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What You'll Discover in this Episode:


The Flesh in Conflict



Often as Christians we have to surrender our own desires in order to put God and others first.
In order to walk in the Spirit, we have to put to death the lusts of the flesh.


In this podcast, we will first look at a few verses about the weakness of the flesh, the battle we have with the flesh, and how the flesh contributes to making conflicts worse, and reaps sin in conflicts. Then, we will look at some examples of men and women in the Bible who acted in the flesh, so we can see some practical examples of what it means to walk in the flesh, and what some characteristics of walking in the flesh are.


Hopefully we will become more aware of the flesh so we can choose to crucify the flesh when it pops up its ugly head, and choose to walk in the spirit.


Through learning about the flesh, we will become better as biblical counselors in gently helping people see their flesh when they are in conflict or in sin, and help them learn how much of a better way God offers, when He offers for us to walk in the spirit.


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  • Thank you for this podcast Pastor Jeff. It is an eye opener to see how strong the flesh wants to do what it wants. In Romans 7:18-19 say “For I know that in me (the flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will, I do not do; but the evil I will not (to do), that I practice. Some years ago, I just have gotten a divorce from my husband. I was invited to a wedding anniversary party. I knew well alcohol was going to be part of it. But I went anyways. Long story short I drove drunk at night from Dade County to Broward County. The next morning, the Lord spoke to me. He gave me Proverbs 31:4-7 “..it is not for kings to drink wine….lest they drink and forget the law…give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more”
    Two things in this podcast that are signs we are acting on the flesh: hiding from the Lord and blame shifting. I guess I did both, I hid from the Lord and I blame on my misery to give me a pass to put people on danger. I could have caused an accident on the freeway and leave my daughter perhaps without a mom.
    It is great to know that the Holy Spirit can help us discerning the flesh from the spirit. Hebrew 4:12.

    • Amen,
      Thank you for sharing and confessing your struggle,
      I pray for you and your family that your thirst to be an intentional mother that leaves a godly legacy continues. I agree on blame-shifting and it is a tool that the enemy uses to keep you in sin. You are victorious in Him.
      God loves you,
      p

    • I can relate to Romans 7:18-19, I feel that way all the time. Those verses are a comfort in that they speak of the struggle between the flesh and Spirit and that we are not alone, but we all struggle in this battle. Praise God for His forgiveness because He is the only reason we have been accepted into the family of God. There is nothing good in us. It is nice to be able to agree with God. I am so very grateful for His word and the grace and mercy He shows us even when telling us we have done something wrong. Thank you for sharing so openly with us.

      • Donneen, thank you for replying to my post.
        You are right, praise God for His forgiveness. Only a God who loves us so much could be so patient with us. He doesn’t look at us as how we are now, but as how we will be looking later: His work of art.

  • Thanks, Jeff for this podcast. The flesh in conflict with the spirit is a reality in the life of the Christian. In our daily lives, there are temptations that appeal to the flesh, the flesh gets in the way of the spirit’s willingness to serve God. And they come so loud and demanding, making one so uncomfortable until the desire or appeal of the flesh is satisfied. It could be as simple as a desire to get up and pray and the struggle with sleeping a little more. I believe that’s the reason for the command to mortify the desires of the flesh on a daily basis. It’s a battle, sometimes we win, and at other times we lose. And for me, it comes with so much discouragement when the struggle ends up on the losing side. But as Jeff said, it should not be a reason to despair, we should rather take the matter to God in prayer persistently until the flesh is crucified and ceases to be dominant in our lives. The will of God for us is to win all the way, walking in the spirit, so that we do not fulfill the desires of the flesh.

    • Amen
      Thank you for sharing
      I struggle with depression and while it is mild there are days where I don’t have the physical energy to connect with Him through reading and praying but after pushing and small victories my days get full of HIs strength and might it is not easily overcome every time but it has become less burdensome to enact and dwell in HIm.
      Thanky ou for your transperancy

    • I often get discouraged too when I fall short. I think a lot of it for me has to do with not being heavenly-minded. In those times when I fall short I often think about the long battle ahead and can almost be borderline condemning myself instead of remembering “the war is already won, there is no condemnation in Christ.” Just meditating on the fact that God wants all of us to succeed in him, and that he is our biggest support and supporter. Thank you for your post!

      • Desiree, I love it that we have the victory over our sin and flesh through Christ. He will always help us when we cry out to Him and choose Him and His ways. He is so much more powerful than the sin in our lives. I am so glad for His strength and power over the battles we face.

      • Amen Desiree! The battle is won, and the Lord who won it has declared us victors as well! It is so easy for me to fall into the trap of looking at my sin, my failures, and not at the sinless one who has declared us clean. Some days I get so wrapped up in the flesh that I don’t remember that our God does not condemn us; we are made holy instead. When I finally come to my senses, like the prodigal son, I head back to my Abba and repent.

      • So true! We forget that the battle has already been won! The enemy is so sneaky and gets us so distracted and gets our eyes off the Lord in times of trouble. I have always been a pick myself up by the bootstraps kinda girl and so I get overcome by things simply because I forgot that Jesus has already settled by debt. Condemnation is the hardest of things to deal with for me, and I often find myself beating myself up and joining in the negative chorus. My flesh is brutal unto itself, the world has taught me well. And even though I have been walking with the Lord for a time, sometimes I just forget what the Spirit is saying and doing.

    • Ugh…that last 2 mornings I just did not want to get out of bed and stayed in an extra hour! I had been talking to the Lord about my desire to sleep just a little longer… I now stand convicted that my flesh won, where my thoughts are that i need to rise up just a little earlier. Do you find that when you try to do something different, the previous way seems to battle with the new way you want it to be done? I think that this is what Paul was saying when he said that he does what he doesn’t want to do; it’s that battle with the flesh. I realize that this is just “sleeping” but for me it’s a big deal because my desire is to wake up a little earlier so that i can have coffee & get in the Word, pray, and begin schoolwork for that day. It’s been a struggle for me to get to bed before 11pm and wake up no later than 6am. I am discouraged when I am so weak in the mornings. My husband gets up at 2:30 each morning, even if he has only had a few hours of sleep; he is truly a man of strength and I look up to him for conquering the flesh (but he comes home and is in bed when the sun just dips down on the other side of the mountain peak). I have always wanted to be a morning person, but never was, and always wanted to get to sleep early, but never could. It’s frustrating for me.

      • No need to be discouraged, Kristi. Just keep asking the Holy Spirit to help you, and sooner than later, you will begin to see His hand at work. He will not only make sure you get up early but also that you get up refreshed. He is indeed our paraclete/helper and has never failed. The Lord is your strength.

      • Oh wow Kristi I totally get you with this!! And yes it’s just “sleeping” but I think for some people (like me!) it really can be a battle against the flesh. Honestly I think I will battle this for the rest of my life because I just hate waking up early. Anyway, I would encourage you not to compare yourself to your husband, and also not to be discouraged each day that you wake up later than you hoped. Remember His mercies are new every morning and each day is a new opportunity to die to self!

        • Sleeping in is really a battle, especially since quarantine called us to stay home for a period of time. But even as a child I could never sleep less than 8 hours and naps were never less than 4; I could never take a power nap because it would be at least 4 hours. I sleep so deeply that I have slept through storms and earthquakes, and my husband jumping up and down on the bed to wake me. Alarm clocks don’t sink in. It’s truly a struggle. The only time that changed was when I was raising children, and currently when our littlest granddaughter stays the weekend.

          I try so much not to compare myself to my husband’s strength, and he tells me that all is well; but one of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer is to get up before the sun rises and sit outside with a cup of coffee while the sun is rising. I like to listen to the birds, pray, and now that I’m in “my favorite kind of school” I want to begin early.
          “Die to self” each day by rising early, is in prayer, and a simple desire, but nonetheless would be a battle I would like to win. I love “His mercies are new each morning!” Thanks for your response, and that you understand the struggle.

          • Hello Kristi, thanks so much for your honesty and openness. I love how you shared who you are, what your experience has been in your life. The beauty of our relationship with Christ is the ability we have to be flexible in all of these areas.

            When I first came to faith many times I would rise early and pray and read my Bible seeking for a fresh Word or an encouragement from God for my day. In my current season we have 4 kiddos and they are all relatively young so getting up ahead of them can be difficult at times especially on the weekend. But I have found such solace in stepping outside to quite my heart, mind, and soul as the business of being married, a father, and pastor is enough to constantly keep the mind moving. But standing on my front lawn in the dark of night with the crisp air, taking a moment to breath in and out, and see how far I can hear or listening to the sound of snow hitting the ground. Realizing that God is present in this moment and I want to be too.

          • Thanks for sharing Kristi and being so honest, that is definitely one of my struggles right now too! I usually have a desire to be up earlier to get more done throughout the day and be more productive for myself, Christ and others but I also feel guilty when I don’t! I think this is definitely a place to deny the flesh and feed the spirit.

      • I’ll throw my two cents in here . . . only because I’m aware that this problem you describe can be health related. Often when we counsel folks who have a symptom of what could be the flesh we can lose sight that fatigue, sleepiness, even depression, can all be related to physical issues which can be treated. Do you snore? Do you have sleep apnea? Do have have low thyroid? Do you have high blood sugar? Do you drink too much coffee and don’t sleep deeply? Once we pray for a good doc and then pray for God to give the doc wisdom for us and still no diagnosis is apparent, then we look to the spiritual causes. Hope this helps Kristi! 🙂

        • Hi Carolyn,
          You bring up a really good point!
          I had some of these problems in the past and PRAYED repeatedly over the cause and for healing, and I know that the Lord heard me and gave me the answer. I have an underactive thyroid since 2004-ish, and I had breast cancer in 2018 where I then became so angry with my doctor for filling up my medicine cabinet rather than helping me to understand and heal as I asked, that I threw out all of the medicines that she had me taking except for the thyroid medicine, and sought out a holistic doctor. I refused conventional treatment, for a more holistic way, but I did have surgery. I also did several genetic tests and I found that I have a gluten intolerance and lab created folic acid sensitivities; apparently since childhood which went unchecked though the symptoms were always there. When I cut out gluten and folic acid from my diet, my body naturally reached homeostasis; I lost about 80lbs. and 4 sizes, and am no longer diabetic, nor do I have high blood pressure. My thyroid is slower than normal people, but I find that the more I eat greens that contain sulforaphane, the more it heals or works better. I truly believe that diet has so much to do with problems that could be passed off as “things of the flesh,” as you have said, and as Pastor Jeff said in a previous class, where making changes could resolve issues that present itself as depression. So many are unaware that diet plays a huge part in what could be called, “well rounded” Christianity.
          Thanks so much for bringing up a great point Carolyn!

