How do I Overcome the Power of the Flesh?
The vigor and power and comfort of our spiritual life depends on our mortification of deeds of the flesh”John Owen quotes
One of the most familiar excuses I have heard people give when asked to give their lives to Jesus is fear. The fear that once they leave their familiar grounds they wouldn’t know how else to live. Having been so used to living fleshly lives, they don’t think they can live otherwise. That is quite understandable, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. For one, it is paramount to overcome the flesh if you are to achieve or fulfill your God given destiny in this life. Every single day you wake up, will be another day for a battle between the flesh and the spirit.
Victory for any army starts at the point of self evaluation. The army commander should first take stock of what he has at his disposal, and then he can know his chances at winning the war. In the same way, we have to understand and appreciate our position as human beings living in the flesh. First, we need to know that the battle between our flesh and the spirit will be ongoing for as long as we live. Both the flesh and the spirit will always seek to be in control. Not once will any side surrender to the other or agree to a truce. Conceding to the way of the flesh may cease the war but the result thereof is death. According to Galatians, 5: 19-21, the flesh will drive you to indulge in immorality, idolatry, intemperance (excesses), and living without love. Understanding this will help us to make the right choice; it is a war in which you will have to take sides.
There are several ways to deal with the war within us. Each of these ways is going to very important in ensuring we win and keep the victory. The first thing to do will be learning how to walk in the spirit. Now the flesh gets aided by the enemy – the devil, while our spirit gets aided by the Spirit of God. By our own, we have no power to overcome the flesh or the devil. We need a supernatural power to be victorious which the Spirit of God is. “So I say, live in the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Gal 5:16). Although the spirit of God does lead us by speaking to our spirit, he does so based on the word of truth in us. For Jesus told his disciples that when the spirit of God would come to them, he would reveal all truth. This is as opposed to wishful human thinking. That is why the psalmist prayed and asked God to lead his steps according to his word so that sin may not rule over him. When I say the word here, I mean two separate things. The first meaning is ‘the word’ according to John1:1-2, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God…” this scripture here refers to Jesus Christ. We shall never walk in the spirit without first receiving the giver of that spirit. That is by accepting Jesus as Lord and savior in our lives. The second meaning of ‘the word’ is the inspired word of God in the Bible. For man, shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceedeth from the mouth of the Lord. And, “..the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb 4:12)
Now after receiving Christ in your life, reading and searching the word of truth, and walking in the spirit, there’s one more thing to do. Prayer is the last thing although it’s not the only other thing to do. When the above measures are coupled with prayer, you are on your way to becoming the powerful, victorious believer you desire to be. Prayer does not mean praying only in the morning and at night, no, although that too is important. The word of God tells us to pray unceasingly (1 Thes 5:17). You do not have to pray loudly for us to know you are praying, rather you can pray in your heart whenever the spirit of God prompts you to. You also don’t have to recite an entire prayer book to feel prayerful; prayer can be as short as just a few words, and as long as you would want it to be. “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” (1Cor 14:15).
Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” ~ Corrie ten Boom