Friday, December 5, 2014

Spiritual warfare's 3 common enemies: The Flesh

Ephesians 6:10-11 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil."

John 2:16-17 "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world."

Today's post will conclude where we ended yesterday regarding the 3 enemies of the Christian in spiritual warfare. In the opening passage above we see them underlined: the Devil, the world and the flesh. The contexts of both scriptures indicate the following:

1. Common Enemy in spiritual warfare is The Devil.

2. Context in which our warfare occurs is the world. 

3. Cravings that contribute to our spiritual warfare is the flesh.

Today's post will explore that enemy that works within every Christian - the cravings of the flesh. 

The cravings that contribute to our warfare is the flesh
Notice what the Apostle John writes in 1 John 2:16 "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." What is meant by the term "flesh"? The term "flesh" can have one of two meanings in the New Testament. The first meaning of "flesh" refers to the physical body of a person, whereas the second meaning describes the expression of our soul's drives in cooperation with the remnants of sin in the soul. Galatians 5:19-21 gives the fullest definition of the flesh in the New Testament: "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

The flesh is an "expression", a "reaction" to certain conditions whereby the inborn drives of a person are set aflame and decisions are made to feed the hunger. The indwelling Holy Spirit aims to teach the child of God to "put on Jesus Christ, make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts." (Romans 13:14) 

Therefore when we are dealing with spiritual warfare, the flesh and the inward desires that go unchecked are among the most damaging of the three enemies. Unlike the Devil and the World, which attacks from the outside, the flesh works inward to outward. 

Years ago I worked at a plant where periodic training was given on the subject of fire safety. In that training the employees were taught what was called "the fire-triangle". The fire-triangle described three elements needed for a fire: fuel source, heat source and oxygen. To put out a fire of any type, all someone had to do was to remove one of the elements. 

When we apply the above idea of the "fire-triangle" to spiritual warfare's three common enemies, we discover the following: Satan functions as the heat source, ever tempting and put on the pressure; the world is likened unto oxygen, ever supplying and always ready to feed every drive; and the fuel is the "flesh". In spiritual warfare, if we are to be effective, we must remove one of the three enemies. Just as in a real fire, if the fuel source is cut off, the fire is quenched. Certain fleeing from Satan or avoding the world can and must be done, however unless the flesh is dealt with, flare-ups will continue. Only the Holy Spirit and the power of the scriptures can effectively deal with the flesh. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13; Hebrews 4:13-16). 

Closing thoughts:
In this series we have considered spiritual warfare's 3 common enemies: the world, the flesh and the Devil. In this series we have discovered:
1. Common Enemy in spiritual warfare is The Devil.

2. Cravings that contribute to our spiritual warfare is the flesh.

3. Context in which our warfare occurs is the world.

We also concluded that since Jesus came and overcame the world through His perfect life of active obedience in resisting the Devil, the world and the flesh, by faith we can access that victory and apply to our own life. May we be aware of these 3 common enemies and realize that Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.

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