Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Flesh

In reading scripture, one comes across the word "flesh" quite a bit. I am not going to list all the Scriptures with the word 'flesh' in it here; if you are interested in that sort of thing, look it up in your's there. But what exactly is it? Quite simply, the 'flesh' encompasses everything in our earthly existence. Our senses, emotions, what it takes physically for us to live, our bodily functions, our desires and motives, our needs for entertainment, achievement, affection, comfort, and love; all these are examples of the 'flesh.'

Not all fleshly things are evil....for example, eating. Eating food is required for for us to live and exist. Another example, Christ came to the earth in the 'flesh' and Christ was sinless. Being happy or sad is not a sin. Many things in the flesh has the potential for becoming a sin, for example, if I take my need for food to the extreme and become a glutton, then I am sinning.

The fruits of the sinful nature are the flesh acting out. Anger, frustration, control, and gossip are the flesh's way of dealing with people. It is pleasure seeking or it can be pain seeking as well. The flesh isn't satisfied with 'just' sex, it wants more, kinkier, variety and set impossible standards for 'good-looking' and attractiveness. The flesh can be greedy, amassing great wealth and surrounding itself with more and more stuff. It loves to shop often, play computer games to 'wind down' and will set impossible moral standards for self and others. It wallows is guilt and shame, avoids what it is afraid of and easily gets 'set in its ways' in complacency and thrives on routine.

The flesh also shows up to church. The flesh doesn't want to be embarrassed during worship. It wants to be entertained during a church service, wanting everything to move along at a good pace with no silent patches. My flesh wants the powerpoint to be seamless and needs the sermon to be articulate and relevant. The flesh is uncomfortable and embarrassed when the Spirit shows up because the flesh wants to stay in control and really doesn't have time for tongue-speaking or prophetic words being spoken. The flesh also wants to be challenged but doesn't do much about that once it leaves the church building. The flesh can disguise itself as a servant but quietly demands that people notice. It tries to be righteous by its own strength, will and determination, independent of asking God for help. And for heaven's sake, the flesh wants church to be over in 90 minutes or at least before the Cowboy game begins.

The flesh can beat the drum of religious adherence and demands moral standards that they themselves cannot keep. It disguises itself as righteous so it doesn't have to depend on the blood to Jesus for grace and mercy. The flesh hides its sins instead of being open and honest, and it certainly doesn't humbly confess or repent of its sins (it usually blames its sins on someone else). It puts on pride every morning and sometimes sleeps in it at night, dreaming fittfully about winning battles and building strongholds.

Do any of these fit for you? What is your understanding of 'the flesh?'


  1. Praise God, for the power to overcome the flesh! "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom. 8:13).

  2. Aman, brother Greg! And only God can overcome flesh...we cannot do it willpower or self discipline. Flesh cannot overcome flesh! Only through the power of God can we overcome the flesh.