What You'll Discover in this Episode:

Examples of the Flesh in Conflict

Today we continue our study about the weakness of the flesh. From last week, we left off looking at examples of what the flesh looks like. Here are a few more examples. 

  1. The Temptation of Adam and Eve. John 2:16 is speaking of the lust of flesh; not just sexual lust but after things that are not God ordained. In Genesis 3:6, the devil tempted Eve with the lust of the eyes. When she saw the fruit, it was pleasant to the eyes.
  2. Abraham Lied to the Pharaoh in Genesis 12 and to Abimelech in Genesis 20. Abraham acted out of fear for self-protection and for Sarah's protection. This is the work of the flesh. 
  3. King Saul's Jealousy of David. Saul threatened David's life and chased him away with an army. Samuel 18:23-24.
  4. Haman sought to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom. Esther 3:2, 5-6.

Questions to ask when counseling:

  1. What are you trying to achieve by contending/fighting with somebody?
  2. Is acting upon your flesh worth it? Is it worth what you're going to lose or what you'll reap by walking according to flesh?

We need to be aware. Watch and pray because the flesh is weak. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak. You want to be aware of the flesh in your own life so that you can minister to others. Hebrews 4:12. The Word of God is available to show you the difference the flesh and the spirit and that's why we need the Word of God in our lives. 

Share your thoughts and experience in the comment section below!


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  • Excellent podcast, thanks, Pastor Jeff. Truly, the Word of God has the power to discern our thoughts and the intents of our hearts. One of the examples that stood out to me especially was in 2 Samuel 6:16-20. Michal, the daughter of King Saul, reacts in disgust to David’s excitement before the Lord after bringing the ark of the LORD up to the City of David. Michal’s derisive comments towards David were a prime example of how we can attempt to judge others’ motives without understanding the whole story. In terms of a counseling setting, it is important that we ourselves do not jump to conclusions in our flesh, without considering the full context. As Pastor Jeff said, we can end up holding a “kangaroo court” of sorts. The verse that comes to mind is Proverbs 18:17, “The first one to plead his case seems right until his neighbor comes and examines him”. As counselors, we must be Spirit-driven at heart and therefore distance ourselves from our fleshly tendencies to pre-judge others based on our subjective perspective. We must first be on guard for the works in our own flesh before addressing the works of the flesh in the counseled.

    • Good words Summit. This is exactly why God does not want us to be the judge in earthly matters. We just cannot know all of the details and motives of a given situation, but the Holy Spirit does and therefore he can judge rightly.

    • One of the areas that can be a weak spot for us is receiving verification from another person about someone that might tend to appear true, but this is the flesh-powered damage of gossip or slander in how it causes us to potentially believe something is wrong about another person.

      I believe God wants us to understand when a thing is verified, as this is done in Scripture all the time, but can we be more careful verifying a falsehood about somebody?

      This only drives us and others, to a position of stricter judgment. Kangaroo courts are dangerous and yet it seems some tend to be impatient to learn of the facts about a person or situation. I pray we use wisdom in how we each treat each other and how we carefully and lovingly counsel those who are seeking our help. I have seen where some should not be counseling others because they tend to judge them even before they get started trying to help.

      God knows about all of our failings, and yet He still loves us. Can we not remember this? I will be the first to say I have not been perfect at this. I hope to hear always the truth from the Holy Spirit and His Word, as we care for people in the midst of counseling them.

      Thank you, Sumit.

    • Such a good point Summit. the gift of a word of wisdom and praying for discernment are so key to not living in the flesh when counseling others. We really don’t know the hearts of men and women and biases for and against can interfere with a counselee’s road to freedom in Christ.
      One case recently in Christian news is of a well-known and respected apologist who was abusing women. When the ministry would get reports to this effect they blew them off as “persecution” of God’s servant. No one believed his accusers and no one held him to account to give him a chance to repent. Now, he’s gone. A very sad failure of discernment.

