How do we move through the resistance of our flesh to the Spirit?

TEMPLE TUESDAY
(3 in a series of 5)

If we don’t take care of our body Temple, then the Holy Spirit’s expression through us is going to be limited. We’re not going to be able to do what God wants us to do, what He assigns us to do. His work through us will be hindered. We are wonderfully and uniquely made. I cannot do what is assigned to you and you cannot do what is assigned to me. Even if on the surface the assignment looks the same, or similar, we bring our own unique being to the assignment, we will touch different souls in different ways.

The Holy Spirit was sent to guide us, and to comfort us. Scripture tells us that the Spirit and our flesh struggle against each other. To win this struggle we must walk in the Spirit. Keeping our Temple clean and well maintained is important in this walk. When we clean our home we have a routine, a place we start. So where do we start with our body Temple?

Our foundation is first and foremost the finished work of Jesus on the cross. He sacrificed His flesh so that we could be free. Who and what we identify with indicates who and what we are. We start by identifying with Christ. Our flesh struggles with the desire to serve God versus the temptations of the world. Our bodies can’t be cast out, they are our soul’s earthly home and the Temple of God, so we must learn how to subdue the flesh. Christ’s sacrifice allows us through faith and obedience, to subdue the desires of our flesh which come in many forms: over-eating, laziness, addiction, greed, etc. etc. etc.

There is no confusion with God, obedience and self-control are key. A clean organized Temple leads to less disorder, less disobedience. Disobedience brings stumbling. Deliberate, willful, conscious disobedience brings falling. We will all fall short at one time or another, but, praise God, we can choose not to stay down. We are not defeated, we are disobedient. We can dust ourselves off, repent, ask forgiveness, and continue drawing closer to our Lord through obedience. How do we keep the inside our Temple clean so that stumbling is less likely?

“Above all else guard your heart” and “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Thoughts create feelings. Feelings create actions. Actions create results. Results create circumstances. Said another way: Thoughts create feelings. Feelings create behavior. Behavior creates what we see. What we see creates what we experience. This is a perpetual cycle.

We can change our thoughts and create a new circumstance, a new experience. Be transformed by the renewing or our mind. Thoughts create feelings so if we guard our thoughts, we guard our heart.

That is much easier said than done. Our internal thoughts are impacted by so many things. Internal thinking, external influencers. If we aren’t thinking on purpose our thoughts will run away with us. How many times have you gotten stuck in a loop of thinking that was not healthy for you? Or your mind just aimlessly wondered from topic to topic without any real direction and suddenly you are completely off the point you were originally trying to think about? We must be aware of our thoughts and take control of them. Thinking makes the difference in the type of life we experience. Our mind is flesh. It is at natural odds with our Spirit. If we don’t take control of our thoughts, we won’t be able to clearly hear the guidance of the Spirit.

Internally we must closely gauge how our thoughts are impacting our feelings. Are they bringing us down, self-condemning, hindering, limiting. The Spirit may convict but it won’t condemn. Conviction is not the same as condemnation. There is no condemnation in Christ. If we are feeling condemned that is from the flesh or our enemy, not the Spirit. We must take control and change our thoughts. Pray, read the Word, listen to God. We were wonderfully made to experience joy even during our saddest moments. If bitterness, jealousy, or hate, cloud our thinking. Forgiveness is the answer. It is possible to forgive others, and ourselves. “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Externally we should be aware of what we are consuming, intentionally and subliminally. What we watch, listen to, eat, drink, inhale, everything we expose ourselves to. This is not as difficult as controlling our thoughts but is still very hard. The flesh is drawn to the world. Acceptance, success, love. Our ego longs for all types of pleasurable indulgences the world offers. Sugar, adrenaline, peaceful calm. Our senses long for various experiences. We must diligently monitor our environment. This will vary individually based on the weaknesses of our flesh. My weakness may not be your weakness and vice versa. Even the strongest foothold can be dealt with, often eliminated, with prayer, fasting and most importantly faith.

Most people think of fasting as it relates to food and drink, but you can choose what to fast from. Fasting means abstaining. Abstain means to choose not to do or have something: to refrain deliberately and often with an effort of self-denial from an action or practice. The duration of a fast can be a few hours or days. It’s your choice. Pray about it.

Some of us have weaker flesh than others. It helps me to remember that there are certain promises that apply to all Believers; “resist the devil and he will flee from you”; “faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.” And there are some practical things we can do to help us:

✅ Choose to identify with Christ, not the world.
✅ Spend time with God; pray, read His Word, sing praises, worship Him.
✅ Choose to avoid temptation; limit exposure to those things that are triggering.
✅ Chose to consume healthier food and beverages; this will help the brain function at a higher level which will allow better thought patterns.
✅ Choose to think on purpose; take control of feelings by taking control of thoughts. Thinking determines how life is experienced.
✅ Remember we are never alone, the Holy Spirit dwells in the Temple of our body to guide and comfort us. The Spirit of God is always with us.

As we go about cleaning and maintaining our Temple we will meet with certain struggles. But we are not alone, and the battle has already been won. We just have to walk in faith even when we cannot see the answers; even when we cannot understand the reasons; even when we feel like giving up. Hold onto the Word: “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Next week we will think about how we can tell if our Tempe is clean. Until then realize:

💟 You are important to God
💟 You are wonderfully made
💟 You are exclusive, one of a kind, only you can do what God has assigned to you

E.A.Fussell
03.21.2023

Spirit struggle against flesh scripture
Galatians 5:16-17

Heart & Mind scriptures
Proverbs 4:23
Matthew 15:18-19
Proverbs 23:7
Matthew 12:34-35
Romans 12:2

All things possible scripture
Matthew 19:26

Mustard seed faith scripture
Mathew 17:20

Resist and the devil and he will flee from you scripture
James 4:7-8

Wonderfully made scripture
Psalms 139:14

No condemnation scripture
Romans 8:1-2

God is not the author of confusion scripture
1st Corinthians 14:33

Body as the temple scriptures:
Luke 17:20-21
John 2:19-21
1st Corinthians 3:16-17
1st Corinthians 6:19
2nd Corinthians 6:16
Ephesians 2:19-22
1st Peter 2:5

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