          • Kristi Wilson, thank you for sharing a comment on the health factor on behavior issues. I believe this is important like Jeff mention in one of his podcasts the importance of health and sleeping habits. I had major anxiety that caused me a panic attack. It turns out that I had severe sleep apnea since childhood. Usually, this is cured by losing weight or with a mouth guard but mine is genetics. However, since using a CPAP machine my energy has increased and I’m free from anxiety.

      • After the time change last weekend, it has been incredibly hard to get up early to get anything done that I need to for school! Sometimes I think it would be nice to live in Arizona because they don’t every change their time! I need to try to figure out what time it actually is this week so that I can go to bed early and then wake up early so that I can get stuff done!

      • Kristi, I can totally relate! I have never been a morning person and come to find out it is because of Cortisol. Mine spikes in the evening instead of early morning and so I am up late and struggle to get up early. Dragging is an understatement. I have spent the better part of 20 years beating myself up because I could never get up before my household to spend time with the Lord or working on my side hustle. In times when I am up in the early morning hours I feel the solitude and peace and it is amazing and makes me frustrated with myself all the more. I loved what you said about finding the physical ailments that may hinder us and set about to heal those things. I do find also that we can get so Legalistic and Ritualistic and put yokes on one another that God never intended. Yes, setting up the day with the Lord is amazing. In studying the brain and mind there is great evidence showing the first hour of the morning dictates the rest of the day, so we definitely want to get our mind right straightaway. Yet what is the time factor or what is the time of morning is an individual thing. For me I spend the last hour of my day with the Lord, we sort and reflect upon the current day and we plan for tomorrow. When I wake I am reminded of what we discussed the night before and some mornings it is all but a quick prayer of praying those things over the day, or some mornings it is just laying in bed a while longer, basking in the blessing of a new day and asking Him to guide my way through it.
        I have tried all the methods out there to be a “morning person’ and right now my prayer is that God wakes me when He wants me to be awake. Some times it is the middle of the night and other times it is perfectly that miracle morning rising an hour before and still other days I can barely drag myself out when the snooze does off for the third time. It is a topic where we need more grace upon grace and prayer that if it is our flesh that needs discipline God will bring it.
        I too have had thyroid issues since my 20’s and always been low normal, but nothing has felt normal about the way I have felt all these years. I am getting tests done with a holistic practitioner now and I am hopeful the data shows what has been wrong all these years and we can correct it. I will be praying for you as you continue to work with a holistic health provider too, our bodies are amazing and when they come back online they can do anything. May the Great Physician touch you today, In Jesus Name! Amen

      • I am not a morning person. And my flesh wanting rest in the morning is such a battle. But, I also love staying up late, and I honestly have most of my quiet time alone with the Lord in the late nights. This just is how I function. I am not sure why I have insomnia, but I do. I do always tell people I disciple, check the physical, because things like thyroid, celiac, and other physical ailments can reveal itself in how we function. I have had to seek out a holistic doctor for chronic panic attacks, because the “regular” doctor just gave me pills. I want to know why my body “whacked out” at 40 years old. I found out I am one bread slice away from being having celiac disease and that my diet should consist of be gluten and dairy free. I also have many nodules on my thyroid, one which is tested yearly, although all my blood work seems to be fine. This diet alone has decreased my migraines and joint pain, and other things that hindered me. I have seen a great decline in panic attacks, but now I have to retrain (or transform) my mind from the remembrance of those panic attacks, because know I have anxiety about the possibility of having panic attacks, because they come out of nowhere, so I feel as though I am always on a heightened alert mode.

        I hate sharing this thorn in my side, because of the stigma, and not wanting it to define me, or hinder what the Lord is calling me to do. So thank you for sharing, it has obviously sparked a great conversation and a lot of honesty.

        • The stress of this world has so many of us stuck in fight or flight mode and our bodies are not designed to be in a constant state of stress. I am working with a practitioner now to bring myself out of it, and into the rest and digest state. I am finding out more and more that what is needed is quiet time with the Lord. I am understanding why Jesus went so often up into the mountains alone to pray. Solitude with the Spirit is our stress reliever.

      • Isn’t it something how the crux of our calling to remain faithful to our Lord and obedient is really in the little things? I have my time with the Lord at night largely because this has been a time the enemy has come to torment me (since I was very little). I must remain faithful to this time that is set aside for my Lord. God has blessed my life with this small commitment of time that I have made and I am humbled by the radical things God has done in my heart.
        I pray that God helps you find your niche with Him and that it is sweet and a refreshment for you in every way.

    • I love your words, “to mortify the desires of the flesh on a daily basis.” It sounds like a strange form of torture but it feels so good once it is practiced! Yes there are losses but the victories are encouragement. And the losses actually encourage also and give us the dependency we need for Holy Spirit to be relied on!

      • Hello Kendal! Your comment reminds me of our call to count the cost of being a disciple of Christ daily. Matthew 16:24 , Jesus extends his call to us…”If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me.” This is where the rubber meets the road in our daily choices. Choose life in Christ or death in our flesh.
        Thank you for posting!

      • True Kendall, 🙂
        this reminds me of Hebrews 12:11 –

        “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

        Our flesh never wants to be denied and will scream out at times but the reward is worth it.
        ‭‭

        • Amen and thanks for sharing your response, Leslie. After reading your post, I was reminded of why the Lord disciplines those whom He loves. He loves us that much not to keep us where we are at in our spiritual walk. Often times the flesh wants to exalt itself in the midst of our trials, and James would say to pray for the wisdom that we lack because it produces patience in us, which “yields that peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.” I was reminded of James 3:17-18, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Your so right on when you mentioned, “our flesh never wants to be denied and will scream out at times but the reward is worth it.” Thanks for sharing, Leslie. This ministers to me in so many ways. May the Lord’s grace, mercy and peace continue to will our hearts as we desire more of Jesus.

          • Thanks, Oliver. As a young believer, I would go through discipline from the Lord and think that He had abandoned me, and that’s why I was facing hardship. No one told me that the Lord would polish and shape us through the process of discipline. I guess I still thought that being a believer meant that all the troubles were past and it would be smooth sailing. In some ways, the flesh causes us to stay like little children, complaining that life isn’t fair and God doesn’t love me because He doesn’t give me everything that I want when I want it. Like so many other aspects of my youth, when I think back on my early walk with the Lord, I shake my head and blush.

      • Amen. Thanks for sharing, Kendal. As I was reading your post, I was reminded of Galatians 2:20-21, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” I notice for myself that when I crucify the flesh and live in the spirit, it’s so liberating and there is so much victory in walking with Jesus. Thanks for sharing, Kendal. This ministered to me.

    • Sometimes it is easy to wonder WHEN something will not long be a battle, and, YES, it can be discouraging. When I read what you said about taking the matter to God in prayer persistently until the flesh is crucified AND CEASES TO BE DOMINANT IN OUR LIVES, I had that proverbial ‘aha’ moment. It’s like putting out a fire… It may be slow work, and little hot spots flame up, but if you continually put them out when they pop up, eventually the fire will be put out.

      • Myrrh – This has given me the best mental picture. I love your comment that the fighting of our sinful nature is “like putting out a fire…It may be slow work, and little hot spots flare up” but that with the consistency of our daily dying to self and re-commitment to walk in His Spirit we can work together, with Him, to put the fire out. I took your comment even further in my mind, as I am super visual. I used to live in S. California and in regards to fire season and landscaping we would maintain a fire resistant landscape. We would pick plants that resist ignition and strategically plant to resist the spread of fire if it occurred. Paired with your visual I am working to make my own personal landscape more fire resistant to the temptations of the flesh. Thank you!

    • Songo, I so agree with the assessment of the flesh, and how it feels when one ends up on the losing side. As you mentioned, our flesh is “so loud and demanding, making one so uncomfortable until the desire or appeal to the flesh is satisfied.” Just last night I was experiencing this uncomfortable pleading when a phrase from Colossians 3 came to my mind: “For you died…” If I belong to Christ, then I am already dead! So what can flesh do to me? The struggle with the flesh becomes more intense when I let pieces of it stay alive. It is when I reckon it dead that its cries lose power.

    • Songo I really liked what you wrote it was good to focus on the aspect of our daily lives. For me personally I have been setting my alarm for 4:45 AM cause I am up at 5:30 AM for work anyway and I take time to pray for a few moments for my family, myself, and those in our church and that we are in relationship with that don’t yet know Jesus. Such a good encouragement to put the flesh down instead of spending a ton of time sleeping engaging in spiritual practices and spiritual formation.

    • I can conquer with that. The subtleness of laziness has crept into my daily habits in a week and are so hard to reverse. There is victory in Christ to overcome the flesh, and I need to be reminded of that all the time. I learned to rely on God to fulfill my inner desires, but my outward desires to accomplish life in a day… Faulty at best. Walking in the Spirit, and allowing the Spirit to work in me, definitely takes some crucifixion of the flesh. I have to remember that self-control is a fruit of the spirit, and I must practice that and let that branch bare much fruit!

    • I can relate to the struggle when I give into my fleshly desires, I get discouraged and down on myself, but I am learning that’s not what I need to do, I need to go to God in prayer, and confess, and ask the Spirit to guide me through, I believe we need to be going to God daily as we are sinners and on our own we can’t die to our flesh but with God, seeking Him daily for guidance and wisdom. He can get us through each day strengthening us in His desires and his ways. the more we walk in the Spirit the easier it’ll be to start dying to our desires. It’s a battle we will have till the day we go to heaven, but with the proper tools we can learn to let our flesh lead us. and let God lead. Thank you for sharing

    • Hi Songo- it is discouraging when we end up on the losing side of the flesh when we have such a heart to please God!! I was just listening to the third video teaching from Bob Hoekstra on Counseling God’s Way and he mentioned the fiery darts that the enemy can send our way at times. He used the term, “thought provocation”. I thought this was so descriptive and accurate! Thoughts do come in our minds to feed or satisfy the flesh in some way and at times I have misperceived those thoughts and concluded that they were from God. They can be so very persistent! We can be deceived to think we should be doing something when it is not from the Lord. God help us to have the discernment we need know the difference!

