The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would—Gal. 5: 17.
Here is the great and continual battle; for although the new will asserts itself and puts the body under and compels its subjection to the new mind, nevertheless the mortal body, not being actually dead, is continually coming in contact with the world and the Adversary and is continually being stimulated by these and reinvigorated with earthly cares, ambitions, methods, strivings, conflicts and insubordination to our new will. No saint is without experiences of this kind— fightings without and within. It must be a fight to the finish or the great prize for which we fight will not be gained. For although the new heart, mind and will masters the mortal body by the Lord's grace and strength repeatedly, nevertheless until death there can be no cessation of the conflict.
* * *
By the word flesh here the human disposition, natural or acquired, is meant; while by the word spirit the new heart, mind and will, undeveloped or developed, is meant. Even if the flesh were not depraved, it would yet be inimical to the spirit; for it is of the earth, earthy, and hence aspires to earthly things, while the spirit is of the heavens, heavenly, and aspires to heavenly things, which can be obtained only at the sacrifice of earthly things. Consequently there is a constant conflict between the flesh and the spirit. This prevents our doing perfectly, as we will to do. This conflict will continue until the flesh or spirit dies.
Parallel passages: Matt. 26: 41; Mark 7: 21-23; Rom. 6: 12-22; 7: 14-25; 8: 1-13; 13: 11-14; 1Pet. 2: 11; 1Cor. 2: 9; Eph. 5: 3-5; Col. 3: 5; Jas. 3: 14-16; Gal. 5: 16.
Questions: What have been this week's experiences as to this text? How were they met? What helped or hindered? What were the results?
"SO AS BY FIRE"
I SOMETIMES feel so passionate a yearning
For spiritual perfection here below,
This vigorous frame with healthful fervor burning,
Seems my determined foe.
So actively it makes a stern resistance,
So cruelly it sometimes wages war
Against the higher spiritual existence,
Which I am striving for.
It interrupts my soul's intense devotions;
Some hope it strangles at its very birth
With a swift rush of violent emotions
Which link me to the earth.
It is as if two mortal foes contended
Within my bosom in a deadly strife;
One for the loftier aims Jesus intended,
One for the "Mammon" life.
And yet I know this very war within me,
Which brings out all my will-power and control;
This very conflict yet through Christ shall win me
The loved and longed-for goal.
And when in the immortal ranks enlisted,
Sometimes I wonder if we shall not find
That not for deeds alone, but also what's resisted,
Our places were assigned.
Return to Calender