“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17)
Not long ago, my flesh tried a nasty trick. It tried to defy God, and tell him that He couldn’t or wouldn’t do the same types of things that He has always done — great and mighty works, like parting the Red Sea, or turning water into wine, or causing the walls of Jericho (or any other city for that matter) to come crashing to the ground without the use of weapons, or any other miracle which can be found in the Bible. My flesh basically said — and in no uncertain terms — “God, you can’t do that, you won’t do that, there is just no way, you’re word is not true, you are a liar! I don’t trust you, I don’t believe you, you can’t, you won’t, you wouldn’t, and there’s JUST NO WAY!!!” Man, who was speaking? (I think it was the devil working on me, but I have to attribute it to my flesh that was “not resisting” these lies, but rather, quite passively agreeing with them!)
When I suddenly caught wind of what my rebellious flesh was agreeing with (and I could feel the turbulence building up in and around me), I then did an “amazing” thing (amazing, because I submitted to God!). I said, “Flesh, you are just lying! God CAN do those miracles, God WANTS to do those miracles, and God WILL do those miracles, whether you like it or not! I don’t believe you, because you are just … THE FLESH!” With those words, I felt a turnaround. The “war” that had begun in my soul was immediately quenched — the “fire” that was burning in me, and trying to attack the “spiritual man” inside of me, was quenched (rather, drenched, I would say!).
What is the lesson in all of this? Be on your guard against your own flesh! Yes, the “devil” may be speaking all right, but is your flesh AGREEING? That is the main question! Remember, the devil can do nothing without your consent! Indeed, we wrestle against principalities and powers, but I believe there is even more evidence in the Bible to support the fact that our real “arch-enemy” is not him, but our own flesh! As Paul said, “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body [i.e. ‘my flesh’] and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). In this, Paul was not referring to Satan, but to his own flesh that had an ongoing desire to “defy God.”
Let us not then be disqualified, because we are agreeing with evil thoughts and suggestions, that may well originate from Satan, but to which we are accountable to the extent that we willfully agree with them and refuse to “resist” them. As the Bible says, “Submit to God, therefore. Resist the devil, and he will flee!” (James 4:7). That includes resisting those thoughts and impressions that are coming your way and finally saying, “Yes, God, you CAN, you WANT to, and you WILL do as you say in your word! I believe you, not my rebellious flesh, and not that Satan, that’s for sure! In my own case, the “victory” was won in an instant when I finally agreed with God as to what is true and what is false. Remember, God CAN, God WANTS to, and God WILL do what He says he will do in his word!