  • Great podcast! How important is to recognized our own flesh before we minister others. Also, indispensable to be aware of the flesh in the people we are counseling.
    In the case of Abraham, he created a plan which included an omission of a truth. Like asking his wife to tell Abimelech, King of Gerar, that she is his sister. That was half true. People will lie in order to manipulate situations. In counseling we will have this type of circumstances. People will skim us into believing that the other party is not being fare, is wrong etc. I appreciate how this podcast makes us aware of it. I love what Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joint and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It reminds me when my ex-husband wanted to have a counseling between him, the church and myself. I did not wanted the meeting because I knew that his goal was to get what he wanted by taking advantage of the goodness of God’s people. I now understand that I underscore the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord could have spoken to the counselor and given him wisdom to discern his real intentions. I rejected the meeting back then. I see how important is to walk in the spirit if I want to counsel others. I will need His guidance, wisdom and discernment. “Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” Galatians 5:16. This is our remedy to walk in the Spirit.

    • Thank you for sharing your reflection, Karin. While reading your comment the Lord reminded me that He is faithful with always having the BEST intentions for us, Man is sinful, always having the BEST intentions for himself. I love that the Holy Spirit knows our thoughts and hearts and that if we were to be put in a difficult position we are not there alone without anyone by our side. We have the Lord (=

    • Great thoughts Karin! Thanks for sharing your insights on the podcast and your life experience showing how much we need the Holy Spirit in our lives. And yes, you’re right when you said, we need to recognize our flesh before we can minister to others. Great thing is, as we learn to obey the Spirit more, discernment and wisdom increase in our walk with God. God bless Karin!

    • Karin, you have come a long way by accepting that the Spirit of God can bring about the truth in things that we can not. The remedy is to walk in the Spirit but it goes much deeper than that. Walking in Spirit is our life for only by walking in the Spirit can we have peace, hope and a love for all mankind. The triune God works in our lives to bring about the truth in every situation if we listen, look and pray. God bless you!

  • The Christian has a battle with the flesh! and it is on a daily basis, and we individually have to be aware of what it is in our own selves that we are battling with.
    The example of Abraham lying to protect himself and Sarah his wife brings home the point of how often fear causes well-meaning people, even Christians to lie. Abraham in lying, and telling a half-truth was rather trusting in his ability to protect himself, rather than trust God. He lost faith in God’s ability to protect him, despite all of the promises God gave to him. This shows how despite the rich promises of God, we as Christians can choose to rely on our strength, even lying, in order to look good or to protect ourselves and/or our reputation before others. But it rather compounds our problems as in the case of Abraham. Come to think of it, Abraham had time to hatch a plan to lie, whereas, he could have used that same time to pray and ask God for protection for him and the wife. The time spent in hatching a cover-up plan can very well be used to pray. And that he lied twice on the same issue at different times, brings to the fore what Pastor John MacArthur calls remnant sin in the life of believers, that as counselors we need to be aware of both in ourselves and in our counselees. The desire to manipulate is one manifestation of the flesh that we need to be aware of in our counseling exercises.
    Again, we need to be aware of our own self, because we can be overconfident about our ability to withstand temptations to lean to the desires of the flesh in counseling situations. The Bible truly admonishes us not to lean unto our own understanding, but to trust God in all our ways.

    • Good words Songo. Fear will always pull us away from doing God’s will. When we fear man more the God, it will always lead to failure. Putting our trust in God and walking as if it is already accomplished will lead to living a victorious Christian life.

    • The ‘well-meaning’ lie – so easy to fall into the HABIT of doing that to avoid hurting feelings or protect one’s self, not even thinking about what we are doing after a while. And it is not so much that it’s fear that causes us to do it, but a lack of faith in God and His will for our lives.

