Enjoying the Journey
As a young Christian I imagined that some day it would get easier. My flesh would not rear its ugly head; the world would not seem as attractive; the devil would not fight so fiercely. That day never came.
In fact, there is a battle that rages all of the days we live on this earth. And most shocking of all is the realization that my greatest enemy is the man I see in the mirror each day. Lester Roloff was fond of saying, “The first thing I do every morning is jump in the grave!” He meant by that, of course, that flesh has to die daily. Martin Luther said, “Flesh dies hard.” And so it does.
This is the battle that never ends! Every day that we forget this truth is a day that will end in defeat. Flesh may pretend to be religious. It may “play dead” and not speak for a time. But it will rise up again, and we must be ready. Someone once observed that the first war that must be waged is a war against our own lusts.
The Apostle Paul understood this. He testified, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27). The body – fleshly desires – fight against the spirit in a man and the Spirit of God who desires holiness (Gal. 5:17). John Wesley’s mother once wrote to him while he was a student at Oxford, “My dear son: remember that anything which increases the authority of the body over the mind is an evil thing.”
Remember that the last mark of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23 is “temperance.” It is not last because it is least. It is last because it is the lasting point of contention in the life of the believer! Will we be controlled by our flesh or by the Spirit?
The next verse continues, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” This is our battle today. The war rages still. Not just around you, but in you. Only by dying to self and yielding to the the Spirit will you be victorious.
Some day the battle will be over. That will be the day that we see Christ and become perfectly like Him. Until then, my friend, fight on!