I want to know more about the practical living with the Lord Jesus Christ. How can I overcome the flesh daily, so that not I shall live anymore, but Christ shall live in me. How is it possible to be accomplished in practice?
Be a spiritual man
From God’s point view, people are divided into spiritual, those who live at the call of the Holy Spirit and earthly, those who live prompted by their sinful flesh. To overcome the flesh, you have to be a spiritual man, that the Spirit of God may live in you, as it is written in the Scripture:
And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 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. (Romans 8:8–9)(NASB)
People receive the Spirit of God only when they repent by faith with all the heart and enter the covenant with the Lord Jesus. So, if you have not entered the covenant with Jesus Christ, if you were not born again, you don’t have the Spirit of God and you can not overcome the flesh. You have to believe from all your heart and enter the covenant with the Savior, so that you may receive the Holy Spirit.
Live at the call of the Holy Spirit
In the same chapter 8 of the Epistle to Romans, Apostle Paul writes so:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 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, 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. (Romans 8:1–4)(NASB)
If the Spirit of God lives in you, He calls you to act in every situation in a certain way, that is pleased to God. He calls you to study the Scriptures, to pray and to tell people about Christ, to help those who need your help. When you are tempted or confronted with the sin, the Holy Spirit is the one who calls you to stop and even rebukes you. When you read news on Internet, and you open a page with pornography or indecent images accidentally, the Holy Spirit is the one who calls you to leave that page and to protect yourself from anything that can damage your mind. If you are a spiritual man, you will listen to the advice of the Holy Spirit and so you will live a Christian life filled with joy and fulfillment.
Don’t live prompted by the flesh
Even if you have received the Holy Spirit, don’t forget that being on this earth, you still live in your flesh that calls you to sin, as it has been doing all your life since you were born. Don’t be overcome by the flesh. Other time you didn’t have the power to resist its sinful temptations and the calling, but now you have the Spirit of God, who lives in you. Don’t live at the call of the flesh.
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. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 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, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5–8)(NASB)
I remember how once a young woman came to me and told me that she was daily tempted to commit a certain sin. That made her feel extremely bad and very guilty before God. Then, I told her that the fact that she was not following those sins that she was tempted to, is more likely to be a reason of joy for the victories she had had until that moment and not a reason of grief. But, I also told her…
Let us not arouse the lusts of the flesh
In the same Epistle to Romans, Apostle Paul wrote:
Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Romans 13:13–14)(NASB)
What does this mean? Some people focus so much to not sin, so that they all the day think at these sins and in this way, they make provisions in regards to the lusts of the flesh. That’s why, we are called to be according to the Spirit, that is to look for the spiritual things, that are valuable before God. What does this mean in a practical way? Instead of trying to escape from some temptations, try to study the Holy Scriptures, go to a Bible study group, go to church, go to serve other people, share the Gospel with others, do good things to which Christ has called us.
Don’t excuse that we “live in flesh”
I get so much grief when I hear some Christians who excuse themselves for the committed sins, saying that “so is the life on this earth”, or that “we still live on the earth” or “we live in the flesh”. They even cite the next words written by Apostle Paul on the pages of the Holy Scriptures:
I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 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. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:21–24)(NASB)
People use this passage trying to excuse for their sins, saying that Apostle Paul was not able to wage war against the flesh, too. It is not true. Paul shows that he was victorious over the flesh through Jesus Christ and he writes this in the immediate verse:
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. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 7:25–8:2)(NASB)
If you are a child of God born again by faith in the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in you and your responsibility is to live at the call of the Spirit, not of the flesh. Walk according to the Spirit and don’t arouse the lusts of the flesh. If you don’t have the Spirit of God, believe in the Lord Jesus with all your heart and enter the covenant with Him.
Translated by Felicia Djugostran