Romans 7:14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
7:16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.
7:17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
7:19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
7:20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
7:21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
7:22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
7:23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—
13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, NAS
One of the most amazing things for me to discover is how TANGIBLE, how REAL my spirit is. It is not some ethereal imagination, but part of me, like my right hand. The Lord has shown me that I can be doing something in my head and not my spirit, that I can choose which part of me I use, just like choosing to use my right hand or left hand.
We can choose to live in our flesh, or we can choose to live in our spirit. Don’t overthink this, just take this at face value. If we live in the flesh, we obey the flesh—the imbalances and fight or flight responses. We obey the lusts, the desires, the overindulgences.
But if we live in the spirit, if the spirit is in charge, we obey the Lord. Our bodies are sinful. Paul talked about how he saw a battle waging in his flesh—the battle of sin. His mind wanted to do good, but his flesh did not. He delighted in the Lord in his spirit, but his flesh and mind were under attack. Paul mourned about how he wanted to do good, but could not seem to do it.
Is that not just like you and me? We want to do good, but we can feel the battle in our flesh and minds? We know the Lord is good, we want so much to obey Him, but we find ourselves failing time after time?
I always thought it surprising that Paul, such a strong pillar of the body of Christ, would have the exact same battle as I do, just a regular person who could not even manage to leave her house for weeks and weeks.
What changed in him to make him go from mourning his total lack of ability to overcome his own flesh into someone whom the Lord used so mightily? The Bible tells us in verse 7:25—Jesus. Our desire to be good is not enough. We cannot overcome our flesh without Him. We will be tormented, imprisoned, just like you are now, in your flesh. Only Jesus can save you from being a “wretched man”.
We have to be careful, at this point, to not say “See? Even Paul had no ability to fight his flesh. So I am just this way. This is just how I am naturally.”. It is very tempting to stop at the reassurance that we get from Paul also saying he could not defeat his flesh. However, we have to read the verse after he calls himself wretched and says that his body is a slave to sin, and his inner man a slave to righteousness.
Now, this is where the spirit comes in! Both our spirit and the Holy Spirit. This is how you and I defeat OCD, panic disorder, etc.
In verses 1-4 we can see that God sent Jesus to condemn our sinful flesh. What does that mean? We can see in other parts of the Word that Jesus made it so we could overcome our flesh. He defeated our flesh for us. We were powerless, because we were steeped in sin. However, Jesus was not powerless at all! He was powerful and crucified sin in His perfect self when He was crucified. He took all of the sins ever committed in other people’s flesh and put them in His own, allowed Himself to be killed, therefore all sin is killed. His perfect self arose again on the third day. He accepted all punishment for sin when He was crucified, but He also killed sin itself. Now sin has no power in us that we do not give it.
Aha, this is where our part of the deal comes in. We must accept the Lord’s sacrifice. Ok, you are reading this far, you have probably already done that. If not, please see the back of this book so that you can accept the Lord Jesus as your savior (best thing you’ll ever do, I promise!).
Not only, though, must we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, but then we have a duty not to walk any more in the flesh. We do have a choice! Now we can either live in the flesh OR live in the Spirit, just like how we can choose to drink water or drink poison.
How do we, in simple terms, make that choice? We obey the Lord, not our flesh. Paul knew what it was like to literally be incapable, in his flesh, of obeying the Lord. However, Paul knew that through Jesus, he could obey the Lord. Now Paul was not working on his own strength, but the Lord’s. It was not Paul’s righteousness; it was Jesus’. It was not his weakness that was ruling his life; it was the might and power of God Himself.
We choose. We choose to obey the Spirit, which the Lord has given us. Or we choose to obey our flesh. Just like little kids being told not to touch a hot stove, we literally have the ability to use the wisdom of the Lord and not touch sin, or we can ignore the Lord, obey our own desires, and touch the fire of sin and get burned.
Right now you are living in the flesh, not the Lord. You have already been saved from this, you do not have to be here. You can be living in the Lord, in the Spirit, in His might, sacrifice, strength, righteousness, peace, love, joy, patience. Or you can be afraid to leave your house, be surrounded by trash, wash your hands til they bleed, and eventually die in the flesh. Living in the flesh can only bring about our destruction (verse 6-13). You will never get life and peace if you keep walking in your flesh. You will never get better, only worse.
You feel that your flesh is overpowering because you are living in the flesh. Your mind is set on what the flesh desires, not what God desires. As soon as you turn your flesh over to the Lord, and set your mind on what the Lord desires, you will see that you have actual peace, that you can walk in the Lord, in the spirit, and not in the flesh. You will have life and peace.
Make the decision TODAY.