“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” Gal. 5:19-21a (ESV)
The works of the flesh are many and varied. We may not struggle with all of them…but we all struggle with some of them.
We each have a predisposition toward some of these fleshly struggles brought about by past experiences and how God created us.
God didn’t purposefully create us with these weaknesses…they often arise out of our strengths and giftings.
For instance, our role as physicians requires that we have a certain amount of confidence in our ability to perform surgery or to make an accurate diagnosis.
A physician who lacks confidence is often a physician who lacks patients.
On the other hand…a strong sense of confidence can be accompanied by pride.
That strong sense of confidence can blind us to the opinions of those around us. That will make us prone to strife, jealousy and rivalries.
The gifts of intellect and confidence so necessary in medicine can easily be corrupted into fleshly desires.
To wage war against these fleshly desires…we must first become aware of their existence within us.
We must learn to monitor not only our emotions…but also learn the cause of those emotions.
In his book Christ-Following: Ten Signposts of Spirituality, Trevor Hudson describes a brief exercise that helped him grow in this area. At the end of each day as he prepared to go to sleep, Hudson would review that day.
Regarding the negative experiences of the day, he would spend time reflecting on the initiating factors, his response and what he was feeling at the time.
This is not morbid introspection…it is necessary self-learning.
Too often we rush through our days without paying any attention to our actions, our emotions, and the desires that lie beneath them.
Unless we stop to reflect…we will not see the battle.
Until we see the battle…we will not engage in the war with our flesh.
We will never grow toward maturity…
We will remain adults controlled by our fleshly desires.
Take some time today to look at what is going on within…and take up the battle against those fleshly desires.
Prayer: Lord, provide some time today so that I can identify my fleshly desires and wage war against them.