    • I agree with so much you have said. I also think that the struggle isn’t the failure, but giving over to the struggle. How you said, it brings so much discouragement. The enemy loves to tempt us, and then when we give into the temptation he loves to then keep us in a place of discouragement and guilt. Whether we stumble, tumble or fall, we need to not give even our failures over to the enemy or our flesh, but rather give our failures to the one who is able to restore and give mercy and grace. He wants all of us, our mountains, our valleys, our failures, and our victories.

  • Great podcast discussion on “The Flesh in Conflict”. Whether we are new believers or have been walking with the Lord for years, the battle with the flesh is an ever-present reminder of our human frailty and God’s sufficiency. In terms of finding a biblical example of the flesh in conflict, we need to look no further than the very beginning in Genesis. Our original parents, Adam and Eve, faced the same temptations that appeal to the flesh that we experience today, namely, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).

    The temptation to hide from God and shift blame comes naturally to us. The propensity to hide and blame does not require much conscious effort or training on our part. If any of you have raised kids, you, like me, are most likely familiar with this all too familiar pattern of behavior. God’s remedy for our weaknesses in our flesh is His sufficiency. God’s provision of His Holy Spirit empowers us to gain victory in areas of our lives that simply would not be possible without Him. In light of the fact that we all struggle, “For we all stumble in many things” (James 3:2), we can restore one another gently by walking in empathy.

    • The thought that God narrowed down every problem that would ever surface in the world in the Story of Adam and Eve blows my mind every time I think of it.
      Hm yes, God’s remedy for our weakness in the flesh is his sufficiency. Well stated and so full of truth. It’s wonderful to think of the simplicity of God that all we have to to is rely on Him to be brought into the Spirit.

    • The sufficiency of God amid our failings was something that stood out to me in reading Chapter 4 of How People Change, by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp. It is refreshing to know that He gives us victory when we are faced with impossibilities. We truly can do nothing without Him. I find that many times I think I can do something in my own strength or that there are limited things I can’t do without God, but really, there is nothing I can do without Him. He is my sufficiency. Thank you for your comments, it is a great reminder to look to God for everything.

    • Thanks for sharing Sumit.
      The stories I read in the Bible give me so much hope. Some characters are just like us, sinful people.
      Thanks be to God that even if our flesh runs against the Spirit, We still can claim victory with the help of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

      • Great reminder, Karin. The fact of the matter is, outside of Jesus Christ, we’re all “sinful people”, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Despite this fact, and because of this fact, God’s light can best shine through the cracks within broken vessels. Just consider some of the people that God used mightily listed in Hebrews 11, “The Hall of Faith”. Imagine, all these years later, a woman named Rahab, who is described as a “harlot”, is honored for her great faith. In fact, this same Rahab is part of the Lord’s family tree.

    • True, Sumit! The temptation to hide from God and shift blame, are natural and as such are also things we should watch out for in our counselees as indicators of the operation of the flesh, so we can rightfully speak the truth in love to them. Whenever I read the portion of Genesis, where Adam and Eve hid, I always wondered how one can hide from the Omnipresent One. It is self-deception and an exercise in futility.

      • Very good point, Songo. Hiding from God is surely an “exercise in futility”. As the psalmist wrote, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). The temptation to run or hide from God is rooted in deception, both from the enemy and from ourselves. Sometimes even we as Christ-followers can forget who we are in Christ and we mistakenly think that our relationship with God is performance-based.

  • What a great reminder that we all can act on the flesh but we have an advocate that helps and trains us to discern when our desires are acted upon and we harness sinful actions, I have friends that hold me accountable as well myself in their lives and it can only be done by God’s way because we tend to get our rightness instead of righteousness. I really enjoyed that Pastor Jeff included that everyone is a biblical counselor when applying scripture and prayer to helping others because it demonstrates that God uses all of us for the greater good in us. In my opinion, we are to form habits of disciplines to help us crucify the selfish person that wants to reside in us, the more we act on it the easier it gets.
    Thank you for this amazing reminder

  • I would like to share a dream I had from last night. I pictured the house I grew up in, and from a certain room in the house, I slept in as a child, this room was turned into a kitchen with a stove, cupboards, and counter space. I was preparing a big meal for my family and all of the extended families related to our last name – probably about 30+ people. I did well at making the courses as far as taste (better in the dream world than in real life) but I was taking a long time to prepare everything because I wanted the meal perfect and flawless.
    My family in the dream began to say they were hungry and when will the meal be ready? I had enough food to feed an army but I wasn’t serving it when the time was right, and I was waiting longer when I thought it was time.

    When I woke, I knew this was one of those dreams I was to consider, and what I took from it is, when at the pulpit in real life, I find it tempting to rely on myself too much, in the way of many hours of preparation and super note-taking and considering and preparing and contemplating, going way beyond the allotted time the Lord wants me to do in the sermon and other messages in the way of preparations (and yes the Lord wants plenty of preparation to occur) but I should be stopping prep at a point in my life, then giving reliance upon the Spirit from that point.

    What God was saying lines right up with a struggle of the flesh from today’s podcast. A “spiritual feeding” as the food was represented in the dream, needs to be shared when the Holy Spirit calls us to it to share it and to rely solely on Him timing and not from our perspectives. I truly believe this applies to every area of our life as well because we do consider things with our minds and bodies as God has arranged it to be so, but letting go and letting God must occur at some point in the process – whether preaching or living everyday life, let us remember this, God is for us, not against us!

    • It’s so easy getting caught up in “doing” instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus. Just like Martha being the busy bee preparing a meal being anxious and distracted, when she could have been getting feed herself with food that is eternal. (Luke 10:38-42) These verses are powerful for us to always remember when we are in the flesh it causes us to be distracted and not resting at the feet of Jesus. It’s wonderful knowing that even when we are at work we can find peace. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

      • Hello Michelle,
        I think I have felt more like Martha than Mary at times for sure. What a wonderful account of where we should be? It’s so easy to try and do for God in preparation instead of being with God in the food He wants to give us. Lesson learned for sure. But I also have to share this – Even though I knew this dream was an adjustment from the Lord, I felt no condemnation from Him. I wish I could learn this better in serving in leadership where my enthusiasm has been taken as a boldness, bordering on pushy. I am working on that. May we use wisdom in what we learn, and then when to apply what we know is right, and so that it is perceived in a Godly way and intent.Thank you

    • Hi Sam, You know what I first thought before you gave the interpretation of your dream? When you said your childhood bedroom became a kitchen where you prepared a meal for your entire family, I first thought: the bedroom in which you were kept safe with the comforts of growing up, has turned into “you” becoming the one who now comforts. the meal that you are preparing is the Word of God, which you are learning, which is why it’s taking so long, and where you will then give back to them the life that you have been given through knowledge of the Word (which is saving, and life-giving), and tastes better than anything that our flesh could ever cook up.
      I often have dreams that have significant meaning and I have to ask the Lord to reveal the meaning to me if it isn’t immediately known. I have even had some dreams mixed with visions that I had to write down, and I knew that they were from the Lord because they have happened. Why “I” had the dream or vision, I have yet to understand because the significant ones, there was nothing I could do to change the event and warning people would only cause panic. I do know that the Lord speaks to us in dreams, so if you are having dreams (also prophesied in Revelation in the end times), write them down. I may be that sometime in the future, that dream will have a meaning on a significant life event; or, it may be just a word for you.
      This is strange because yesterday I was caught up in writing about dreams and visions as a response to Barry Scarborough’s rapture video. I never sent the response, but I saved it in a Word doc. on my laptop. I have always had dreams and visions, even wrote a book about it that I just cannot muster up the courage to publish because of backlash. Anyway, I hope you write them down because that is what the Lord told me to do and for years I didn’t because I thought they were of the flesh, until the last few years when I see them actually happening.
      I’m glad you shared this. Thank you and Blessings to you!

      • Hello Kristi,
        That is a very good idea. I will keep a record of this dream and for others after it. I too felt it was not as important as maybe I should have considered it. I have heard we are closest to the Lord when asleep not having the effects of life going on all around us. I think they may be onto something. May the Lord speak to us again soon to convey His will in our dreams. By the way, I appreciated your interpretation of my dream. You may have a gift in this, to help the body of Christ understand the Lord better. Thank you for sharing what you took from it. I see how you came up with what you did!

        • I thought you might want to see this. There are 70 scriptures in the Bible that reference “dream,” and 80 verses that reference vision. I would have liked to have had this kind of reference when I was a child; I think I would have taken my dreams a little more serious than I did, and I would have written them down. Several years ago my husband gave me a journal to write down my dreams. I told him about some of the dreams that I have had and couldn’t make sense of some. There have been times when I have had a vision about a certain person, as if it was a forewarning, and the vision occurred; but, I never told the person. I felt that if I would have told the person, then I would not be speaking life into that person. I think it’s really important to know when to share it and when not to share it, which is something that I haven’t grasped yet; nevertheless, I only share the details of dreams and visions with my husband.
          Dream:
          https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=dream&t=ESV#s=s_primary_0_1
          Vision:
          https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=vision&t=ESV#s=s_primary_0_1

    • I love this analogy! I have been finding myself in the same position while preparing for different studies. It is important to do things excellence, and study to show ourselves approved as Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:15. Yet we should also take to the words of Jesus in Matthew 10. In moments most crucial, Jesus says not to “worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Although this example is given in reference to being delivered before rulers and authorities, the principle remains. It is the Spirit of our Father who speaks in us, and any fruit from our ministry will come from resting and relying on Him.

