“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh
with its passions and desires.”
(Gal. 5:24; NASB)
Have you ever tried telling someone you aren’t able to do something, only to have them take away every reason you had for not being able to do it? It’s very frustrating to say the least. It’s equally frustrating for the person who knows you can do it if you would just stop making excuses. This passage doesn’t give any room for excuses. Either you have crucified the flesh or you haven’t. If you have faith that you can, with Christ, you can.
In Matthew 17 we’re told of a man who came to Jesus about his son who was being controlled by a demon. He told Jesus that he had brought his son to His disciples and they could not cure him. Jesus replied,… “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?"… (Matt. 17:17). Later, after Jesus had freed the boy of his demon, the disciples asked Jesus why they could not drive it out themselves. His response was, “… Because of the littleness of your faith…” (vs. 20). It wasn’t because they couldn’t, it was because they didn’t have the faith to believe they could.
Today’s passage states that those who belong to Jesus have already crucified the flesh. The meaning of this is that we are to be in a continual state of denying the desires of the flesh. It is not something we do once and it’s done. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Denying our fleshly desires and following Jesus is a choice we make daily. It is the decision to do this that should be a one-time event. Then every day we act according to that decision.
The excuses have been taken away. Jesus died on the cross to free us from the grip of sin and death. We must choose to deny the temptations that present themselves every day. When offense comes your way, decide not to be offended. When someone wrongs you, it is your decision to forgive them. Then it is your decision to love them. These are decisions you must make even when you don’t want to. You may have every reason to feel otherwise, but if you do not put that fleshly desire to death, it will hurt you.
In the verse that follows today's passage Paul says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (5:25). Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the discernment to see the devil’s temptations, the wisdom to make the right decisions, and the strength to carry them out. Then be willing to “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires”, in Jesus’ name, every day.
Have a great week and God bless.
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