Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Before we talk about flesh, we should first talk about what God given needs were ours at birth. We were created to desperately need love and acceptance and to know that we are a person of worth.

What is the flesh?

A simple definition of flesh: The flesh is the condition where my primary focus is on myself, so that I can meet my needs, or be a success, avoid rejection or gain acceptance.  It is trying to live life independent of Christ.

What does the Scriptures say?  Romans 8:6 – “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

Everyone has developed their own unique version of the flesh. This comes from the way we interpreted life as we grew up. No one is exempt from developing flesh patterns, even my precious grandchildren. But have no fear, God has a remedy for the mind set on the flesh.

Remember our brain has not been redeemed yet. The memories of the way we met our needs apart from Christ are still there! And we also have an enemy that loves to trip us up! There is a reason that human beings are described as sheep in the bible. They aren’t the smartest animal on the planet. Now before you get offended, I am not knocking our sacredness as a human being created in the image of God. We are of immense value and loved beyond our wildest expectations, but we are forgetful and honestly can be a little gullible. Yes, scripture does tell us that we can have the mind of Christ, but it also tells us we need to renew our minds with truth. (Romans 12:1). We have the God of this universe living inside of us.  He loves us and He is always reminding us of truth. But I need to remind myself to listen to His voice.

What are some ways you cope with life apart from depending on Christ?  Self-protection or withdrawing is probably one of my biggest struggles. I can do it without even realizing it at first. It can be like breathing for me until the Holy Spirit opens my eyes and I choose differently. But can I let you in on a little secret? It’s not always easy to conquer. I suppose it could be if I was intentional 24/7 to keep my thoughts and mind on my union with Christ, but like I said, humans can be forgetful. I’m so glad we have a loving Heavenly Father that understands our limitations as human beings and loves us unconditionally.

What are some other ways we might meet needs our own way? In the past I had some major issues with anger. Now I’m not saying I have that expression nipped in the bud, but honestly, I don’t see it as much as I used to see it. I’m thankful now for the times God let my choice of walking after the flesh hurt. If it didn’t hurt, I wouldn’t choose differently today.  It hurt me and it sometimes hurt those I love.

It’s so important to understand flesh is NOT just the way you are or your personality. It’s not just your lot in life because it ran in your family. It’s the way you have chosen to avoid pain or gain acceptance. Jesus has a much better way to do those things for you.

I just want this blog to be a simple reminder to be aware of when you are walking after the flesh. I’m not talking about becoming the flesh police. That’s certainly not freedom, that’s bondage for sure. We don’t want to live with a microscope on ourselves. But we do want to ask our Heavenly Father to help us become aware of when He is bringing it to our attention.  Why?  Because it’s simply not good for us and it will cause us and others pain.

No, you are not angry because anger runs in your family. No, you don’t stay at home all the time because you are a homebody. No, overeating or shopping is not just a flaw that lots of humans struggle with. No, you don’t need more skills and ways to conquer these demons. You simply need to be aware when you are meeting your needs your own way. And remember flesh is sneaky. Once you realize you have been walking after the flesh there is only one answer. Repent. Change your mind. Choose differently. Why? Because it’s good for you and it’s who you truly are!  You are one with Christ! You truly don’t have to walk in ways contrary to who you really are! You have the very power that raised Jesus from the dead inside of you. Scripture doesn’t lie. That means no excuses. We just need to open our eyes and walk after the Spirit!

And don’t forget Romans 8:1- There is therefore right now, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Our failure doesn’t make us bad; it makes us human. Growth is a lifelong process. Give yourself grace and choose differently.