There are nuggets of information that we hear growing up from our parents and/or grandparents that we think to ourselves, “How is this going to help me when I am older?” Well one of those nuggets was how to change a tire. I had learned how by my dad teaching me with my first flat. The thought that went through my head was, “Don’t you have tow trucks for this kind of thing?” The answer is “yes”, but, considering how life is currently - also the fact that I have a toddler with a small bladder and a wife, also small bladder (she’s pregnant) waiting in the car - I had realized just how valuable and quickly this information had to be put to good use!
Much like flat tires, there are so many unpredictable things in this life that we find ourselves in.
A, “that won’t ever happen to me,” kind of moment. I am not sure what your week has looked like, but were there a few moments like that? Unpredictable moments? How do we deal with this? After the initial shock, where do we turn to? Sometimes it is frustration and anger, bitterness and rage, or shifting blame and creating divisiveness. Whatever it may be, there is a word for the way we choose respond when things blow up in our faces. It’s called flesh, not like skin and bone, but a mindset - a “my way or the highway” way of thinking that is, “against the Spirit…” [See Galatians 5:17]
We all experience our own version of flesh. Let’s get back into my tire-changing story. When the tire started flopping around, making the sound of what I assumed was like me skipping rope - I knew our tire had blown. Immediately, I started feeling panicked, anxious, the weight of the world sitting on my chest, my throat closing up, yet playing it off as if it wasn’t a big deal. We got to an air station, paid the $1.25, tried filling that tire… no dice.
I became frustrated.
Here though, is where we get a choice to choose as believers in Jesus Christ. In this moment, I had two choices. 1) I was to continue reveling in self-pity and continue playing to the flesh’s desires. Or 2) I was to remind myself of who I am in Christ, and realize that I have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is not governed by the flesh, but by the Holy Spirit. [See Romans 8:6, 1 Corinthians 2:16 & Colossians 3:1,2]
In a moment, the only question that filled my head was, “What’s it going to be?” A choice needs to be made, am I to continue in the passions and desires of the flesh? A.K.A. Do I believe that my way is better than my Heavenly Father’s way?
Or... am I to turn from that way of thinking that only leads to death and destruction, and turn my attention - my eyes - to my Savior, Jesus Christ? As believers we are not immune to the waves and winds of the world, but we do have a firm foundation to plant our feet on and shout battle cries back towards those winds and waves. “YOU HAVE NO CLAIM ON ME, JESUS CHRIST IS THE ROCK ON WHICH I STAND!”
It is important to know the enemy’s battle plan, because through the finished work of Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension - God gifts us the assurance that the battle has been won, that through His Son Jesus, He made known that we have acceptance in Him, not as the world accepts, but as He accepts us - like a loving Father who disciplines (builds up) and accepts us based on of who we are in Him.
We have the security that no matter how crappy our attitudes might be one day, He doesn’t disown us
The total commitment that He provided us to have through the life of God’s only Son, that we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, not to conform to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds [Romans 12:1,2] that surrender comes through the great love through which He loved us, not throwing up a white flag like an enemy, but yielding to the awe of our wonderful Creator.
Have we allowed the flesh too much authority in our minds? If you are curious as to what characteristics of the flesh you might exhibit, I have attached a sheet that you can work through. May it provide a way for us to recognize the characteristics of the flesh, but more importantly, how the Holy Spirit has already displayed victory in us - spirit, soul, and body.