    • Great insight, Songo. The temptation to lean on our own understanding is alive and active, even within the counseling relationship. If we are not vigilant, we may find ourselves slipping into our flesh and prescribe worldly counsel instead of Godly counsel. For example, we may be so concerned with building rapport with the counseled, that we forsake the Lord’s teachings concerning a particular subject like marriage and divorce.

    • Songo, I can relate to your comment on fear-driven sin. It would be beneficial to use our time more wisely by praying instead of living in fear. It does require us to stop trusting in ourselves and trust more in God and His ability to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or think as Ephesians 3:20 states.

    • Songo, I resonate deeply with need to be aware of the flesh in our own lives! I like that you brought up the time spent by Abraham coming up with a plan of escape. What am I filling my time with? What is my motivation? I can spend so much time worrying and reasoning through situations that are far better off being prayed through and surrendered.

  • The story of Haman is a powerful example of the damage that can be done by a man who falls in love with himself and the sound of his own voice. He could care less about all the people how would die just so that he could be exalted to a position that he did not deserve. I have worked around people who had this attitude. They would walk all over other people in order to get recognized. I don’t know who said it first, but I did read the words of Robert E. Lee, who said “there is no limit to what can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit”. As believers we must rely on the wisdom of God and make sure He gets the credit. This is the only way we can truly help ourselves and others to grow in Christ.

    • Thanks, Harry. The story of Haman speaks so much of the extent man can go to glorify self. The besetting temptation in every man is to glorify self; to pursue the enhancement of self reputation in every way possible. Such selfish predisposition, which is in every man is always destructive, and that is the more reason why the flesh needs to be crucified.

    • Yes, what a hard pill to swallow. I think of my own life where God gives me a heart-check. Sometimes my husband and I go back and forth bouncing ideas off each other for ministry, later I find out that my idea was accepted then I realize my husband unknowingly “took the credit.” (All this goes on in my head btw) Of course I have to reel my thoughts and attitude in. Instead of being thankful that the Lord wanted to “use my idea” I was prideful and had a sense of entitlement. That is an ugly look on any believer. Then the Lord called to mind Matthew 23:12 and immediately I was convicted for trying to take the Glory instead of giving it to God.
      Definitely a very fleshy thing to do. But yes, if we did everything with the only intention of giving God glory all of us would be in a much better advanced state.

      • Desiree, I’m laughing in my head right now because I have done that exact thing SO many times! And yes, it all goes on in my head! I want everyone to know my good ideas, and how much I care, etc. The reality is that the Lord looks at my heart, and all my good works are worthless if done for my own self interest. Praise God we have been given the Holy Spirit to convict us and refocus our hearts.

    • Well said Harry, “Haman is a powerful example of the damage that can be done by a man who falls in love with himself and the sound of his own voice.”
      We also need to see the damage that he did to himself and to his family. It destroyed them and we as humans need to see that it is only through God and his love that we are to be someone who lifts up others for God’s glory. Being humble is the way to go and being truly humble is only accomplished by knowing who God is and that he is our everything. We are nothing without the love of God. PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!

  • It is so hard to recognize the flesh at times but I think that if I look inside to see if what I am doing is for God or for me, that is the way I can recognize the flesh in myself. It is so easy to see it in others but to see it in me, that’s another story. These podcasts are so enlightening, they have shown me new areas of my life that I need to look at more closely. God has brought me to this class for a reason and I can see that now. There is so much more to the flesh than I ever thought about before. I pray that God helps me to continue to see the flesh at work in my life so that I can eventually help others to see it also.

    • These podcasts are also so enlightening to me. I love how the Holy Spirit gives us revelations. Is just how in Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” I am memorizing this verse.
      Thank you for sharing James.

    • Well said, James. “These podcasts are so enlightening, they have shown me new areas of my life that I need to look at more closely.”So, very true of me too. Various subtle ways of fleshly manifestations in my life and ministry being revealed in these weekly podcasts. I believe that’s the essence of the lessons, that we will first and foremost have to deal with the issues in our lives so that we can effectively be used of the Holy Spirit to reach others. Glory to God for the podcasts.

