by Timothy Wilson
How many of us believe it is a good idea to “resist our flesh”? I would like to challenge that belief system.
“You Resist Flesh” is a statement of “DO”.
“Flesh Resist You” is a statement of “BE”.
How futile is it for me to resist my flesh. When I spend my time in a futile effort to resist the flesh I am spending time that could be used for greater things. “Greater Things” is my destiny.
Me resisting my flesh is an action of “works” or “DO”. When I realize that my flesh will naturally resist the ways of the kingdom and I tell my flesh to come under the blood of Jesus Christ, I have agreed with the centerline statement of “I am not naturally what I already am eternally”. A simple statement that tells my flesh that it is under the blood of Jesus Christ will take care of the influence that my flesh has on my spiritual being.
For the first 30 years of my Christian walk I was instructed to “resist the flesh”. I actually heard preachers tell me to “destroy the flesh” or “crucify the flesh”. Today there is even a Facebook page called “Resist the Flesh”.
When I resist or war against my flesh as man has taught me to do, I am actually using a natural method of trying to handle my natural self. It doesn’t work! Instead I should be using the supernatural blood of Jesus Christ to overpower my natural flesh. By telling my flesh that it is under the blood, I have agreed with the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross and it is an effective act of faith.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” – James 4:1-10 (NKJV)
The Bible never tells us to “resist the flesh”. It does in fact say in James 4:7, we are to “resist the devil”. That is something different entirely. When you read the James 4:1-10 passage with the “BE” perspective it is actually telling us that when we humble ourselves and put ourselves in a position to be close to God that resisting the enemy is a secondary element to relationship with God. Submission to God is first; resisting the devil is second. The action here is to “come close to God”. The reaction is that the enemy will flee.
So often, I have turned this around. I have hoped to come closer to God by resisting the enemy. This is the “DO” perspective. In fact Ephesians 6:12 instructs us that we are not to battle against the flesh. When we are instructed to battle by the written word or by Holy Spirit, we should battle from an existing one-on-one relationship with God. We should never battle to obtain relationship.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Eph 6:12 (NLT)
Imagine if you will a battle scene. A fierce battle has been fought and the bodies of all of the enemy’s forces are lying dead in the field. In fact they have been dead for so long that they are decaying carcasses and skeletal remains. Now imagine in this same scene a lone figure finding this battle scene and wandering into this former battlefield with a sword walking around thrusting his sword into these dead and decaying carcasses. Now continue to see that after he thrusts his sword into the carcass, he then raises his sword to the heavens and claims victory.
“They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.” – Ps 44:3 (NLT)
It is foolish to continue to fight a battle that has already been fought and won. Jesus provided the victory for us. This battle that we continue to fight is simply a waste of time born from guilt and misguided manipulative control.
The path to a fuller one-to-one relationship with God does not pass through us trying to impress Him with our ability to resist our own fleshly desires. It comes by us resigning to the truth that Jesus Christ supplied a victory for us to overcome the flesh with His blood so it is not a hindrance.
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