Everyday there is a spiritual battle taking place behind the scenes of your life. Some days you will be highly cognizant of it, while on other occasions it will be as subtle as a morning sun moving on the horizon. That battle is between the flesh and spirit. Some days the spirit wins, and some days the flesh wins. The other day I had one of those days where the flesh won out. I’m not proud of this, but it became one of those teaching moments in the Spirit, that I pray will help you as it did me.
Normally I am a pretty optimistic person with a good attitude and mindset. For some reason that day I allowed my circumstances to give me a pessimistic attitude, a negative mindset, and a case of spiritual depression. I had no hope and no faith about anything that was going on. The flesh was winning out for sure.
Let’s look at some things about spiritual confrontation and then I’ll come back to what happened to me.
The Contradiction Of The Gospel
The Gospel is contradictory to natural life on earth. Life is all about self-preservation. Think about it. The trees and grass go dormant during the winter, bears hibernate, and there are even species of fish and frogs that will freeze during winter, and come back to life in the spring.
Why do they do this? It’s simple, self-preservation.
As humans we have a programed response to threatening situations. It’s called “fight or flight.” Our mind and body are analyzing the situation subconsciously at light speed to determine the best response. People can train themselves to fight more often than flight, but this takes a lot of training.
The Gospel on the other hand goes against the very grain of life. It calls us to die…everyday! Every day we must get up and put to death the flesh and it’s deeds. Paul says the flesh and the spirit are constantly at war with each other.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 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 may not do the things that you please. – Galatians 5:16-18
The flesh is going to rail against dying because it wants to preserve itself. There are some days that are better than others where the Spirit will bring overwhelming victory. Other days you will be fighting for your life with every breath and ounce of strength to kill the flesh and allow the Spirit to overcome.
Why is this so hard some times?
DL Moody put it this way,
The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps trying to crawl off the altar.
Our flesh wants to preserve itself, and when we live as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) it will always want to crawl off the altar and preserve itself. The truth is that some days the Spirit wins, and some days the flesh wins and crawls off the altar. For some those days may be few and far between. For others it may be a regular occurrence.
Paul says we are being transformed into the image and glory of Christ from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18). For some this moving is quicker while for others there is a lot of stumbling and crawling from glory to glory.
Even Paul struggled with this at times. Here’s how he describes his own struggle.
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. – Romans 7:15
3 Steps To Overcoming The Flesh
I am reminded of Watchman Nee’s work entitled Sit, Walk, Stand. This process will help when you find yourself in the days when the flesh seems to be winning over the Spirit.
First, remember you are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6-9). When the battle is raging, take time to sit in the physical. Sit with the Lord and lift up the situation to Him. Dwell on Him. Take time to pray about it, and then meditate on Him.
Second, walk in the Spirit. It’s not enough to simply sit there all day. Christ calls us to action, but that action can only be most effective after sitting in His presence. Jesus told us He only did what He saw the Father doing. This often came from His time spent in the morning sitting in the Father’s presence.
Finally, stand firm in the faith. After you have done all you can do, simply stand firm in the faith. Listen to what Paul says:
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. –Ephesians 6:11-13
You can’t fight a spiritual battle with physical weapons. After you have done all you can in the physical realm, stand firm in the faith and allow the Holy Spirit to fight for you in the heavenly places.
The rest of the story
I wish I could tell you that I immediately snapped out of my funk, and immediately did the things listed above. Unfortunately, I didn’t. The whole day I had a bad attitude mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It took until the end of the evening and into the following morning before I finally got it together. My flesh was fighting for its self-preservation.
I am thankful though for my wife who kept prodding me to get my head up, and get it together. It was during our conversations that I had the revelation that some days the flesh wins and some days the Spirit wins. I was letting the flesh win that day…even after I had that revelation. I was throwing a spiritual temper tantrum.
I’m thankful the Lord doesn’t give up on us on those days when the flesh wins out, and when we throw spiritual temper tantrums. Since then I have instituted this process and my heart and mind have been renewed in my optimism and faith. Remember friends, the struggle never ends; let’s keep pressing on into the depths of the Lord together until that day when we are renewed and perfected in Christ.
Have you had a day like this, when the flesh won out? What did you do to turn it around? Share it below.