    • Amen, that has been an issue that I struggle with
      is it my need or His but with prayer I have been able to step in our out
      Thank you so much for sharing and being transparent
      We are all the body of Christ and we need to help each other back to Him

  • These podcasts have been helpful for me in looking at my own walk. During this podcast, however, I found that I was also looking at how this applies to people that we run into – whether in life or in ministry.
    We have all known those people in church who can’t seem to ‘get the victory’ over things in life. It is if they are spinning their wheels and continually fighting the same battle with the same results. Listening to them, we hear excuses, lies, and defeat. Sadley, we don’t often see that ‘victory’ we think we should see. When he read Galatians 5:16, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh,” my eyes opened to understand that, too often, the pressure put on these Christians is to not fall to the temptation of the flesh (and we know how successful we are when we try to live according to the law). Making disciples is not about stopping a behavior or conquering an addiction, it’s about teaching people how to walk in the Spirit and in faith. Exactly what we have been reading about these past 3+ weeks. The answer is not found in self, but in the Word and the power of God.

    • Hi Myrrh,
      I agree with you and I f I understand you well. the goal is not to stop the addiction, the goal is to walk in the spirit. Without the Holy Spirit we can’t conquer our sins. God is the vine, we are the branches. We depend on Him. Galatians 5:16 says it all “So, I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”.
      Thank you for sharing.

    • Truly, Myrrh. Making disciples is not about stopping a behavior or conquering an addiction. How really, we are in such a haste to make them stop the manifest behaviors, rather than gently lead them to a life of sanctification, unto Christlikeness. I think the immediate result of seeing them ‘stop the behavior’ kind of gets us to feel good about ourselves( flesh in operation?); more like, we have accomplished a great deal. The more one listens to these podcasts, the more the realization of various subtle aspects of fleshly manifestations. May God continue to help us.

    • Fantastic point, Myrrh! “Making disciples is not about stopping a behavior or conquering an addiction, it’s about teaching people how to walk in the Spirit and in faith”. By focusing on “Christian behavior-modification”, rather than walking in the Spirit, we miss the mark entirely. The verse that comes to mind is Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect in the flesh?”.

  • What a wonderful scripture to use while teaching this lesson. When I hear this particular story I always imagine that I would probably respond in the same way Abraham did. The faithfulness and care of the Lord always convicts me in that. I think about why I tend to put God in a “box” during situations where he can be glorified and even perform miracles if only I were to have more faith and trust in him. God is so good and loving that he takes care of his children, it’s so sad that we can fail to think about that or remember it enough. When we do do we actually take it to heart? We always hear songs and sermons about “God can move mountains” whatever that mountain looks like but do we actually think about the fact that, yes God can and literally really does move mountains; so why is it such a hard concept to trust in him?

    I’m blown away that Jesus would give us yet ANOTHER gift aside from salvation. As if his torture and bearing of our sins weren’t enough. He gives us Holy Spirit that despite our fowl nature, walks with us to help us. God doesn’t “believe in our ability to be Holy and change” but in His power and love to perfect us and make us Holy despite who and what we are.

    As many of you have already addressed, the importance of the Holy Spirit working through addiction and within a person’s heart with that addiction is crucial. You all are spot on, that is exactly how the Holy Spirit was ministering to my heart during this Podcast after listening to another teaching PAstor Jeff posted regarding addiction. Thank you all for your insight as well.

    • I appreciate your insight to express how God cares for us in all situations. It is hard to remember that He is there and He is able to help us overcome the storms. When I get overwhelmed, I quickly remember Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides still waters; he restores my soul.” I emphasize “He Makes Me Lie Down” as Pastor Jeff had said (quite a few podcasts ago) that sheep do not lie down if there is trouble or a tiny disturbance. I remember that God makes me lie down, telling me that He has all things in His hands and I can rest by His hands.