    • Hello Sam, thank you again for sharing, this time your dream. I so appreciate and admire your steadfast longing to serve God and His church, aiming for perfection as it translates in your dream. I’m no interpreter of dreams, nor will I attempt to do so. I am just here to encourage and lovingly remind each other that ‘His yoke is easy and the burden is light.’ We can rest knowing that He puts us wherever we’re at in our lives, ministries, our families or church families with great confidence that we’ll do well because we have Him in mind to please.

    • I so agree Sam, God is for us and not against us. Why do we thing that we have the better answer than God? Why do we believe that we have the better way than God? It is because of our flesh and that is why God wants us to give that up. Why is it so hard? Because it is a part of us, we have had it all our lives and been taught that it is all that we need to be sufficient. But as we know, all we need it the truth and the truth will set us free. May God bless your preaching in the power of His Holy Spirit and in doing so bless your life for the Glory of God. Amen

  • One of the messages in this Podcast that designated with me was the necessity to evaluate ourselves and whether we are walking in the flesh of the Spirit before we can minister to others. Personally it is extremely difficult for me to speak truth into someone’s life about a specific situation or struggle if I am still going through it as well. I have to learn what that particular truth looks like in faith then action before I minister to others. Otherwise I feel like an “empty vessel.” That is not to say, “I need to have gone through everything that person has to counsel them.” I am speaking in relation to living in the flesh and Spirit. Pastor Jeff states that we need to walk in the Spirit in order to have victory and from there we have a boldness and confidence to minister to others. We need to first check ourselves and address the log in our own eyes.
    “Anemic nature”- old way of thinking before Christ
    This term really stood out to me. As Anemia refers to a deficiency in the blood, this word is so fitting for the description. In our old way of thinking we are lacking truth and life. The sacrifice of Jesus is no where to be found in our thoughts and his blood sacrifice is absent. This term shines a new light on the way I think of “fleshly thoughts.”

  • God has been working on me to check my weaknesses so that I will be able to walk in empathy toward others. I find we are so easily able to blame and condemn others for their actions. But when we can see the absolute wickedness of our own flesh, we can then see that we are not so far off from those we want to condemn. God does let us go through things that cause us to understand other’s positions better so we will empathize with them instead of judging them. It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 1:4 “[God] who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” If we can meet others in this attitude of grace, and not in one of judgment, we will do well in showing and leading them toward Christ.

    • I too have the same issue. I have a “plank condition”, Im willing to tell someone that they have a speck in their eye, but not willing to take the plank out of my own eye. When God revealed my condition of the heart, it was not pretty and just like you help, it made me better at being understanding and compassionate. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your heart. Blessings!

      • I find I am willing to be transparent with God because He doesn’t turn around and hurt me with my confessions. People on the other hand are sometimes less forgiving and more condemning. My reluctance is in telling others of my stumbling. It is good to see that there are people willing to look at others with compassion and empathy.

    • That is so true Donneen, I was also touched by this point of the sermon. Being aware of our own weaknesses and struggles creates empathy and keeps us from condemning others. I love the verse you added, I have been thinking of that verse almost daily!

      • Thanks for commenting on my post. God’s word is full of good verses. I have so many favorites that I might as well consider it all my favorite. I am glad the verse is lingering in your heart. I find God does the same with me. He will set a verse on my heart and it will remain with me for days or even weeks. May He minister to you and encourage you through it.

  • “I need to come aware of the flesh because it can get in the way of the Spirit’s willingness to serving God instead of us”
    Galatians 6:1; “Brothers and Sisters. if someone is caught in a sin, who live ny the Spirit should restore that person gently.”

    I absolutely love this! What Pastor Jeff said about being aware of the flesh so we can continue to have the willingness to serve God. This podcast is such an edification for me that confirms that being a Biblical Counselor is something we all do and are called to counsel. To able to use our struggles, trails, temptations, and healing as an instrument to help those in need makes suffering worth it. To sit with someone and hear their pain and vulnerability with a spirit of empathy and compassion, is a sweet reminder how much our Lord Jesus loves us. His suffering was not in vain, just like ours wasn’t in vain. He the ultimate example of how to do suffering well and bless those through it.

    • MichelleR, we must remember that the only weapon that the Devil has against us is deception. If he can deceive us into thinking that we are just too weak in the flesh to succeed in our Christian walk then he wins. Jesus gives us the means to kill the flesh and walk in the Spirit which will bring us to victory.

  • I know that my posts are always long… I’m sorry. I guess I think too much…?

    Genesis 3:13 stood out to me about the seriousness of now being in a fallen world and the seriousness of what happened in the Garden. What happens to a person when sin enters them is the same as taking off the corruptible and putting on the corrupt. The Lord could have started over with a new Adam & Eve, but He loved them. He may have cast them out of the Garden, but by not killing them He showed mercy and provided a means of redemption. From that point on we live in a fallen world and is evident that the devil is alive. We have the freedom to choose to live in sin or to live in the newness of life; but with exorcising free will there is judgment. I think that it is important to help those we counsel, understand the difference between free will and God’s will, and the consequences of separation from God. For those who are unsaved, it is judgment and condemnation and death. Those who live by the sword (sin), die by the sword (in sin). I keep hearing all over the place, “you are sealed until the day of redemption, once saved always saved.” But, what if one turns away in order to live in sin?

    We have to surrender our own desires in order to put God and others first. This is so profound because this kind of intensity is the kind that Paul was describing when he said “that which I want to do, I do it not, but that which I do not want to do, I do.” I find that it is this kind of commitment, to surrender our own will for the will of God, that it takes in ministry; day-by-day, week-by-week, year-by-year. It is easy to live in the flesh, but with conscious effort I focus on God’s will for my life, I may have been caught up in my fleshly desire to skip a week here and there (not talking about a vacation or a sabbatical). Each day that I wake up, I absolutely must put God first, or the rest of my day is fleshly, I find.

    I think this podcast hits the head of the nail on target; it is a battle with the flesh and we must never grieve the Holy Spirit; one of my greatest fears. I had to look up “grieving the Holy Spirit,” and found myself repenting over things that I was not aware of that I was doing because I wasn’t aware that I was grieving the Holy Spirit. Just as we aren’t even supposed to look upon… we shouldn’t even contemplate the things of the flesh if it doesn’t please the Lord; otherwise, we could get caught up in temptation or other fleshly desires. In my early days of being a Christian, I was so fleshy that I had to put God’s truths into my mind so that I would no longer focus on things of the world, but things of god.

    I have to share this because there is a real issue with one of the ladies who attend our outreach each week. I know that she loves the Lord because she has been attending for years now, and participates in prayer and worship and listens to the messages each week; however, over the last few months we have noticed a change. First it was a change in her behavior and now her appearance has changed in her facial features; dark circles, turned up top lip, the color of her skin doesn’t even look alive. She began by being disruptive bringing a spirit of confusion into the prayer circle and has even moved provocatively during worship. I confronted her to pray over her, she said yes to receive prayer, and took a sister with me to lay hands on her, but she literally runs 30 feet away and as we approach again, she runs another 30 feet in a different direction without actually leaving our outreach area. I asked who she was and now she stands off in the distance saying and screaming Lilith and speaking gibberish names that I cannot understand. I recognize that there is an unclean spirit, even demonic spirit. I have experienced this two other times where my husband and I and another pastor laid hands on and cast it out; we actually witnessed the countenance physically change. This is different where I cannot even approach, but she continues to come closer like she’s poking a fire with a stick and pulling the stick away the moment we turn to her. I am unaware of how to help her.

    • Serious prayers over you and this woman. As a former horror fan, I hear “Demonic Spirit” and I think “Pray. Pray Intensely!” (of course Hollywood has their versions of demons, but the Bible is clear that demonic possession is a real thing).

      In regards to surrendering our desires, it is intense and harsh to do those things, especially when they are little things that don’t seem to be harmful to me or others, but actually effects my spiritual condition quite a bit. Examples of sleeping in late, not caring for organizing things, and so on with the petty “I can do it later” tiffs.
      I think we each experience battles of the flesh in various and unique forms, and if we are unequipped to deal with the situation when it comes, it will kill us. Like the classic, 2 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Not only do we need to be alert, but prepared to defend if he attacks, Ephesians 6:10-20, the armor of God, truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I think I can openly admit, I don’t have a fine sword of the Word of God. I am unequipped with this, even so, 1 John 5:4-5 “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
      That is the foundation of which I stand, knowing that in Christ, I can overcome this world, because He Himself has overcome it.

      Concerning you and your friend with the unclean spirit, I highly suggest gathering all you can from your congregation to pray over her. Mark 9:29 comes to mind for you: “[Jesus] replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.'”

  • I’ve always felt in my family that I’m the only one who’s taking my walk with Christ seriously. It leaves me wondering if I’m just being a ‘planker’ as Pastor Jeff coined in his teaching on The Flesh in Conflict podcast. I would want nothing more than for everyone in my family to put into practice what we have learned and strived for, for years – not to be hearers only but be doers of the Word, as true followers of Christ. Pastor Jeff, I see the value and am enlightened day by day on the course outline of Biblical Change. Step-by-step, these two weeks has shown me as I self-confront that my flesh still needs work than I thought, before I can truly and effectively lead others to start living for Him, to help rekindle the goodness they’ve once known in Him that is worth dying for.

    • I love your discovery and honesty of seeing the “plank” and that as you see the “plank” that will be what ultimately will lead others to start living for HIM. That it will help to rekindle the goodness of God they have once known and felt worth dying for! This is so awesome as we discover all of our own planks because you are right it is encouaging to live for HIM!

      • Hi Kendal! Thank you for your comment! I love your zest for everything we’re trying to achieve and learn in this podcast.
        If I may add, I honestly do wonder at times,, what’s keeping others from wanting to live for God. What’s not to love about God? And so the Flesh in Conflict teaching reminded me that the foremost reason that inhibits a person to truly desire God is the love of self.

    • Good words Angelica. Seeing the actions of others around us struggling can be frustrating, until we take a closer look at our own fleshly struggles. As we begin to win victories of our own it is surprising to look around and see others growing because they are following our leadership.

      • So true Harry! It’s ironic that we get concerned and frustrated as you described when we see others’ struggle in yielding self to Christ when we haven’t won the war ourselves. You are right, victory has to start and be seen in us first, entrusting theirs to God while leading them to Him.

