Combating the Flesh

Updated: Jul 23, 2020


Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians S:19-21)

All of us want to live an overcoming life. Christianity promises victory over sin, through the finished work of Christ, on Calvary's cross. However, many of us have found it difficult to see this victory manifested in our lives. Instead, we see manifested, what the Bible refers to as the "works of the flesh". These are sinful attitudes, behaviours and habits that remain embed­ ded in us, as part of our fallen human nature.

The Apostle Paul warns, however, that if we continue in these "works" we "shall not inherit the kingdom of God". It is, therefore, critical that we win this war against the flesh. There can be eternal consequences if we don't.

Knowing the enemy we are coming up against is critical, whenever we are in a battle. In this regard, identifying which of these "works of the flesh" are at work in us, is the first step to successfully combating the flesh, and overcoming its effects in our lives. We must know our enemy!

This simple tool defines the terms in Galatians 5:19-21 so we can deter­ mine if any of these "works of the flesh" affect us. The corresponding Bible verses give us an idea of God's thoughts on each of these. Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. The Word of God renews our mind.

Knowing our enemy is part of a strategic approach that we have adopt­ ed, to combat the flesh. Anyone can apply this simple, three-point approach to fight against this inner enemy, and win.

  • Know your enemy

Hebrews 12:1 tells us to throw off the weight and sin that so easily beset/en­ tangle us. We know also that our fight is not against people (Eph . 6:12). 1 Peter 2:11 says that the desires/lusts of the flesh war agaist our soul.

  • Deny yourself

Authentic discipleship begins at the place of self-denial (Matthew 16:23-25; Luke 9:23). Self-Denial is also the avenue through which the flesh can be crucified. Those belonging to Christ have "crucified the flesh with the affec­ tions and lusts" (Gal. 5:24). See also Matt. 18:8,9; Gal. 2:20; Rom . 8 :12-15; 1Cor. 9:27; Rom . 12:1,2; Col. 3.