Assaults of the Flesh

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 27, 2016

My people are bent on turning away from me. Hosea 11:7 (ESV)

~~~

“The divine life has its dwelling-place in a fallen fleshly nature. It is encompassed by all the corruptions, weaknesses, infirmities, and assaults of the flesh. There is not a moment that it is not exposed to assaults from within. There is not a natural faculty of the mind or throb of the heart that is favorable to its prosperity, but all are contrary to its nature, and hostile to its advance. As there is nothing internal that is favorable to a state of grace, so there is nothing external that encourages it forward. It has many and violent enemies. Satan is ever on the watch to assault it. The world is ever presenting itself in some new form of fascination and power to weaken it. A thousand temptations are perpetually striving to ensnare it. Thus its internal and external enemies are leagued against it. Is it then any wonder that faith should sometimes tremble, that grace should sometimes decline, and that the pulse of the divine life should often beat faintly and feebly? The saints in every age have felt and lamented this.”

Octavius Winslow

Morning Thoughts, 251-252

~~~

“If we hope to overcome them [the spiritual forces of evil], we shall need to bear in mind that they have no moral principles, no code of honour, no higher feelings. They recognize no Geneva Convention to restrict or partially civilize the weapons of their warfare. They are utterly unscrupulous, and ruthless in the pursuit of their malicious designs.”

John R. W. Stott

The Message of Ephesians, 264




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A Constant War

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 12, 2015

“There never can be absolute peace in the bosom of a believer, so long as we dwell on earth. There certainly is peace with God, but constant war with sin. This law in the members has an army of lusts under him, and he wages war against the law of God. Sometimes, indeed, an army is lying in ambush, and the enemies lie quiet until a favorable moment comes. Likewise, in the heart, lusts often lie quiet until the hour of temptation, and they war against the soul. The heart is like a volcano. Sometimes it slumbers and sends up nothing but a little smoke, but the fire is slumbering all the while below and will soon break out again.

There are two great combatants in the believer’s soul. There is Satan on the one side, with the flesh and all its lusts at his command. Then, on the other side, there is the Holy Spirit, with the new creature at His command. And so ‘the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish’ (Gal. 5:17).

Is Satan ever successful? In the deep wisdom of God the law in the members sometimes brings the soul into captivity. Noah was a perfect man who walked with God, and yet he was led captive. “[Noah] drank of the wine and was drunk’ (Gen. 9:21). Abraham was the friend of God (see Isa. 41:8), yet he told a lie, saying of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister’ (Gen. 20:2). Job, a perfect man who feared God and hated evil, was provoked to curse the day he was born (see Job 3:1). We could give similar examples of Moses, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Peter, and the apostles.

Have you experienced this warfare? It is a clear mark of God’s children. We must ever strive for God’s perfection, but accept His grace when we inevitably fall short.”

The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne, 40-41
Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Sorenson
~~~

John MacArthur wrote in Twelve Ordinary Men (p. 37), “Peter was exactly like most Christians—-both carnal and spiritual. He succumbed to the habits of the flesh sometimes, he functioned in the Spirit other times. He was sinful sometimes, but other times he acted the way a righteous man ought to act. This vacillating man—-sometimes Simon, sometimes Peter—-was the leader of the twelve.”




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The Flesh

Posted by Jerry White on Sep 19, 2013

The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other.

Galatians 5:17 (ESV)

~~~

“What is meant by ‘the flesh’? Dr. W. G. Scroggie detected ten shades of meaning used in the Bible. In nine of the ten, there is no ethical or theological content. But the tenth, which is the one Paul mainly employs, does have such significance. The flesh may be defined as ‘man’s fallen nature as under the power of sin.’ It is the evil principle in man’s nature, the traitor within who is in league with the attackers without. The flesh provides the tinder on which the devil’s temptations can kindle.

In man there are two conflicting principles, each of which strives for the mastery. It is impossible for them to live together in peaceful coexistence. One principle is carnal, the other is spiritual. One is the principle of fleshly energy. The other is the principle of complete domination by the Holy Spirit. Our wills have the responsibility of choosing whether the carnal or the spiritual shall have the ascendancy.

The only remedy for the fleshly, or carnal, nature is that it be crucified, for it is inveterately wicked and incapable of improvement. But how can that be done, for crucifixion is a death that cannot be self-inflicted? That is true also in the spiritual realm. But it has been achieved in the death of Christ.

We have been buried with Him through baptism…. We have become united with Him in the likeness of His death…knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him…that we should no longer be slaves to sin’ (Romans 6:4-6, italics added). It is not left to us to crucify the flesh or self-life; that was done for us in Christ’s death. But it remains for us to reckon it to be true for us (6:11). As we take that ground in faith, the Holy Spirit will make it true in experience, and we shall be emancipated from the dominance of fleshly desires.”

J Oswald Sanders

Enjoying Intimacy With God, 81




Posted in Inward Conflict

Weakness Of Your Flesh

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 1, 2012

Never underestimate the weakness of your flesh.

Jesus said to His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). He shared His burden of soul with them and simply asked them to watch with Him in prayer—but they slept. Finding them asleep when He returned He asked Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But they went back to sleep and ignored their Master’s request. Weak flesh!

David, a man after God’s heart, committed adultery with Bathsheba and then arranged for the murder of her husband. Samson fell because of a woman. Solomon, the wisest man, fell away from the Lord because of women. Simon Peter denied and even swore with an oath that he did not know Jesus. Demas left Paul because he loved this present world (2 Timothy 4:10).

