“For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Phil.3:4).
There are three enemies that all believers must constantly battle: the world (1 John 2:15), the devil (John 14:30), and the flesh (Gal. 5:17). Once a person has been graced with salvation, spiritual warfare becomes a daily reality. The believer realizes there is something significant taking place in their lives, which is a fight with their new found enemies. They begin to understand, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph.6:12). Regardless, how long a person has known God; there will be a constant battle raging against these three enemies until they take their last breath. The key is to know that it is a daily battle. The world, Satan, or your flesh does not take days off, so neither should you!
The Apostle Paul reminded the Philippian church not to place confidence or trust in their flesh. At this point, we need to be reminded that the flesh is not inherently evil in and of itself, lest we are dualists. Those who had been “circumcised in the heart” (regenerated or born again) worshipped God by His Spirit and in the Truth of Jesus Christ are not to place any hope in the flesh. They understood their justification was by faith in Christ alone (Rom.5:1), not by some deed their flesh could produce. Why was this so important? Paul said there were “dogs” (false teachers) who would try and lead the people of God astray by getting them to place their hope and faith in something other than Christ (v.3), namely their flesh. And just like in Paul’s day, there are false teachers who would have you and I place our faith and hope in what “WE” can do, rather than what Christ has done. This is “works based” religion that can only lead to death, not life.
Therefore, we must constantly be fighting against our flesh, not only trying to earn favor from God but also in disobeying His commands revealed in Scriptures. Your flesh will have you questioning God's goodness and authority towards you in Christ. Your flesh will look at the forbidden tree and say, “I must have this.” Your flesh will always want to take the path of least resistant. Your flesh will not want to sacrifice for Christ, His Church, or the glory of God. Your flesh will want you to take the easy way out, which is usually disobedience to God’s Word. And the reality is where the heart sins, the mind and then the body will always follow. This is why you must be dying to your flesh daily. The Puritan, John Owen wrote in the book, Mortification of Sin, “Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
Here are some helpful scripture references I often study as I battle with my sinful flesh. May you find them helpful in your study as you continue in this spiritual warfare for God’s glory (Romans 8:13;13:8-14; 2 Cor.6:14-7:1; Eph.4:17-5:21; Col.3:1-17; 1 Peter 4:1-11; 1 John 2:28-3:11). Read. Meditate. Study. Pray. Ask God to help you be actively killing YOUR sin!
**If you find my post edifying please feel free to subscribe to my blog posts and share with others. Thanks!