Have you ever wondered why you struggle so much as a Christian? In other words, why do we sometimes live defeated, have conflict and live frustrated lives. It’s the result of patterns based on false beliefs, feelings that follow and the resulting behaviors. These are what the Bible describes as the flesh. These can be good patterns or bad patterns. They are all sinful.
The flesh is not our body. It is also not our old self (nature). Because some have confused these two, it has led to more defeat and frustration. The old self (nature) has already been crucified with Christ and removed forever for those in Christ. We don’t have an old self (nature) and a new self (nature). We only have the one new self, but we do have the flesh.
What is the flesh? It is all of the ways we’ve learned to live independent of Christ in us, in hopes of giving life meaning – by trying to feel secure, competent, accepted, loved, and esteemed (SCALE). The fruit of living our life by the flesh always has consequences. That is why we need to discover and take responsibility for those patterns. Do you know yours? Every one of us has unique flesh patterns. They basically fall under two big categories.
Patterns that might look good to others but not to God such as:
Trying to perform well for love and acceptance.
Never admitting you are wrong.
Being a self-made man or woman.
Using money, success, possessions, etc., as a way to define yourself
Patterns that might look bad to others and to God such as:
Playing the victim.
Manipulating people for attention.
Using porn to relieve stress.
God’s only solution to overcome these patterns of the flesh, is to humble ourselves and admit to God we can’t deal with these through Try Harder Christianity. Then, we choose over and over to depend on the Holy Spirit in us, to allow Christ’s life to flow through us to replace those old patterns with His love, His way, His truth and His life! That is how we can live freer and freer from the flesh (never perfectly, but more and more). “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 (Death mentioned here, means miserable consequences. Life and peace means Christ’s life freely flowing in us and through us.)
Do you know your specific flesh patterns? Do you know the beliefs behind each of them? We help people every day discover theirs and God’s way to overcome them. We’ve seen many transformed lives!
Jack recently understood that his main flesh pattern was to keep people at arm’s length. Why? Because he believed people would ultimately betray and hurt him. Once he saw this he admitted it to himself and to God. Then he began to trust Christ in him to love him, and to live through him, to love people in ways he never thought possible.
© Mark Maulding but it may be shared with anyone!