    • I will be praying for your family Angelica. I have a daughter who is a prodigal and it breaks my heart. There is no one who loves each member of your family more than their Savior, that truth has been a balm for my soul. I think that for me, I may have stepped in too many times to “save” my daughter from the hardship that would have naturally incurred from her decisions while she lived at home. Then she moved out and is doing whatever comes to her mind. These courses have been very helpful for me as well, to be able to work through some things, to remember the big picture, and to be able to remain God-centered and others-centered even when my natural tendency would be to take a flight to the US and try to fix this situation.

      • The world needs more Beckys right now, thank you for sharing and your prayers! I will be praying for you as well, as I’ve started to for others I came across in this podcast community. As Pastor Jeff have said in essence, God purposely allows someone to cross your path. As I related with everything you said Becky! I do believe all of us in the Lord have the same longing for our love ones to see God’s goodness and the only One who truly knows what’s best for each one of us.

    • Angelica, I struggle with this also. I have family members who are willfully not walking with the Lord and pursuing their own selfish desires. Daily, I have to counsel myself that I am not responsible for convicting their hearts but the Holy Spirit is. My responsibility is to speak words of Truth and love into their life and pray without ceasing for the Holy Spirit to do his powerful and transforming work in their lives. We are sojourners as we walk in the Spirit clinging to our Lord as our lifeline and hope.

      • I’m with you in this Audra, I’ll be praying for you and your family. You are right, there’s nothing better than to love on them and pray unceasingly for them. In God’s time, they’ll know when to go back to Him. I am learning to step back and let God be theirs too instead of their ‘self.’ God is patiently nurturing them to love Him back. I should be patient too, if God is truly within me.

  • The flesh in conflict is the problem. This seems so obvious yet of course I haven’t thought about it in MY conflicts. And yes as a discipler how can I walk with couples through their conflicts if I haven’t taken a good look at the flesh in my conflicts. So my biggest conflicts, seem right now, to be because of fear. And I can already see that like Eve I can blame fear as she blamed the serpent. Fear makes me get nagging or critical. I blame it on fear as if it is a justification and until listening to this podcast was working great! But now I see that I use fear which really is lack of trust in God that also seems so obvious now. My son was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 11 years old and we were told he wouldn’t live out the week because this tumor was so large it took up most of his brain. God miraculously healed him and he is 29 years old now, but I still have fear of sickness and death of my loved ones. So if someone is doing something that I think isn’t healthy and or good for them I feel the need to correct and or nag them to do the right thing. I justified my criticism with fear and out of love for them which had ME fooled also. I can easily see the fear is not out of love for them but out of love for myself because I don’t want to end up in the hospital again when they take you into that little scary room to tell you the horrifying news! And I have the best God story of how HE healed my son but I still don’t want to end up in that room! Not only lack of trust in God but not glorifying what HE did for our son and our family!!! Thank-you for these podcasts as God continues to use them and all of my classes to disciple me. So now the question will be can I see my family members eating unhealthy and be reminded of this? Reminded that God healed my son and I need to trust HIM with my families health and well being? And choose not to nag and or be critical but trust God? Prayer for me in this area would be welcome. One of the questions Pastor Jeff asked was “what do you want so bad that you are willing to sin? No more hospital horrifying visits is my answer but that is flesh speaking loud and clear now. I want to not quench HOLY SPIRIT and Trust HIM with the health of my family!

    • First all I could think was Praise God! That is a wonderful miracle, that your son is healed. I understand fear, It grips all of us from time to time. I am high risk and afraid of getting out in the world. I know that I can not continue working for the worldly company that I am working for and need to get a job in the Christian community. This means I will have to stop being afraid and trust God. It is easier said then done I know. I just quote scriptures as soon as the fear starts creeping in. I know that the Lord is my shepherd. What does a shepherd do, they care for and feed and water and protect. I think about John resting on the very Chest of Jesus and I imagine that I am resting on his chest and he is telling me don’t be afraid. His love can overwhelm you and bring you his peace! I pray that for you!

    • Kendal thank you so much for sharing this story of God’s healing power! What an amazing encouragement. And thank you for sharing your vulnerability as you explore your own conflicts in the flesh and how they often stem from fear. Isn’t it remarkable how in the world, your fear would be completely justified, expected, and, pitied (based off the trauma of your son’s diagnosis). And yet according to the Spirit, we see such fear as something to be crucified with Christ. Praise God that in Christ we are no longer slaves to sin and fear!

  • We will have to deal with this flesh until we go home to be with the Lord. Paul gives us instruction in Gal. 5. After giving us a list of the acts of the flesh, and the fruit of the Spirit, he reminds us that by coming to Christ we have put the flesh to death. Then he says in verse 25 that if we live in the spirit we should also walk in the Spirit. It is one thing to be positionally in the Spirit because of Christ’s redemption. It is our job to walk, or take action to walk in the Spirit. This requires a lot of saying no to self, and putting the interests of others first.

    • Putting the flesh to death is something that is so much easier said than done. We must choose to walk in the Spirit because it is impossible to it on our own. Laying down my own desires for my life in order to follow God is one of the hardest yet most fulfilling things. By placing God first in my life I have seen a change in my focus from on myself to those around me.

  • Every week the podcast coincides with the work the Holy Spirit is doing in my own heart. The Lord has been reminding me of my formidable foe, and his desire to destroy. Yet because of the Spirit I do not have to be a slave to sin; I can become a slave of righteousness and dedicate my members to the Lord. I loved the reminder of the tactics of the enemy and the enticings of the flesh: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. We are given insight into those who fall into these enticings in verse 15; those who give into the flesh are not abiding in God’s love. John writes, “do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” If I find my flesh constantly raising its head, I have to search my heart and see–am I abiding in the love of God? Am I choosing to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength?

    • “Am I choosing to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength?” Wow! Such a simple question, but it carries so much weight. That is really what it comes down to – loving Him above all else. If we do that, then we will find that we are less susceptible to falling into temptation.

  • When he told us to look at our own lives, then asked if we know ourselves, our inner selves, our actions, and when we are in the flesh or spirit, I had to stop the podcast and just think for a time. This battle between flesh and spirit in my own life has become clearer to me– especially in recent months. Prior, I almost just accepted my ‘little’ faults and attitudes. Surely, they weren’t THAT bad – and nowhere nearly as bad as (enter a plethora of things done by a plethora of people). But we must put the lusts of the flesh to death, no matter what they are. The ‘blame-shifting’ of which he spoke is huge to me. My flesh wants to defer blame anytime it comes near me. The Holy Spirit has been steadily working in my heart, bringing those things to the surface, and helping me see that they’re just plain ugly. I don’t want to quench the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, so it truly is a matter of watching and praying so I don’t fall into the temptation of letting ‘self’ have its way.
    Also, I love the term he uses, ‘self-counsel.’ Now, when I begin to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit about something, I know that I need to have a purposeful and focused time in the Word and prayer.

  • I think one of the hardest parts of counselling people who are in the flesh is that they are so sensitive. They haven’t been sensitive to the Spirit, so they are sensitive to man and can be so easily offended. Oftentimes, I’ve noticed people I’m counselling change the facts to align with what they are saying, then will change it again at another time. It can be hard to discern what the issues are (besides obviously being the flesh!). But how to address the issue in a way that is able to be understood by the person and help them in a way that they will receive. Also, the flesh is always changing in size. We are either putting it to death, or it is growing (Gal 5:17).

    I know that it depends on the state of their heart, but if there was a way to present the truth in love that would never be misunderstood -> that would be wonderful!

    Just in the past two weeks I had to confront two people (that I have a good rapport with) with sin issues. One responded with pride and stopped all communication (though I was very gentle with her), the second responded with repentance, and change. It truly is a heart issue.

    • No matter how it turns out it is what God wants, to be brought back into the flock. If it is done with grace and in love, then you have done your job and it’s time for God to do his. Give it to him in prayer and be satisfied that you did the work of God to the best of his ability through you and keep learning in the Lord. Discipleship is what we are called to not to make people OK with us.

    • Definitely, Becky, it is a heart issue and very delicate to counsel people who are in the flesh. However, you are right that we should always speak the truth in love to them; the work of conviction is of the Holy Spirit. Looking at what counseling is, which requires us to warn, to stimulate, and to encourage people to Christlikeness, it may not always be easily accepted by the counselee, but we trust the Holy Spirit to take the words and minister to them.

      • This is true, and for so many years it has been rolling off my back, but oh my, this past year people have been so sensitive! Much more than usual! Maybe I am more in tune to it? Maybe because this year I’m personally receiving the brunt of so much agitation.
        We are about to go into another confinement in Paris. My husband and I have been missionaries in France since the 90’s and this year has been rough. Some people are so much more tense, and some more open than ever.

    • Hi Becky, it is interesting to read your post. Where do you counsel at? I have noticed that too in talking with people. Sometimes things aren’t fitting together. I’m sorry with the way the one responded. Praying that God will be speaking to her heart.

      • Hi Angela, I have been praying for her as well. For right now, she is pretty set in her ways. I am a missionary Pastor’s wife at Calvary Chapel Paris, and most of my counselling is in that capacity. I have done hospital chaplaincy, and have a post as a paedatric chaplain after the covid crisis has passed.
        Where are you serving?

        • I’m at CC Fredericksburg in VA. I see your name in the back of the CC Magazine! 🙂 Will keep you in prayers for your work out there! How awesome!

  • The flesh in conflict-
    Pastor Jeff uses the word of God in just the right way to show how we, as man, go after the flesh instead of the spirit. I have to admit I have a desire for myself all too often. It is hard to wait for things in my life. It’s hard to wait for God to supply what I need instead of what I want. We have grown up in a culture of get it right now and our flesh is used to getting things “NOW” and I am no better than anyone else in this. God tries to show me the right way to go and I see a simpler path or maybe even a quicker path that is, as it turns out, not the right way to receive.
    The word of God is starting to cut away those desires in my and can in anyones life. Sharper than any two-edged sword dividing between soul and spirit. Like Paul my spirit is willing but my flesh is strong. I am learning to submit to the Spirit.

    • Hi James- you are so right. God does show us the right way to go and often we do want it on our timetable. I was struggling with that just the past day or so. I was tempted to take matters into my own hands rather than to wait for something to be done by the right people. God help us! He did. I waited and it’s getting taken care of.

