We must also come to grips with an enemy inside ourselves that the Scripture calls the flesh. The description of the flesh is not a pretty picture: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).
The flesh, as the word is used here, is not your flesh and bones, hide and hair, nerves and sinews. Many of us may be carrying some extra pounds of that kind of flesh, but it is not the “flesh” that is spoken of here.
This flesh is an inherited predisposition to do evil. Our English word comes from the Greek word sarx, which speaks of our “human” or “carnal” nature. We received it from our parents, but it roots all the way back to Adam. As someone once said, we all have “fated genes.” The flesh is like software programming the hardware of our brain and body. And it has a virus called sin.
It may surprise you to know that you don’t need the devil in order to sin. I read of a youngster who hit his sister, called her a bad name, and spit on her. His mother said, “John, the devil made you do that.” He replied, “The devil made me hit her and call her a bad name, but spitting on her was my idea.” We would have a rude awakening if we had the omniscient eyes of God to see just how much of our sin is an inside job for which we can take the credit—or should we say the blame? (see James 4:1).
You might as well admit it—you have an internal foe within the gates of your personality called the flesh. You are a sinner by nature and if Satan didn’t exist, you would go on sinning without his help. He does exist, however, and he uses the world and the flesh in his battle against mankind.
Adrian Rogers, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld (Nashville: B&H, 2002).
I have just completed a six-part Bible Study called based on Adrian Rogers’s book, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.
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