[“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-6
“If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [a]through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11]
We are largely creatures of habit. By birth we are selﬁsh, and by long practice we have lived to please ourselves. We have long been debtors to certain ﬂeshly tendencies. We have settled down perchance (wicked notion) that it must always be this way. There are certain Canaanites that “would dwell in the land.” They have chariots of iron [Joshua 3:10;17:16]. Let us set out a few of the more common and subtle forms of the ﬂesh which are manifest “hangovers” in many Christians.
1. You may always have been a murmuring, complaining Christian. You sulk and feel sorry for your “sad, sweet self.” But you need not do so. “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,” He will so quicken your poor mortal, murmuring frame that you will experience the power of the Cross to cancel the complaining. There is a point to be observed, however; the victory will not be automatic. It will be only: “If ye through the Spirit [note that you must co-operate] do mortify [make to die] the deeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13).
2. You are sensitive, “thin—skinned”? Why not call it sinful pride? The next time somebody reproves you, just say, “You don’t know half the truth. If you knew me you would say much worse.” This may help you into harmony with the Cross. It will at least be the truth.
3. The ﬂesh reasons that if your circumstances were only different you could have victory. But circumstances only reveal what is inside. Our insistence here is this:
“the eternal substance of a thing never lies in the thing itself but in the quality of our reaction toward it. If in hard times we are kept from resentment, held in silence and filled with inward sweetness, that is what matters. The event that distressed us will pass from memory as a wind that passes and is gone. But what we were while the wind was blowing upon us has eternal consequences” (Amy Carmichael).
4. You may be a zealous Christian. But have you gotten over a ﬂeshly itch for a thrilling baptism of power? Do you demand signs and wonders before you will believe?… Those who make such imperious demands upon God keep alive the very ﬂeshly, selﬁsh principle which must go to the Cross. In Old Testament ceremony, the blood, representing death, always preceded the anointing with oil, representing the Spirit.
Do we forget that the Spirit comes from the Cruciﬁed One in Heaven?
[Jesus Christ promised,“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13,14 NKJV.
“Let me emphasize this: As you yield to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self-life.” Gal. 5:16 TPT]
Leslie E. Maxwell (1895-1984), was the founder and president of Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. Over the course of his teaching ministry Maxwell authored several books including Born Crucified, Crowded to Christ and World Missions: Total War.
The “flesh” in this context is the unspiritual conditioning of how one has learned to function independently of God. It is considered as based in the mortal body where the brain remembers life’s experiences and their interpretations (Romans 7:18; Ga;. 3:1-3; 1 Pet 2:11; James 4:1).
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