From Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia we read, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16 – NASB)
“The flesh,” a most peculiar term, so prevalent in the New Testament. How is one to understand it? One thing we do know and that is that “the flesh” is always in opposition to “the Spirit.” The two are against one another.
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you many not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17 – NASB)
Paul writes in Romans regarding “the flesh,”
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5 – NASB)
Someone has written in regards to this term, “the flesh,”
“The term Paul often uses to describe what remains of the ‘old man.’ It refers to unredeemed humanness, the part of a believer that awaits future redemption at the time of his/her glorification. Until then he/she has a redeemed self living in an unredeemed humanness . . . . creates conflict.”
God has chosen to place within these bodies of ours, “the flesh,” His Spirit. He has chosen to give us a new heart, one that is in “opposition” to “the flesh” we dwell in. The Holy Spirit has come upon us and has empowered us to live for God, and He has given us His Word to instruct us in just how to do that, just how to “walk” not “according to the flesh . . . but . . . according to the Spirit.”
In this “flesh” which you and I inhabit this side of heaven, we are commanded to “walk by the Spirit” and “not” to “carry out the desire of the flesh.” It is a most complex matter for sure, but not one that we should not be able to understand. It is a struggle for sure, but yet we have the power from God to thwart “the things of the flesh” and live “according to the Spirit.”
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24 – NASB)
As we “walk by the Spirit,” we become, in our “flesh,” our “humanness,” vessels by which God witnesses to the world of His great redemptive plan for mankind, witnesses who stand out because they no longer seek to “carry out the desire of the flesh . . . with its passions and desire,” but rather seek to live their lives “by the Spirit.”
Be sure of this brethren,
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God . . . and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:6-8 – NASB)
Have a good day brethren . . . and if you are of Christ then take heed that the flesh and the Spirit are not in agreement with one another, and that you are clearly called to live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.