    • Amen,
      Thank you for sharing
      God loves His creation and He will finish the good work He began.
      In prayer we can discern how to act and react at any moment and make our Father proud and become examples and witnesses.
      Thank you for your transparency

    • I agree Desiree,
      God was merciful to Abraham amidst his position in the flesh, adhering more toward the feeling of fear so he made the decision, protecting himself from potential harm concerning Pharoah and Abimelech, but he placed Sarah in a tough spot in all of that process. I wonder sometimes how many we might hurt around us when we choose to live by the flesh which honors the law of sin and of death (Rom. 8:2)? As you mentioned the importance of the Holy Spirit, He is very quick to point out when we tend to go down the road of self-service over the caring we are to consider doing at least on others’ behalf? When we honor God’s ways, others around us will always benefit from our obedience to God. The opposite is true as well, sin and death more so abound when we operate in fear and in the flesh. I would say those who are younger than me (53), please learn this a lot sooner. How we live our lives for God or not for God, does matter. Not just for us, but for those around us too. And those we counsel with especially will reap what we sow in the secret of our lives, one way or the other.

    • Hi Desiree,
      I love how you took the reflection of Abraham deeper. It’s true , when the mountain is right in your path, it becomes hard to trust God can move it. As a less mature Christian I remember having such a hard time trusting. In reflecting on what’s different then to now, I realize God’s faithfulness hasn’t changed but my acknowledgement of it has. Before, I read the word as I read any old book, excited for the moment but forgot what I read soon after. It was not until I really asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me His word, to remind me His promises and to record His word in my heart, that I was able to face the mountains in confidence that my God is able to move them if He will. But if he doesn’t, “even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for He is close beside me. His rod and His staff protect and comfort me.” Now, I see mountains as lessons, as stepping stones, and as tests. They don’t feel good, they aren’t pleasant, but I love the new wisdom the Lord gives me with every mountain. Thank you for such profound reflection. Blessings.

      • So true Ericka, the idea of trusting God needs to move from a concept to reality, I still find myself trying to trust him in the middle of trials and fears! And in the midst of a trial I will say “I know trust you, but once this is over I can really trust you” which is dependent on the circumstance and not on his word alone or faith. Like The 3 Hebrew boys in the fire, I want to learn to say that even if God doesn’t do “it” we can still praise him. It is so encouraging for me.

    • thank you Desiree for your post. I have often been guilty of minimizing God. I need to remember that we do not serve a small god but a big God. And just because we do not know His limits of God’s power, should not make it dismissive. But as we magnify God our insecurities become small. My work as a fuel truck driver comes with long days but it has allowed me to worship God. Something that I was too embarrassed to do in church.

  • Is it worth it to live by the flesh? Never. Just yesterday I struggled against my flesh as I broke down over a simple matter of conflict. It was not a big deal, but never being taught how to handle conflict, I was instantly attacked and overtaken by my flesh and my emotions. It didn’t feel good and the situation was not handled well by me. Thankfully, my husband and I have Christ and His forgiveness and my husband was able to forgive me and ask how he can help.
    I think it is so important for me to surrender my mind, heart, soul, and strength to Christ. It is only He who is able to restore me and only Christ and the Scriptures that can renew my mind. Without Christ’s life for forgiveness, I could only imagine how horrible my life could be again by living in the flesh and being far from God.
    I love the Old Testament examples, they truly are human beings, and I find such peace in knowing that humans have been the same since the fall of Adam and Eve. It gives me a sense of hope and security in God, because He was faithful to them before Christ died, and how much more faithful is He after Christ?

    • Thank you for your transparency, Kayla. It just goes to show how God uses our spouses to help us through difficult times. God is so good and caring about what we are going through. Can’t we say just how good His word is? Oh yes, we can. His God-breathed love letter to us will never grow old or outdated!