    • I love how pastor Jeff always uses Scripture to test other scripture! Unfortunately many times pastors just want you to believe what they say without backing up what they have already said from other portions of Scripture! We really have grown into a culture that says ” I need it now.” Just look at burger king Have it your way, and many other companies know what our flesh desires so they trademark that! very sad!

  • What I love about this podcast is the counsel to counsel myself through Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to root out the fleshly sins that I may be oblivious to or willfully partaking in. Indeed when I am willing to acknowledge my own weaknesses, it breaks down a wall of pride that hinders me from being gentle with those whom I counsel or are in fellowship with.
    Matthew 26:41 has the exhortation to Keep Watch, Pray! There is intentionality in this verse as Jesus is calling for deliberate action. I am also reminded of Genesis 4:7 where God counsels Cain, “…if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Not only am I to not enter the door of sin, I am to not even go near the door of sin! When I become frustrated with the perpetual battle between my flesh (my will) and the Spirit within me, I cling to Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my life and my portion forever!”

    • Audra, what a beautiful comment. In fact, I haven’t used that verse about Cain while counseling–I could’ve used it today–and will keep in at hand now. I don’t know how old you are but in the 70s there was a popular song out of Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa based on Psalm 73. I walked down the isle to my groom to that song. It was truly a prophetic song over our now 40 years of marriage and it was a blessing to my heart to read it quoted in your comment! Thank you.

      • That is so beautiful Carolyn! I would love to listen to the song. Do you remember the name of it?
        Psalm 73 is one of my go-to Scriptures because it strengthens my faith and encourages my heart to be reminded that God’s Faithfulness is sure even when I am faithless and fail.

    • Wow, I love that scripture! Psalm 73:26. I don’t remember having read it before but I am clinging to it today, and everyday there after. It is so appropriate and uplifting for me these days, as I feel so inadequate and discouraged at the end of the day with my many many failures to the God who never fails me. Thank you for that!

      • Ericka, I am so blessed by this. I love Psalm 73. It is a staple for my Spiritual diet. When I need to be reminded about God’s Faithfulness in spite of my utter faithlessness, it encourages me and strengthens my own faith. He is sure and true and I can rest in Him. Such a blessing!

  • I love how Jeff highlighted the empathy aspect of counseling, and how it involves first dealing with our own dark seasons and weaknesses. “When you recognize your own weakness, you’re able to walk with empathy with other people.” I think this ties in so well with what he was bringing up about vulnerability too. When I am humble and vulnerable enough to recognize my sin and weakness and flesh, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform me, then I am much more empowered to counsel others with wisdom and empathy. But it takes humility and vulnerability to admit that we were once where they are now. I shudder to think of the amount of times I’ve judged people with a “come on just snap out of it” mentality when instead, had I viewed them in humility and not in my flesh, I would have realized that more than likely I’ve dealt with the same weakness in my own life.

    • I agree Rachael,
      It is so valuable to recognize our weaknesses and understand that we all fall short of the glory. It really does help to be led by the Holy Spirit to change and grow through the word, through opportunities like this. Fellowship, just being vulnerable, talking about our weaknesses and realizing that no one is without. Like Pastor Jeff stated, we are all just in different places on our journey to serve God. Some people may still be like little children, needing more help and attention. Others may be far in their journey. But we are all traveling, continually growing and understanding how much we are loved so that we might love others better.

      • It can be hard sometimes as leaders, because other people get used to looking up to us for leading, wisdom, strength, insights..but leaders struggle with weaknesses and sin just as anyone else does! I think when leaders never share any of their struggles with others, a false picture can emerge in other people’s minds of who that person really is. We can put people up on pedestals that they shouldn’t be on or even put ourselves up on a pedestal! I desire my ministry to be filled with transparency and authenticity. I don’t ever want people to think I am more than I am. God is our rock!

  • Thank you Jeff. Awesome how you are able to do these once a week. So much truth–a full meat and potatoes kind of meal!
    Counseling, discipling, would be impossible without this foundation of recognizing the flesh. Most of what put us in need of a counselor is flesh driven or flesh received by our counselees.
    “Pride of life,” is often the flesh I observe in marriage counseling. The day one spouse decides they are better than the other is the day grace for the spouse dissolves and thoughts of resentment or separation begin to take root. Humility in marriage is like an wide open door for the grace that God longs to give to the humble. He can only resist the proud because there is no room for Him in pride–we become our own God. Humility costs nothing but pride can cost everything.
    How to humble a counselee to see their own sin instead of their spouse’s day in and day out? Difficult to do sometimes especially if the foundation of the marriage was one of getting their needs met by their spouse as opposed to serving their spouse. Sometimes entire foundations of a marriage relationship have to be inspected and torn down to be able to rebuild what God desires.

    • Hi Carolyn, these are wise observations you have made through your experiences. Where do you counsel at? That is convicting where you mention, “The day one spouse decides they are better than the other is the day grace for the spouse dissolves and thoughts of resentment or separation begin to take root.” Humility is the way to go…God made us all so differently and we are not better than anyone else. We are all precious in God’s sight. We need much grace and patience for one another!

  • What a great podcast today! The part about quenching the Holy Spirit stood out to me. There have been many times in my life that I have decided to listen to my flesh instead of the Holy Spirit and it always ended badly. It really is a constant battle between the two even for those who seem to have it all together. We have to actively choose to listen to the Helper that God has provided for us. This topic reminded me of what Paul said in Romans 7:15-20: “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

  • Flesh verses the spirit. It has been hard for me lately to realize that some of my goals/dreams are most likely not going to come to fruition because of new legislations and that kind of thing. What I need to do is to stop ; realize that God is in control, and remember that if I keep taking things into my own hands, that all I am doing is resisting Gods ultimate plan for my life!

  • What really spoke to me today from the podcast was the part where Pastor Jeff mentioned that there will be dark seasons or times of difficulty and trial in our lives. The Lord allows us to go through those times so that we can better help the people the Lord puts in our paths. It is so easy to wonder what is wrong with other people and why they can’t just “snap out of it”. Especially if you are having victory in an area the other person is struggling with. But those times of enduring through troubles with the Lord’s help enables us to have sympathy and empathy for others. The issues going on in our hearts and minds are not turned off and on like a lightswitch. Often times there is a process we have to go through with the Lord to crucify the flesh and walk in the Spirit.
    I had a difficult day this past Sunday. We had planned to have a few other couples over for dinner but I was not feeling up to it. My husband and I ended up cancelling only a few hours before they were supposed to come over. I felt bad for letting everybody down but I could not find the strength to prepare food and get everything ready in time. This is way outside of my norm (I can’t remember ever cancelling dinner!) but the Lord allowed it to happen. This moment of weakness gives me more compassion for other Moms who are struggling to keep all the balls in the air. When we suffer, we have more sensitivity and understanding for others that suffer.

    • Hi Angela, this is so true. When we have achieved victory in the area of another persons struggle, it is so easy to judge. For example, I know a person that went through a period of narcotic dependency. This was happening just as everything he had prayed for was manifesting itself in his life. I couldn’t understand we he would do that, we he would grieve the spirit of God, why he would do that to God after all He has done for him. But now, as I face the hardest battle of the flesh that I am facing in my eating habits, I went back to that person and his situation. I praise the Lord that he is free from that dependency, that he is enjoying of those blessings he prayed for, and that the Lord is really working in his life, but I now feel like I understand him. The Lord showed me how to relate to that persons struggle though my own current struggle.

      • Amen. That’s awesome. Praying the Lord will help you. I am leading a Faith & Fitness group on Saturday mornings called Reignite by Michelle Spadafora with Faithful Workouts. I know the Lord will help you through the struggle. Keep the faith!

        • Wow just saw some YouTube clips, looks amazing. Perfect because workouts are not to long and helps focus on God as you exercise. That’s awesome, thanks for the suggestion, will look into the website for further info.

  • I thank God so much for Him grace and for His mercy! I try so hard to be a better husband, father, employee, friend, in my own strength so much of the time! I am a work in progress that’s for sure! What I need to do constantly is remember that with man it’s impossible, but with God, all things are possible!

  • It is an important thing to look at how our flesh shows our weakness and the conflict we feel in the aspect of wanting to be better and do more. Many times as Christians we can easily try to ignore and step away from the reality of who we are in the transformation process of being a follower of Jesus. Our journey in following Jesus isn’t an easy task, it is simple in that we want to be with Him, become like Him, and do what He did but we also need to be faithful in the small areas we can to continue to grow and develop.

  • The battle between flesh and spirit is a daily struggle that the Apostle Paul expressed so well. “‘For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”- Romans 7:14-15. The Lord has really been speaking to me in the area of my health. I feel him speaking to me specifically on my eating habits. However, it has been the hardest thing for me to be obedient. I find myself ignoring the Holy Spirit, eating what is wrong then wondering why I did it, feeling horrible (just as the Paul described), asking for forgiveness then doing it all over again tomorrow. I recognize this is a stronghold in my life, and I am having the hardest time breaking free from it. “‘But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (I Corinthians 9:27) The Lord has put this scripture in my heart, I know He is speaking to me, but the battle of the flesh and spirit is so real in my life right now. Prayers requested, and suggestion accepted.

    • Erika, I am able to walk in empathy with you because this is also my struggle. I do well for a while and then I am so easily tempted to eat something I know is unhealthy. Once I get that taste in my mouth, I am like an alcoholic that cannot stop at one drink. Then I feel loathsome. However, we are given a way out. I wrote in my comment about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by the devil. For every temptation, Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God as His weapon of warfare against the enemy. I am aiming to do this, although I haven’t yet. I plan to write personalized scripture about food that will help me in my battle, for example, “I do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord!” I plan to write these on index cards and place them on my refrigerator and pantry door. I will pray for you and I hope that you will pray for me too.

      • Most definitely will add you to my prayers. You just gave me confirmation of everything I received from the Lord and prayer and meditation this morning! Thank you for sharing your plan with me, I would love to hear your success testimony in the near future!

