spirit guide our lives. It’s as easy as recognize it, stop, repent and praise. It changed my whole day.

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