The Struggle Between The Spirit And The Flesh
"In spite of this they still sinned, and did not believe in his wondrous works. Therefore their days HE consumed in futility, and their years in fear." Psalm 78:32-33 Having seen the wondrous works of God again and again, yet whenever the children of Israel lusted again for something more, God in his mercy provided. It was a constant battle between God's provision versus their lack of appreciation as they wanted yet more and more and more. They just didn't have within themselves the core of faith that would enable them to wait on the Lord who always provides like a father to his child. They wanted what they wanted – now! Finally, after many warnings he gave them over to their lusts and their days were consumed in futility. They chose to not walk by faith, and the result was that their time on this earth was spent in futility. The walk of faith is not easy. There is a constant battle between our inner desire to walk pleasing to the Lord, versus our fallen human nature that wants to satisfy its many desires. "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another..." Galatians 5:17 So it remains to each person to choose which way he will go. Most will go the way of the flesh, and their lives will be consumed in uselessness. Futility. Wasted lives. "Busy" with worthless activity. But for those who truly desire to live a life pleasing to God, and who really want their lives to be effective and productive in him, "how" they ask, "is one able to overcome the lusts of the flesh?" vs 16: "I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." It's not possible for a human being to achieve this, because we live in a fallen human nature and the desires of that nature are strong. But it becomes possible when our lives are SURRENDERED to God and when we truly desire to be filled with his Holy Spirit. This means we have to pursue these ends. It doesn't happen automatically. Surrender is contrary to the flesh. Yet it's the key to blessings unimagined. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, his temptations were not weak, he chose temptations that would be very real, personal, and hard to overcome. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days, and Satan said to him that if he truly is the Son of God, go ahead and turn these rocks into bread. Powerful temptation, given when Jesus was already weakened and hungry from a prolonged fast. So HOW did Jesus resist? He resisted by the Word. He answered with Scripture: "But Jesus answered him, saying, 'It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.’” Luke 4:4 This is the key. The Word of God has to be the very foundation of our lives, otherwise we will succumb to the flesh and live lives of futility. Immerse yourself in the Word of God, the Bible, daily. It must become your very life. It's the only way you will succeed in living the life ordained by God for you, because your enemy the devil will continually seek to overthrow your faith. He knows you intimately, personally, he knows your weak points, and there he will strike. "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.'" James 4:4-7 The choice is yours. An easy life of futility, or a difficult but productive life with fruit that will last for all eternity.