    • Thanks for sharing your struggle Ericka. Father I pray for my sister that You would strengthen her and help her to make healthy choices for her body- the temple of Your Holy Spirit. Please fill her with Your Spirit and give her the self-control she needs. Meet her where she is Lord and guide her on your path. Have you heard of Trim Healthy Mama?

  • 1Jo 2:16 For all that [is] in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.

    This is a favorite verse of mine because it reminds me that all temptations we struggle with fall under one of those categories. It helps identify possible temptations. Even though satan is a roaring lion looking to see whom he will devour, I’ve also heard and seen that he uses the same tricks as the ones above. Our eyes can become tempted by what we see, our flesh by what we desire, and the pride of life is anything that can exalt us like our reputations, egos. Etc. We want to be walking in the spirit at all times and I loved that reminder by pastor Jeff about idols in our heart, we must root them out so they don’t grow. sometimes we let them stay a lot longer than they should. It reminds me of the verse about being faithful in the little things will most likely make us faithful in the bigger ones. I think that is a great way to walk in the spirit daily and be strengthened in the spirit.

  • I cannot tell how many times this battle between the flesh and the spirit catches me off guard. I wake up some mornings already filled with a kind of predisposition to be “fleshy,” ready to argue, ready to feel sorry for myself. I know that I need to pray, but even that is difficult. Other mornings I feel ready to handle whatever the day has for me. I don’t know whether I have dreams that set the mood for when I wake up or if it is some spiritual attack, all I know is I can tell immediately which way I am headed. Paul describes the struggle perfectly in Romans 7, starting in verse 15 and on. I know what I should do, pray, read Scripture, and not give in to my flesh, but I’m inclined to do what I know is wrong. Romans 7:19-20: “For the good that I want, I do not do; but the evil that I do not want, this I practice. But if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I doing it, but sin that dwells in me.” Yet each time this happens, I am more inclined to fight against it and begin praying immediately. I still wallow in my self-pity but for a shorter and shorter time. Small victories, to be sure, but at least moving in the right direction! Thank God for the grace that only He can provide and for the victory that we have, thanks to Jesus, our Messiah!

  • 1John 2:16 speaks about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is what is in the world and what our flesh longs for. Pastor Jeff instructed us to compare to Genesis 3:6 “so when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (the lust of the flesh), that it was pleasant to the eyes (the lust of the eyes), and a tree desirable to make one wise (the pride of life), she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” This is how we are tempted to sin and what our flesh craves. Also, it is not enough to sin against God by disobedience but we encourage others to sin and disobey God as well. Even after salvation, the war in our bodies continues; we are wanting to do what is right and noble but the flesh gives in to dainty morsels of gossip, justifying self, holding onto bitterness and unforgiveness, etc. In the end, we do what we hate, and what we want to do is not practiced just as Paul laments in Romans 7:15. Praise God that Jesus showed us the way out of the temptation to sin when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Though he was tempted by the lust of the flesh (turning stones into bread), the lust of the eyes (viewing the glorious kingdoms that could be His if He turned to idolatry), the pride of life (that he would not be harmed if he threw Himself off the temple pinnacle), He overcame by the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. This is what we need to store up in our arsenal, our weapons of warfare. This is what I need to do to overcome my areas of weakness in the flesh. The struggle is indeed real but God has given us a way out. I hold onto the promise that God is faithful to complete the good work He started in me until the day of His return. Apart from Him, I cannot overcome.

    • Truly, Indra. Apart from Him, we cannot overcome, and that gives us the courage to daily lean on Him in all our endeavors. Christ has given us the victory, and we overcome daily by learning to stand in the victory that He has already won.

    • Amen Indra! I liked your explanation of the lust of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life. It’s awesome how when God opens our eyes that we are struggling with flesh and helps us to see it, we can repent ask for forgiveness and for the Lord to take it away. He is faithful!

    • Thank you for elaborating on the ways of the flesh. As you are broke them apart in order what stood out to me was that it starts in the lust of the eyes. This could sound simple but it’s a good reminder of what can help guard your heart. This is why God says if you thinking about it you have committed sin within your heart. And thank you for reminding me about our weapons the word of God. Also to rely on the Holy Spirit our helper.

    • Thanks for sharing Indra, when I am struggling with my flesh desires, I look at God’s promises through scripture, He’s always faithful, He offers us a way out as it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. On our own we will always give into our fleshly desires but with God we can overcome our fleshly desires by trusting in Him and allowing Him to be in control. We need to wear the full armor of God to withstand our weaknesses.

      • Margaret, I understand that God provides a way out from our temptation. However, the way God provides a way out from falling into sin is hardly described. I wonder if it will be helpful during fellowship or would it be too shameful to share in a group setting. I know when I start to get too close to sin I can hear my own voice saying if you cross this line you will fall into sin. I really like counseling because it answers questions such as these. I am a person that doest understand emotion and often wonders if those who are more emotional can easily recognize pride or what it mean to have an identy in Christ

    • Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome with good. Psalm 145:9 says, The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His Works. These verse came to mind while reading your post. You are right, apart from Him I cannot overcome. The truth is I can do nothing apart from God. I do like Romans 12:21 because it gives us a reminder of our power we have with the indwelling Spirit, with Him we can overcome evil with good. Love is an all-powerful force of change and by merely tapping into the Holy Spirit and the essence of Him, which is Love we can overcome the evil that tempts us and the evil that is ravaging the world. Which brings me to Psalm 145:9, The Lord is Good to All! Amen, Hallelujah! And His tender mercies are over all of this works! Again Amen and Hallelujah! We are His Workmanship and to know his tender mercies are over us is incredibly comforting and encouraging. No matter what we have done, or how we sin, His tender mercies cover us. Not that this should give us license to sin all the more but it should encourage us to repent immediately and ask forgiveness quickly. I am an Overcomer, thanks to Christ in me!

  • I have been thinking of what would be ways for me to grow deeper in my walk, and I really think self counseling is one way the Lord wants to grow me. The ability to identify what is of my flesh and what is the Lord and using that to help me grow before trying to point out the needs and wrongs of others. This podcast was both convicting and encouragement to the ability to self counsel. To be able to bring these things in my life before the Lord, whether activities, thoughts, or things in my life and be able to know what is of the Lord and what is of my own fleshly and worldly desire.

    I think the story of Adam and Eve is a great reminder of how easily it is to put the blame on others, and to push aside your own sin, but God calls us to go deeper then that. He wants us to come before Him with all the filthiness that we have and know that He wants to make us clean. When we can self counsel and bring these thoughts before the Lord, He will deal with them in a way Only the Lord can.

  • I am so grateful to be apart of this learning experience. Jeff, you have been a big influence in my sanctification. I do not teach in a ministry and have only been reading my bible for a few years. But, I have been getting so many questions answered here at CCU. I have heard many sermons in the flesh vs spirit, however never been a disciple in it. I am trying to gain all I can by hearing others on their fight against the flesh. And I have been confronted by walking in the flesh myself by this podcast. I really need this type of confrontation because I would probably walk straight off a cliff if someone didn’t stop me. As I have been trying to listen to the spirit, I’ve noticed that I been letting my past thoughts influence my walk with Jesus. These thoughts have been mainly of stupid mistakes that I have done in the past. But, I never saw them as condemnation till they exposed themself as “you are not good enough”. Many times they have made me walk away from growing in Christ. Many of this is new to me but I am trying to see all the late-night after work as joy as I grow in Christ. I can put my confidence in Him that he will finish what he has started in life. Trusting Him more has definitely made things easier.

    • Hi Luis! God is definitely at work through these podcasts! I also have been convicted through these teachings on the flesh vs. the spirit. Even as Christians who have been walking with the Lord for years, we still need to keep hearing God’s truth over and over. None of us will be done with the sanctification process until we go to heaven with the Lord! I am expectant of what God has for me as I continue these classes too. He is good!

    • Amen, Luis! The Lord promised us that He is faithful to complete the good work He started in us until His return. That is such an awesome promise that I hold onto when I feel discouraged about my mistakes and I am tempted to dwell on them keeping me from moving forward. Someone once told me that when I felt that “I was not good enough” it is still the sin of pride the same way that someone may feel that they are better than everyone else. They reminded me that apart from God, you cannot do anything. It is God that equips and enables me so that I can obey what He asked me to do. He also uses my mistakes to keep me humble so I can identify with and minister to someone struggling in the same area. We serve an awesome God!

  • Hebrews 4:12 For the Word of God is…and He goes on to explain what it is. The Word is living and the depth of it is unfathomable, who could know it! This really resonated with me. Searching our own hearts first, bringing ourselves under submission of The Discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And when our hearts are pure we can see with the eyes of the Spirit and better discern the world as we navigate this earthly existence. I keep seeing clearly the past few days the “sword of the spirit’ (Ephesians 6:17) which is the word of God and how in the spiritual battle it is used. A clear vision of the invisible world and the war many of us do not even know we are in. I have been praying for those who are scarcely saved and those who have fallen asleep in the Lord (I keep seeing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane waking the disciples and commanding them to pray)
    Now is the time to repent, crucify the flesh and take our positions in the Holy Priesthood and to be ready to give counsel, combat the lies of the enemy with the word of Truth, with the word of God. I can’t stop thinking but to liken it to a Lightsaber.

    • Hello Christi, thank you for sharing. I love how you shared “Searching our own hearts first, bringing ourselves under submission of The Discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

      In Jeremiah 17: 9-10 , the word of God says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”” The Lord knows what is in our heart and mind.

  • Talk about blame shifting: ew! I had done that to my parents after I received healing from a sexual “addiction” that had ruled my life for a long time. I blamed my parents for my sins because I didn’t receive the care that I felt I needed as a middle-schooler and high-schooler. I realized my mistake to my parents and I apologized to them, I had to take absolute, full responsibility for my sinful actions, and take responsibility for my sinning against my parents for blaming them when they were innocent. The flesh is so contradicting to the Spirit, if when I think I am “Spiritually Mature” obviously, I wasn’t, and I am still growing, like Pastor Jeff. It is always a good reminder to know that this path is one we all travel on, thought it looks different for each of us, it is one that keeps going on to grow us continuously in the Lord and His will by His grace. Without Christ’s unconditional love, mercy, and patience in my life, I wouldn’t have a new life that gets to grow in His righteousness.
    Relating to Eve as she sinned, I always wondered “Where was Adam and why didn’t he lead her?” because as a woman, I relate to the fact that I have done something wrong and it could have been avoided if someone over me had lead me away from that sin. I think that just goes to prove how human all of us really are, and how each of us needs so much mercy that only the Lord can provide.

