Have you ever let your flesh get the best of you? Sometimes I get really hungry, and when I get hungry, I get irritable. I can feel it happening, and I just stop caring. I mean, I can feel myself, see myself getting irritable and angry, and there’s a piece of me that recognizes what’s happening, but it’s like I am seeing it through a tunnel, and my flesh, which is hungry, tired, and doesn’t care anymore gets in control of my mouth, and things come out, hurtful things that I regret when I am sated. Some call it “hangry” but it happens whenever I’ve been out of my comfort zone and don’t know what dinner plans are. I try to avoid it, but it still happens. It’s hard to be a Christian and hungry. Lord help me when I fast.
But the flesh takes advantage of spiritual weakness. It’s not that the flesh is evil, for it has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, just as your mind and your soul has. But the flesh is more reactionary. You flinch at the prospect of pain. For some, anger is an easy ally. The flesh wants what it wants, whether it be food, water, rest, or justice. When you are hot, you want to be cool. When you are cold, you want to be warm. And the flesh let’s you know when something is wrong by delivering messages of pain. But the flesh can easily be tempted. Satan’s first temptation of Jesus was to attempt to manipulate Him through His human flesh by asking Him to use His power to turns stones into bread, as Jesus had not eaten for 40 days.
There are opportunities to serve the flesh, and there are opportunities to serve the needs of others, and unfortunately, they often occur at the same time. What would you think of a mother who fed and took care of herself first before she met the needs of her children? Or a father that spent his paycheck on beer and women before paying the bills and needs of his family? We would rightly despise both of them.
Rather, we look at those who sacrifice themselves as noble. Those who give up their own wants and needs and more honorable that those that only serve themselves. This is ideal of altruism. This is the ideal of Christian service, giving sacrificially. And for us, this is freedom. We are no longer subject or slaves to our own desires. That may seem counter-intuitive, since many see freedom as the freedom to do what we want to do. But our wants and needs are different after Christ than before. We do not see our freedom as an excuse to indulge ourselves, but to be free from ourselves, our vices and self-imposed hobbles. We are free from the sin that so easily besets us, so that we may run the race of the Kingdom, for all who finish gain the victory.
Lord help me gain today gain the victory over my life. Every day my flesh with great help from temptation seeks to undermine my spirit and my freedom to serve You. May my food be the will of Him who called me. May my sustenance be the grace he offered me at great cost. May I seek to do Your will today and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.