    • What a simple, yet powerful, question you asked: “Is it worth it to live by the flesh?” That really brings it in focus. While there may be a temporary or earthly payout, that is all it is – and that is not even guaranteed! But living in the Spirit, our treasure is in Heaven, and that is a forever thing!!

  • I have dealt with church members who have been in ministry a long time but desire to hang on to their positions knowing their health and or other signalers are saying it is time to slide over and allow some younger aged helpers to come in, to transition into that ministry with them.

    I had one instance fairly recently where I asked someone from our church to allow this to happen, really for her own health’s sake to begin allowing the next generations of teachers to help in what she does for us. I never planned to move her out, but just let a couple of teachers in. Yet that was enough to cause a real stir.

    What occurred then was slander/gossip against the leadership trying to depose at least my decision, and it became an attack on my character in that whole experience. I held my ground on it and stuck to the plan I put in place. Those initial attacks have more or less stopped as far as I can tell as people will just have to see where my heart stands as their pastor.

    I could have probably shamed her “using her own sins”, into leaving the ministry all together but that was not my heart to do that, but just to have a better balance in how this particular ministry is running.

    After hearing our Podcast this week on the examples of the flesh, I felt this person I am in conflict with, operated in her flesh to try and protect her position to such an extent there has been painful backlash over it. Once again I seem to have these “real-life” ministry experiences to share with our class. Feel it is a decent way to apply what we are learning. The thing is I don’t hate or even dislike this person. It was painful to deal with but we are all sinners with perspectives needing to remain in the power of the Spirit so we will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

    • Thank you for sharing,
      I lost a position at my previous work in a church, due to the same problem
      I was the young guy that everyone taught did not know anything and it was hurtful
      when I saw a mistake that a pastor made I called HIm out lovingly and asked him to fix it but his ego was too grand that he was offended and cause me to have to lose the job.
      When we had our last meeting there I brought it up and said that sin that big must be fixed and we cannot overlook it, but because everyone was afraid of losing their job they remained quiet, now the ministry is getting smaller and is not because I left but because the sin has gotten bigger.
      Thank you for your comment and transparency

      • I know God will move you to something greater in your life and build you up to a point to be very effective in His kingdom. God allows us to sometimes face these types of things for a reason. Most certainly I chose over the years to not do to others what has happened to me, even in how I handle others who attack for the sake of protecting their positions. May God bless your future! Thank you.

      • Hearing that the ministry is getting smaller because the sin has gotten bigger, really brings sadness to my heart. The Word tell us in Matthew 18:16 – “But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” I don’t think that it is God’s will to allow an avenue of salvation to be handed over to the enemy. I posted a scenario that I had last summer, where I had to deny becoming involved in a situation that would have caused more harm to the ministry than anything else; as a result we had our personal vehicle that we’ve used for ministry, for years actually, vandalized, but then recently our ministry was donated a van that is like brand new.

        Incredible how God knows our struggles and rewards the behavior that is expected of us: like King David still being blessed by God, accepting his worship in the nude; and Esther given Haman’s house, and the Jewish people being lifted up and being able to conquer those who came up against them, and Mordecai given the King’s signet; and Abraham and his wife being protected in the midst of the lie. And how God has mercy when we have fallen, as He did when he did not kill Adam & Eve for their sin that caused the sin of all of mankind, but made a way for us to be reconciled back to himself through Jesus.

        It feels as though time is short, and the devil is seeking. . . we are saved by grace through faith and not of works – but we are judged (rewarded) according to our works (I believe that when we have much, much is required; Matthew 25:14-30, Job 6:24, Psalm 19:12… It is so difficult when we already feel defeated; and like I felt for a while, I know that the Bible has much to say about the fall of mankind and where sin originates. It isn’t of God.

