I had an epiphany, in the dark, while searching for slumber. That seems to be when all of my most humbling and intriguing thoughts come to me. My mind, searching for rest, finds more to ponder.
The following is where my nocturnal musings took me.
After feeling somewhat stagnant for a few years, I finally feel as though I am growing. It is evident that God is speaking to my heart. That my spiritual growth is at unprecedented levels. However...I feel a pull back toward Earth. I can feel my spirit searching to thrive, yet it fails. The growth I am experiencing is not spilling over into every area of my life. In short, my spirit may be growing...but my flesh is lagging.
This all came to me in a moment. My eyes popped open. A ludicrous thought invaded my mind: "If only my flesh could catch up with my spirit!" Then, an almost audible Voice: "Your flesh will never catch up. It must die, or your spirit will never soar."
Inside every believer wages a war. Spirit vs. flesh. They cannot, will not, co-exist peacefully. The flesh must die for the spirit to thrive. Or the flesh will take over. It's a cancer that permeates every area of our precious life. The day the serpent deceived the woman, it was so. The fall. We know the story like a picture book we read to our children. But do we really know what it means for us today? Do we really believe our flesh (sin manifest) will destroy us if allowed to thrive?
The flesh cannot be controlled. It must be dismantled.
How do we feed our spirit and deny our flesh? I mean REALLY deny our flesh? Starve it?So it is weak and without strength and our spirit can soar?
The flesh prospers in our hearts first...then in our lives. I am completely and totally sold out on the idea that most of the enemy's battles are won in our mind. Most of the food we feed to our flesh is eaten in the depths of our hearts where no one can see. We choose others over self, but we resent the choice. We choose work over idleness, but we groan inwardly while we labor. We pick up our child, but feel no empathy for his tears. We speak kindly to our husband, but wish he were different. We choose not to gossip, but allow unkind thoughts to invade our minds. Once the battle is won in the mind, it is only a matter of time before it spills over into our actions. Our lives. Our spirit-filled lives that become choked out by an angry, self-indulgent, resentful, unkind flesh.
At first glance, it's a sad story. A bunch of weary sinners who, contrary to the desire of our hearts, continue to serve ourselves and stifle our spirit. Is it too idealistic to think we can starve our flesh? Are we doomed to a life full of mediocrity? I say no. I say no because the Bible says no.
Hopelessness is a lie fed to us by a slithering serpent who calculates our demise.
Truth. It's what sets us free. True: If we feed our spirit, our flesh will weaken. True: If our hope is in the Lord, we will not be disappointed. True: We can die to our ourselves. True: We can take up our cross and follow Him. True: We can choose righteousness. One caveat: Not on our own strength. All Truth reigns from the Father. You see, it's the Father who sets us free.
We draw near to the Father and our flesh crumbles. We pray without ceasing and our spirit strengthens. We spend time in God's word and our faith abounds. We receive, wholly and completely, the Grace of Jesus when we fail and we are re-born. (Do you hear that, mother-ridden-with-guilt? Grace is for you too.) We diligently serve Christ while denying ourselves and our emaciated flesh will weaken at every turn. Then, and only then, will our spirit soar.
"They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:31