How To Overcome The Flesh In The Bible.

How To Overcome The Flesh In The Bible.

Falling prey to the yearnings of the flesh can be traced back to the Garden of Eden; where our first parents disobeyed God and ate the fruit from the tree which gives the knowledge of good and evil.

There is one understanding I want us to establish here from the biblical story of creation because, before this time, we have been made to believe that God created Adam and Eve as grown-ups. But the scripture below helps us to understand better:

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:25).

Logically, we all know that it is only the little children that can go around naked without being ashamed. And this is because they have not yet tasted the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

(Note: people misinterpret the forbidden fruit to mean sexual intercourse; forgetting that God had earlier told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply”, and there was no other way they could fulfill that command except, through sexual intercourse.

So I see no reason why He could afterwards set that as a law which went with a deadly sentence – ‘for the day you eat of it you shall die’-.

Therefore, I want you to come to the understanding that the forbidden fruit symbolizes maturity i.e. a time when mankind starts to know what is good and evil; and that also is the time when the conflict begins to take effect on him. ) 

Hence, we come to the understanding that God began creating Adam and Eve as little babies.

And during that time, the devil was unable to trick them into understanding what was good and evil because they were immature.

So he had to wait until they came of age before he succeeded in making them disobey God.

Therefore, as little children, Adam and Eve helplessly had to depend on God for everything; (the same as our children depend on us). And there was no fault in them since they lacked the knowledge of what was good and evil.

But once they grew into adults and began to understand their selves and their environment; as well as the good and evil therein. God gave them their independence by driving them out of the garden, and they were free to look out for themselves.

(We can accurately observe this process continuing in our human life today; like it or not, there must come a time, a child must grow up and leave his parents to be on his own.)

That was why our Lord Jesus showed us – as we will see in the next scripture that; anyone who wants to be put right with God must return back to those childish days when he had to depend on his parents for everything, i.e. become a little child.

Metaphorically, the Bible refers to the flesh as grass, and this means that the human being is destined to die by way of the flesh but since he has a spirit he has another opportunity to exist if he can overcome the flesh. So let’s see how human beings can overcome the flesh.

How To Overcome The Flesh In The Bible.

The three ways the Bible has shown us to overcome the flesh are:

  1. Repent and be born again.
  2. Study and practice the word of God.
  3. Walk in the Spirit.

1. Repent and be born again.

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mathew 18:2-3)

If you spiritually study the above scripture; you will realize that the kingdom of heaven Jesus was talking about is the same Garden of Eden.

And this is where Adam and Eve lived and freely enjoyed all the graces of God.

So what Jesus was trying to tell us was that, we must again take on those childish characters, so we can be able to gain back the graces of God. In other words, we must totally become ignorant of what is good and evil.

But knowing that we had already attained that level of understanding what is good and evil, it is therefore impossible to become ignorant to them again.

So in another instance, Jesus made it clearer to Nicodemus what He really meant in the scripture above:

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. (John 3:3-5)

In Acts 2:38-39, Peter took the time to explain that everyone should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and they will receive the Holy Spirit as God promised beforehand

2. Study and practice the word of God.

To perfectly remain in the Spirit, one must study and practice the words of our Lord and Savior; Jesus Christ, and His Apostles which were written down in the scriptures.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)

Because this Word is the very Spirit that gives life.

The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63b)

This means that we must study the scriptures deeply; in order to know and do those things that Jesus wants us to do, as well as desist from doing those things he does not want us to do.

And that way, His promise in the scriptures below will be fulfilled in us:

“but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26).

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak: and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:12-13).

And finally, those that twist the word of God to deceive people will not be able to deceive us:

These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in him. (1 John 2:26-27).

3. Walk in the spirit.

I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16).

Now the Spirit we are told to walk in is the same gift we received after repentance and baptism as we can see in the last scripture.

But after that, we need to have a proper understanding of how we can walk in the Spirit because, it is not only about bragging that you have received the Spirit of God, but the manifestation of it cannot be seen in your life.

Now the most important thing about walking in the Spirit is that the individual who does so will find herself obeying all the commandments of God at any given time according to the promise:

“I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:27)

And this promise means that, the Spirit of God will now live in our heart or conscience and control us to always submit to the yearning of the Spirit.

In so doing walk in the Spirit which will give us life; and ignore the lusts of the flesh, which will but lead us to destruction.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. (John 6:63a)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)

For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:8)

Now there are certain things we need to access in our lives; in order to be sure that we are truly walking in the Spirit.

How to know if you are walking in the Spirit?

The two basic ways to know if you are walking in the Spirit are:

  1. Losing confidence in the flesh.
  2. Not sinning on purpose.

1. Losing confidence in the flesh.

The first and most important thing is that anyone who is walking in the Spirit must find himself losing confidence or comfort in the flesh.

That is to say, it will seem as if you are no more existing in the world; because you will lose all the desires of the good things or call it the pleasures of life.

For instance, if you used to love partying, drinking, smoking, womanizing etc. After repenting and receiving the Holy Spirit, you will find out that those attitudes have died out of your life.

And you will even hate those you see continuing in that lifestyle instead of having the desire to join them.

Also the thoughts to acquire expensive things like flashy cars, mansions, jewelries, clothing’s etc; will be a thing of the past, since you will now be eager to live a modest lifestyle.

That is why the scripture says in 1 John 2:15-17 that we should not love the world and the things in it because if anybody loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For the world and all the lusts in it is not of the Father and for that reason, they are going to pass away very soon.

Aside from the above signs, you will often be physically sick; and at times it would seem as if you are going to die. But soon you will find yourself being well again and determined to continue living only to serve God; all this goes to prove that you have lost the confidence and comfort in the flesh.

That was why Paul wrote:

Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24).

2. Not sinning on purpose.

Another point to note is that since we still have the human nature in us: to forget and to err; there are times we will unconsciously, unknowingly, and not on purpose fall into the occasion of sin.

And when this happens, it is the Holy Spirit that will alert us in our conscience; so we could go back to God and ask for forgiveness.

This example can be seen in the case of Peter, who denied Jesus; just because he forgot that Jesus had earlier told him such a thing will happen. (Luke 22:31-34, 54-62).

And also in the case of Paul who went to the temple to undergo the seven days of preparation for the sacrifice of purification, until the Holy Spirit intervened and he was arrested by the Jews from Asia just a day before the event. (Acts 21:17-29.)