It is absolutely, nearly 100% impossible to look someone in the face and say “I love you” when they have just expressed vicious hatred toward you. It is so, if you are operating in the flesh. Our flesh is one of the weakest elements that exists in the world. I am not just speaking of the fragility of the the skin here; I am speaking also about the utter lack of control we sometimes have over how our fleshly feelings, emotions, and urges make us feel. This is all well and good, because we are all human and we have feelings and emotions and it’s not our fault if we feel hurt, or hatred, right? Wrong. The Word of God tells us that if we truly want to be followers of Christ we have to separate ourselves from the flesh in order to please God. Romans 8:5-8 details this fact:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Though it’s stated here plainly, doing what the Word says is rarely easy. Why is this? Why is it that God calls us to go against our humanly bodies and instead operate in the spirit (Spirit?)? Though this isn’t the state in which He created us (consider the fall of man), He did know we would experience these struggles and that our flesh would be susceptible to such pain. Why then, I ask, does He ask us to rise above? How does He expect us to be able to overcome the desires and urges of the flesh, when it’s SO easy to just give in and get angry, have sex, or hate someone?
I think the answer lies in Jesus. God knew we would have such a hard time alone; he knew that we were slaves to our sinful nature and could not break that bondage without a supernatural force. That force is the Son of man. The blood of Jesus overpowers the blood of man. Meaning, the act of Jesus dying on the Cross was enough power to break through the bondage of the flesh and rise above the earthly body we all have. This is how people are able to say and show “I love you” to someone who is outright mean to them. This is how people are able to deny their flesh and abstain from sexual acts until God blesses them with marriage. This is how people are able to forgive, even when they are still hurting. This is how we can overcome, as believers in Christ. Jesus is our power, and without him we are quite literally helpless.
In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus reprimands his disciples for falling asleep when He requested they stay awake. He reminds them of something that they (and we) should have already known:
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
So, I charge my readers to follow this decree today and everyday. No matter how mature we are in our faith, we must always remember that our flesh is weak and can only be strengthened through prayer, discipline, and the Jesus. He is able, even when we are not!