    • I did the same thing. I blamed my parents for all the problems I was having and it was even encouraged in my psychology classes. Eventually God opened my eyes to what I was doing and I apologized to them. It was so much easier to just blame someone else than to face the problems and repent.

  • Thanks Pastor Jeff for another great podcast. The struggle of the flesh when trying to walk in the Spirit is something we struggle with everyday. We allow our fleshly desires rule over what we know is the right thing. We may want to do the right thing and have the best interest to what is right, but when our flesh tempts us it is sometimes easier to give into our flesh then allow the Spirit to show you. Walking in the Spirit and dying to the flesh is a daily battle we must take to God everyday, to grow stronger in the Spirit, and allow us to die more and more to the flesh. When I give into my flesh, I used to dwell on my mistakes every time I gave into my flesh when I knew what I needed to do the right way. now I’m learning to not dwell and take it to God and ask Him to help me to grow in that area. Although temptation will always be there the more we seek God and allow Him to guide us and help us grow helps us to not give into the flesh so easily.

    • Hello Margaret, Amen to this “Walking in the Spirit and dying to the flesh is a daily battle we must take to God everyday, to grow stronger in the Spirit, and allow us to die more and more to the flesh.”
      Everyday we have to make the choice to put up out cross daily and walk with the Lord to be in the Spirit. It is a daily choice and responsibility that we have. There no condemnation in Christ when we are in Him.

      “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death”
      – Romans 8: 1-2

  • Thanks for sharing, Pastor Jeff and for being vulnerable. I too have had so many victories in the Spirit, where I felt like I was on top of the mountains, “Holy Ghost goosebumps”, walking with Jesus, loving and sharing the gospel with great boldness, but also those moments of failures where I blew it. I find that when I’m not watching and praying, I am walking in the flesh without me even knowing it. My Spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. It’s in these dark seasons where the Lord starts to prune the self-life out of me. I notice that His Spirit is grieved and quenched and just like Adam and Eve hiding because of guilt, shame and fear, I notice how easy it is for the flesh to hide behind the guilt, shame and fear because of what sin does, and the Lord just wants us to confess and forsake that we might have life and have it more abundantly. His rod and staff, they comfort me in those seasons, but it’s a hard lesson to learn. It’s amazing that when the mind is set on the flesh, I will live according to the flesh, but when it’s set on the spirit, seeking those things which are above, I live and walk in the Spirit. This is a great podcast! Thanks for sharing, P. Jeff.

  • This podcast was an encouragement what I needed to hear. Professor Christianson said, “Anxiety or a panic attack is spiritual warfare where the Enemy plants a seed…going to the rock that high than I and I am not trusting God in this.” I had an anxiety attack yesterday; it was the overwhelming rush with everything in that moment. I got up and walked the dog and had to talk to God about it. Everything hit me at once, work, ministry, school, wife, having personal problems. As Professor Christianson said it was an attack from the Enemy. It throw off my mood yesterday after the attack and I was just so tired. I can hear Jesus saying “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” – Matthew 11:26-30

    • Jocelyn – I see you friend. I am a busy mother, wife, full time worker bee, friend, daughter, fur baby mama and then some! The stress of life (work, family, personal problems) can be truly overwhelming sometimes. When it all starts to boil to the top and I feel like I am near to blowing a gasket I also like to take a walk with my dog, or on my own and connect with God. There is nothing that compares to connecting with God through nature or through the eyes of our pets. I loved, in the podcast, when Pastor Jeff said “we are all here on a trajectory of growth together”. Isn’t that the truth! It’s such a funny reality how we can get stuck in our own problems and that it REALLY helps to know that other people are going through the same things. We are so blessed to have a God who is forgiving, understanding, loving & full of Grace. YOU ARE DOING GREAT LADY!

  • This was such a bitter sweet listening experience for me as it completely hit home. I have just returned from a Spring Break vacay with my family and woke up this morning feeling really heavy and bogged down. Initially I just thought it was the struggle to “get back in the swing” of my routine; however as the day progressed and I attempted to do so, I realized it was something more than that. It was a tight feeling in my chest that tugged at me all day. All of my mental dots connected listening to Pastor Jeff’s podcast about “The Flesh in Conflict”. Listening to this episode of the podcast forced me to take a stone cold look in the mirror. I realized that slowly over the course of the last week I had stepped further and further away from my walk with the Spirit and sunk deeper and deeper into my fleshy nature. While I didn’t engage in any major sins (I mentioned it was a family trip), I realize that it was more a series of unintentional slips and small mis-steps that led me astray. Mis-steps are easy traps to fall into when you are out of routine and not as AWARE as you find yourself in your familiar environment. I am a creature of habit by nature and feel at my best when I am set solid in my routine. However it’s the monotony of the routine that seems to burn me out and leaves me craving the “break” from it. Listening to this podcast made me realize that I by stepping away from Him I have caused Him anguish and sorrow. I am human and therefore imperfect. However I realize that my DAILY walk with God means that I need to DAILY die to self and fleshy desires and re-commit myself each day to living in His Spirit – even while on vacation. I was comforted when Pastor Jeff pointed out that God purposely takes us through dark experiences and times so that we can be better equipped to recognize this darkness in ourselves to help ourselves and to help others.

  • I appreciated the wise observation that being in the flesh makes conflicts worse. Yes to apply it personally, I am learning to pay more attention to my attitude and my tone of voice is a key for me when I am a little irritated at the dogs barking next door and my wife asks me to take care of something I have been procrastinating about i am noticing my tone of voice will have an edge to it. I had to admit I have an attitude about it. The Lord revealed to me a while ago that this spirit of procrastination gives rise to an attitude of irritation which is a literal infection of sin in my soul. It has taken my reading of Andrew Murray’s “The Blood of the Cross”, as he explains the ‘disposition of Jesus’, Jesus daily attitude was to be obedient to the will of the Father and THIS is what is so different about how Jesus went about life compared to me. I do not constantly think about the will of the Father for my daily interactions. So convicting when I had this awareness after reading the above. It gave rise to my understanding that my unwillingness to be a servant was in large part due to the spirit of procrastination. How do I know? B/c when I specifically prayed and put this attitude of procrastination on the altar of submission to Jesus, EVERYTHING changed in our marriage.

  • I am actually late to the game here this week. It is Sunday evening and I am just now getting to some of these assignments. After listening to this Podcast I wish I had listened to it sooner. It has been a week, and the “Flesh in Conflict” has been very much a part of my month of March. I had to teach twice this week and suffered from a very hard two days of physical toil from it. I finally got a good night rest last night and feel like “myself” again. For the past four years I have struggled with my flesh, in the sense that my mind really has really had a grip on me and because of this, it has hindered many areas in my life that I want to give over to the Lord.

    Its hard to write about my experience and put it into words, but I have toiled with anxiety and panic attacks for the last 4 years. It came suddenly and unknowingly. This anxiety brings forth a fear to travel, or to go beyond what is ‘comfortable’ for me. I don’t like to drive on the freeway or to travel, let alone go anywhere alone. I have made myself “go” places I would not normally dare to go in my flesh. I ask my family for grace as they are patient with me in this process of doing things “scared”. This is not the mom my kids are used to knowing, nor do I think they fully understand what I battle with, how can they. I know the Lord wants me to give this over to Him. He is not asking me to do it all at once, but I believe it is a work He wants me to be obedient in each time He calls. I have made a trip to visit my dad in the mountains ONE time. I have driven to the beach a few times with my family now. I took the elevator when my flesh wanted me to take the stairs. I drove to go teach at a church that was 20 minutes away by MYSELF, even while it was the dark and raining, and I had to sit in slow moving work day traffic. These events may all seem like insignificant victories, but they are HUGE for me. And I build upon each one, seeing the Lord is faithful in getting me through it each time. He doesn’t take it away, but He gets me through it. Each. Time. I do not want this work of the flesh to hinder what the Lord has called me to do. I have a long way to go, but I have also come so far. I love the Lord, I trust Him, but I need to give my body and mind and how it responds, over to Him.

    This has given me a deep empathy for those who struggle with anxiety, depression or even panic attacks. When I hear people say “read your Bible and have more faith”, it makes me cringe. It is not just an off and on switch. I have been walking 20+ years with the Lord and though my faith isn’t perfected it is strong. I read all the time. Like literally all the time, I study, I teach, I pray and seek Him daily. I know we all have a thorn in our side, and I believe this is my thorn. I believe that I was allowed to have this affliction so that I can continue realize I can not put any trust in the flesh, because I see my flesh fail me daily.

    Sorry this was long, but I could tell you a list of all God has done and shown me, and that is just in this week alone. I am blown away by Him and His love and mercy for me. I want to point others to Him so that they too can be blown away at His love and mercy for them.

  • I really appreciated this podcast. It is a useful reminder that in the flesh we are schemers and manipulators. Of course, I don’t want to be either of those but when I am put into situations that are confrontational, my immediate and carnal self wants to self protect and defend my position. I can so empathize with the Apostle Paul’s exclamation, “Oh wretched man that I am!”. Indeed, I am wretched! But, God in his mercy has redeemed me from my sin and shame and the Spirit lives in me to do His work and will in my life.
    This week, I was in a confrontation with a family member. I stated my position vehemently. My position isn’t wrong but my intensity was wrong. I have backed off and am in a prayerful attitude as I really need the Holy Spirit to guide me in this situation. I have not said much to my loved one but know that I need to but I am loathe to enter into another discussion unless I am led by the Holy Spirit to do so.
    The reason this podcast resonates with me so much is because it is so real, so what we are facing day to day in counseling, family relationships, church (spiritual) relationships and even our dealing with the world. I happen to work in a public library where self-idolatry is mainstream. I want the Holy Spirit overflowing in my life so that what comes out represents Christ and not my own carnality and sin because I dread stumbling any of my co-workers when I pray for them so much.
    To God be the Glory, Great things He has done!

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