The New Birth – Spirit vs Flesh

O Father, you knew from the foundations of the earth the entire matter.  You knew, without your intervention in the person of Yeshua – Jesus the Messiah, mankind was doomed to the Lake of Fire.  You knew sin would enter mankind through our Federal Head, Adam, and the struggle of man to be as God would begin.  Yet, rather than discard the human race and begin again, You chose . . . Me . . . and my Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

The struggle within has not ceased for Believers.  Most of us have not the lofty aspirations of Satan to arise to Your throne.  We are content to sit on the throne of our own heart and attempt to rule ourselves and those around us.  Of course, this delusion is no less foolish than Satan’s own.  Yet, we power on, oblivious to the damage we do to ourselves and others, continually flustered and even descending into depression when we fail miserably at controlling even the small things in our life and the world.

Colossians 3:15 NKJV – LET THE PEACE OF GOD RULE

 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 

When we come to faith in Your Son, we are rarely confronted with the necessity to vacate the throne of our own heart.  This is essential, not as a matter of Eternal Life with Christ, but for temporal success on this earth, joy, peace and growth in the Faith.  Thus, without proper instruction, we begin a new life in You of frustration and failure by seeking to do Your will in our own strength.

John 15:4-5 NKJV – ABIDE IN ME

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Some have entered into what they perceive to be a “power sharing” agreement with You. They see the necessity to relinquish control of spiritual matters to You, but life in general is perceived to be beyond Your purview.  Thus, they do life with a white-knuckle grip of control on the secular while increasingly struggling also in the spiritual.

In fact, you do not entertain “power sharing” agreements and all things are spiritual at their root and core.  Ever action, word, thought and belief must first pass through the filter of Your Instructions, the Scriptures,  if we are to achieve true peace and success in any aspect of life.

We do not live 2 lives, but there is a war going on within every one of us.  We are first and always a Spirit being housed in a physical body.  As children of God, our Born Again Spirit Man must rule and reign as directed by Holy Spirit within.  The plan and purpose of God for our lives can only be implemented at Holy Spirit’s direction if we are to be truly successful in our Christian walk.

 

John 3:3-6 NKJV – YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”  Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh,   and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

When we Believe in Jesus, the Old Spirit Man is buried with Christ and we are Born Again with a brand new Spirit.  However, we still inhabit the same fleshly body with the same fleshly mind we had previously.  The flesh and mind are the containers of old habits and bad choices.  The flesh recalls the day when it held sway through the un-renewed Spirit of the Old Man and engaged in all manner of evil.  Once a person is Born Again, sealed by the Holy Spirit as a guarantee and promise of Eternal Life with Christ, the battle begins.

Ephesians 4:20-24 NKJV – PUT OFF THE THE OLD MAN

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

The New Spirit Man must now take precedence, for his ear is tuned to the Holy Spirit of God within us.  The old illustration of a person with a good angel on one shoulder urging him to do right with an evil angel on the other shoulder whispering evil instructions is only partially wrong.  They aren’t angels . . . the New Spirit urges righteous action in line with Scripture while the Flesh and the Mind, retain the memories of the Old Man and those days when habits, addictions and flesh ruled the day and the flesh was in charge. It is to those days the flesh seeks to return.

Romans 8:14 – THE CHILDREN OF GOD

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

The failure of most churches today is to make the new Believer, or even the older ones, aware of the struggle within.  Awareness gives us a sensitivity to the warring factions, an understanding, and enables us to make better choices.  If we are left without warning of the upcoming battle, this allows Satan to seek to gain a foothold by declaring, “there’s been no real change, it was all in your mind, you’re still the same bad person you were before.  It might work for some people, but not you.  Just give up, give in, you are the same.”  

Surveys have shown it takes roughly 30 days to establish a habit or break one.  You’ve lived your life allowing the flesh to rule.  It takes awareness and time to become sensitive to the gentle prompting of the new Spirit within and Holy Spirit.  The Old Man of Flesh screams, pushes, berates and belittles.  The New Man suggests, encourages, whispers and directs with gentleness.  Listen for the soft voice, learn to ignore the grating voice that berates and you’ll find yourself establishing new habits in line with God’s Word.

For some, the New Birth is so radically life-changing the struggle in the beginning is minimal and the real battles are farther down the road where the stakes are higher.  Sometimes, by God’s sovereign choice, addictions and bad habits are just wiped away. For others the battle is almost instantaneous.  Either way, we’ve all been there, most of us are still there and none of us will be perfected until Jesus returns and we receive our glorified bodies.  Only then will we do away with the flesh entirely.

1 John 3:2-3 NKJV – WE WILL BE LIKE HIM

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Do not listen to the Father of Lies, you are changed, it’s a process rather than simply an event.  Eternal Life with Jesus is instantaneous when you Believe, becoming a follower, a disciple, takes time and effort on His part and on yours. 

John 5:24 NKJV – EVERLASTING LIFE IN CHRIST

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 

In the meantime, renew the mind by reading or listening to scripture.  Begin with the gospel of John and pay particular attention to how Jesus responded to others, to circumstances and life in general.  He is our perfect example.  Our minds are “renewed” by the “washing with the water of the Word” and the old habits will be defeated.  Reading, listening to and studying the Word will supercharge your progress and limit the battles with the Old Flesh Man’s memories.  We are the “Bride of Christ” – the Church and He will have a Holy Bride.

Ephesians 5:25-27 – THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

In truth, no matter how genuine your belief in Christ, either the Old Man or the New Man will rule.  It might be necessary to re-bury the Old Man of flesh from time to time.  Paul referred to it as “crucifying the flesh” by denying his right to rule and drag you back into old, unproductive, defeating habits and mental attitudes.

Galatians 5:24-25 NKJV – CRUCIFY THE FLESH

24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 

 

If you fail to take definitive action you won’t lose your Eternal Life with Christ He gifted you when you Believed, your sins are paid in full.  It will, however, lead you to a frustrating, fruitless life on this earth and a dearth of rewards in Heaven.  If you allow the Old Man to take you back down the road of sin you once knew and even farther than before – expect the chastisement of a Loving Father.

Hebrews 12:5-6 NKJV – THOSE WHOM HE LOVES HE CHASTENS

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

Chastisement from God is further proof of His love and care for you and of His own Holy nature which cannot abide sin in His children.  He does not ever cast His children aside, but you can certainly expect a trip to the wood shed. Continuous refusal to repentchange your mind which changes your behaviorcould lead to premature death, this is not a game and God is very serious about holiness.

Arm yourself with understanding, don’t be deceived into following the old dead man you’re familiar with.  Rise up in the New Man within, listen to the promptings of Holy Spirit and you will learn to walk in newness of life in Jesus Christ.  Don’t merely profess you are a new creature in Christ . . . actually become one!

 

Thanks for taking time for me . . . 

BLESSINGS,

Sherry Driskell Griffin

P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!

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