Know Your Evil Flesh Well Or Struggle In Your Christian Walk – (Growth In Esther Series Part 14)
The Holy Spirit will always remind us of what occurred 2000 years ago on a hill called Calvary. He reminds us how the Lamb of God became man and was slain on the cross for every sin ever committed – past, present, and future. God was reconciling Himself to us.
II Corinthians 5:18 “And all things are of God; who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
How could one not say “Thank You” to Jesus for such a great salvation?
The Holy Spirit directs our heart, especially, as we read the Word of God. He will consistently reveal Jesus to us. He will specifically reveal to us the salvation plans of God for each individual. The Holy Spirit sure is a special person for us.
Yet, as we saw in our study of Esther, the struggle within of our flesh (Haman) and the Holy Spirit (Mordecai) is an ongoing daily one.
How often have you felt this struggle? Within your members, there is something that wants to honor Christ and, at the same time, there is something that wants to hang Him. This basically is the struggle we undergo; it cannot be avoided.
No matter how successful or popular our flesh is in the eyes of the world, it will always attempt to destroy the Holy Spirit and God’s children – to hang them on the gallows. Remember this is what Haman always attempted to do. He was the Jews’ enemy and it did not matter how successful or popular he was as long as Mordecai was alive.
Yet, as we undergo this battle, it is remarkable how we tenaciously still put confidence in the flesh and resist the Holy Spirit. This is how strong our flesh is. How challenging it is for the Holy Spirit to “woo” us from the flesh to Himself. We can hear countless teachings/sermons and read often how evil our flesh is and “That no flesh should glory in His presence.” (I Corinthians 1:29) However, because the flesh has controlled us for so long, we easily yield control of our lives to it. We will not permit the Holy Spirit to root its evilness out of the depths of our heart. Therefore, we behave like King Saul (1 Samuel 15:15) and keep the best of the flesh to offer to God in worship and in praise. We offer to God our works in the flesh – despite God already condemning them.
The flesh will do anything to manipulate the situation to its own benefit. Somehow the flesh will always try to make a situation beneficial for it. It will do anything to dethrone Christ from His rightful possession (us).
Even when the flesh realizes Christ is gaining more access into the believer’s heart and life, the flesh will then attempt to keep this from repeating further. For the flesh knows that it is powerless against the Holy Spirit. So it will attempt to confuse the believer’s mind with other things that will keep him busy for Jesus or lure him away from finding the riches of Jesus in him. II Corinthians 11:3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
The flesh will actively attempt to make the Christian practice righteousness – to be a Christian in the power of the flesh.
The flesh will always go along to keep its true, evil identity hidden. How often I see Christians volunteering for ministry, when it was really the flesh directing them to volunteer. I know because I volunteered in the works of the flesh many times. The flesh knows it cannot cease the Christian from joining Christian ministries, so it ensures its evil nature and agenda remain hidden.
For its own survival, the flesh gets the Christian to “imitate” Christianity, to imitate Jesus. The flesh will never miss any opportunity to make the Christian imitate Christ – anything from church attendance, missions, Bible study, prayer, revival, second coming, spiritual gifts, evangelism, deliverance, tithing, Scripture memorization, denominations, financial prosperity, spiritual warfare, rapture, keeping the Sabbath, etc. You name it and the flesh will be there.
The flesh can only produce a cheap imitation of the real thing. And Jesus definitely is NO imitation. But the Christian imitates Christianity – very zealously and sincerely. Yet, he is not realizing that Satan has blinded him to the truth of seeing only Jesus. As the Holy Spirit continues to draw him closer to Jesus, the flesh will divert his attention away from Christ and get it focused on things he can do for Christ. The flesh will keep him busy and the Holy Spirit unemployed in many areas of his life. This is so true for many Christians. We focus more on the gifts than the Giver, on blessings instead of the Blesser.
This is idolatry. Do you ever see or have you ever experienced a time when Christian work you were involved in became an object of idolatry? How about today? Are you, today, involved in Christian work that is an object of idolatry? Are you more focused on ministry than the love of Jesus? How often do you boast of your Christian ministry? Only the Holy Spirit can reveal this to you. Therefore, without Jesus we cannot do anything (in God’s eyes). And if Jesus is not the prime motivation of everything we do as a Christian, then we are accomplishing nothing. We become abysmal failures. And God expects nothing less.
Our solution is only Truth – Jesus Himself – the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life (John 14:6). The only language Satan speaks is lies. There is no truth in him (John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Since the flesh originates from Satan, it only speaks lies.
One thing is always certain – the Truth of God never changes. Truth is the very nature of God Himself. Truth is a fact that must be expressed.
Since Jesus (Truth) never changes, the truth of His message and plan of salvation never changes. So also does the nature of Satan and the flesh never change. They may try to convince us that it does, but when you realize that all they speak are lies, that should settle the matter. Lying is their native language. They may oppose, confuse, distort, manipulate, sulk, persecute, slander, gossip, covet, etc. anything from the primary truth. They want you to believe it to be a simple truth – to compromise with sin. But even a little lie distorts the truth. A lie is a lie. Truth is truth. And the convincing truth is Satan and the flesh are natural liars. In fact, “lying” has never been part of God’s vocabulary.