Pastor after pastor in this generation has fallen because of immoral relationships. Christian marriages by the hundreds have failed because of disobedience to the Word of God and because of being controlled by self-centered flesh by one or both partners. Churches have become divided because of fleshly divisions. Men in ministry have become addicted to pornography, as have many other men in churches, even men who thought this would never happen to them. Professing Christian women have become attracted to other men because of unfulfilling marriages or because of secret fantasies. Internet connections have led to illicit relationships and this has led to ignoring or rejecting the claims of Christ because of emotional or physical fleshly desires that have taken over. The Lord plainly tells us, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17, ESV). The only answer (antidote) to the flesh ruling and ruining our lives according to God’s Word is, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, ESV). It is said in another way in Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” We either live in the Spirit’s fullness or our flesh takes over. Never underestimate the weakness of your flesh.

JRW




Posted in Inward Conflict

A Constant War

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 30, 2012

“There never can be absolute peace in the bosom of a believer, so long as we dwell on earth. There certainly is peace with God, but constant war with sin. This law in the members has an army of lusts under him, and he wages war against the law of God. Sometimes, indeed, an army is lying in ambush, and the enemies lie quiet until a favorable moment comes. Likewise, in the heart, lusts often lie quiet until the hour of temptation, and they war against the soul. The heart is like a volcano. Sometimes it slumbers and sends up nothing but a little smoke, but the fire is slumbering all the while below and will soon break out again.

There are two great combatants in the believer’s soul. There is Satan on the one side, with the flesh and all its lusts at his command. Then, on the other side, there is the Holy Spirit, with the new creature at His command. And so ‘the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish’ (Gal. 5:17).

Is Satan ever successful? In the deep wisdom of God the law in the members sometimes brings the soul into captivity. Noah was a perfect man who walked with God, and yet he was led captive. “[Noah] drank of the wine and was drunk’ (Gen. 9:21). Abraham was the friend of God (see Isa. 41:8), yet he told a lie, saying of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister’ (Gen. 20:2). Job, a perfect man who feared God and hated evil, was provoked to curse the day he was born (see Job 3:1). We could give similar examples of Moses, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Peter, and the apostles.

Have you experienced this warfare? It is a clear mark of God’s children. We must ever strive for God’s perfection, but accept His grace when we inevitably fall short.”

The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne, 40-41

Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Sorenson

~~~

Learn to know your weaknesses and where your enemy usually attacks. Be on guard at your weak points. Believe the truth that Christ broke sin’s power at the cross by His death in your behalf (Romans 6:6, 14). Trust Him to make His victory real in your life. Even if you stumble again, continue trusting Him. Some battles are not won easily and immediately. Resolutions never win the battle, only trust in the Lord Jesus does.




Posted in Inward Conflict

His Strength Your Victory

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 21, 2010

My power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

~~~

“When you trust in Jesus for strength, you must feel that your own resolutions, vows, and promises are as useless to stem the current of your passions as so many straws would be in stemming the mightiest waterfall. You must feel that your own earnestness and strength of disposition, which has so long been the praise of your friends and boast of your mind, are as powerless before the breath of temptation as a broken reed before the hurricane. You must feel that you wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with spirits of gigantic power in whose mighty grasp you are feeble as a child. Then, and only then, will you come with all your heart to trust in the Lord your strength.

When the believer is weakest, he is strongest. The child who knows most its utter feebleness entrusts itself most completely into the mother’s arms. The young eagle that knows, by many a fall, its own inability to fly yields itself to be carried on the mother’s mighty wing. When it is weak, it is strong. Likewise, the believer, when he has found out, by repeated falls, his utter feebleness, clings with simplest faith to the arm of the Savior.”

The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne, 179

Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Sorenson

~~~

This lesson is not easily learned because of inbred pride. Pride foolishly thinks it can win over besetting temptations by resolutions, determination, trying harder, and all manner of fleshly mechanisms common to proud humans. After sinful failure a guilty soul vows never to do it again, but then to one’s dismay, temptation comes in an unexpected weak moment and failure once again follows. Disgust, disappointment with one’s self, bewilderment, and questions settle upon one’s soul. How slow we are to learn the lesson stated so well by Major Ian Thomas, “O Lord, I can’t; you never said I could. You can; You always said You would.” It is a process of learning to accept our weakness and to rely upon His strength. Sometimes it is a slow process, but wholly worth the pursuit.




Posted in Inward Conflict

Who Am I?

Posted by Jerry White on Aug 2, 2010

“There is, therefore, a great need for discernment in our self-understanding. Who am I? What is my ‘self’? The answer is that I am a Jekyll and Hyde, a mixed-up kid, having both dignity, because I was created and have been re-created in the image of God, and depravity, because I still have a fallen and rebellious nature. I am both noble and ignoble, beautiful and ugly, good and bad, upright and twisted, image and child of God, and yet sometimes yielding obsequious [slavish] homage to the devil from whose clutches Christ has rescued me. My true self is what I am by creation, which Christ came to redeem, and by calling. My false self is what I am by the Fall, which Christ came to destroy.

Only when we have discerned which is which with us, shall we know what attitude to adopt towards each. We must be true to our true self and false to our false self. We must be fearless in affirming all that we are by creation, redemption and calling, and ruthless in disowning all that we are by the Fall.

Moreover, the cross of Christ teaches us both attitudes. On the one hand, the cross is the God-given measure of the value of our true self, since Christ loved us and died for us. On the other hand, it is the God-given model for the denial of our false self, since we are to nail it to the cross and to put it to death. Or, more simply, standing before the cross we see simultaneously our worth and our unworthiness, since we perceive both the greatness of his love in dying, and the greatness our sin in causing him to die.”

John R. W. Stott

The Cross Of Christ, 285

~~~

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.

Romans 7:21 (ESV)

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 6:14 (ESV)




Posted in Inward Conflict