    • Sam that sounds tough! I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve experienced something like this in ministry. Well done sticking it out and trusting that people will see your heart in the midst of it all. If your goal had been to please people and earn the favour of men, then you might have given in to opinions. But because your heart is to serve and glorify God, and to see the church flourish and grow, you persevered.

    • As always, thank you Sam for sharing practical lessons we can apply and add to what we’re already learning in this podcast and Pastor Jeff’s class. In a way, our podcast community serves as a support group that helps us remain steadfast in our quest for growth in Christ. We also encourage and have the privilege of praying for each other. God bless!

      • Thank you, Angelica. Thank you for your support and prayer too. I agree with how powerful our podcast community really is and the growth experienced in this arena. Never thought this would be how we learn about Biblical Counseling but it has been really helpful. Thank you for your response!

    • Hi Sam. I am familiar with people holding on to their role instead of their goal. The church in which I grew up has dwindled down to 6 (no kidding) people. The youngest is in his 70’s. They have had opportunities to allow the younger people that were in the church to have a hand in ministry, but no one wanted to step down, or even make room. Because they have protected their positions (and their musical instruments), every person under the age of 70 is gone. This saddens me greatly because it was a church with thriving children’s and youth ministry. This happens with people of all ages. I have faced this same with battle within myself, and I understand those (sinful) motivations that cause it. I am grateful for these podcasts and discussions as they have helped me face it and understand that we do not have to be stuck here if we walk in the Spirit!

  • What a great reminder that whenever we are talking to someone we have a choice to hear them in the Spirit or the flesh and it will define the outcome. It is impossible through human ways to eradicate this way of responding but in Him, through prayer, we can find victories. I enjoyed the part where Pastor Jeff speaks on our point of view versus His point of view because sometimes we are stuck on proving our point instead of correcting with scripture and the outcome is disastrous and what the enemy intended.
    Acting in our flesh will never benefit anyone, it does not glorify God.
    I also enjoyed examples of people being bold in the bible even though others did not see it that way, men and women stepped out boldly to glorify Him and others acted in fear. The difference I understood was prayer, as we counsel, speak and teach we must always pray ceasingly.
    This was an amazing episode thanks

    • Pablo, God has all the details whereas we don’t. I agree with you, we must be careful in not assuming details or taking sides but instead should prayerfully seek the Lord. We do need to correct sometimes, but with scripture and in gentleness and love. I like your comment on hearing someone in the flesh or the Spirit determining the outcome. It is true. There have been times I have done each and there is a distinct difference in the outcome.

    • I agree Pablo,

      It is easy to get wrapped up in our own point of view. It is hard to think that we don’t have the answers. That there is a way to get the right answers but it is not through our own efforts and understanding.

      If we can shut down our own flesh, it will be easier to help someone else with their flesh.

    • I love that you discerned the difference-maker being prayer. The Holy Spirit is constantly searching our hearts and the hearts of those we are counseling. He will give insight that our own discernment can never determine on its own. Not only does the Spirit know the heart of man but He knows the mind of God and will pours that knowledge into us that we might pour out onto others.

      “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”

      1 Corinthians 2:11-12

  • There were so many good points in this lesson! But I want to thank God first for loving us despite our flesh battle. I have been guilty of the sin of omission as Abraham was. I am also a people pleaser and am motivated by the approval of others. When others don’t approve of me, I tend to want to defend myself. But as Pastor Jeff said, there is a balance between protecting myself, proving I am right and living for God’s glory. If I am not able to persuade the person to hear me, I tend to shut down and usually end up taking a licking. Sometimes saying something is what God wants. He calls us to confront in love. It makes confronting someone easier if we can see them as being on the learning curve, growing in Christ as Pastor Jeff mentioned.

    I appreciated the questions Pastor Jeff asked us to consider near the end of the lesson. The first one would also be helpful if asked before bringing up a difficult topic. Asking “What do I want to achieve?” will help put things into perspective and allow us to find better ways to express our concerns. Of course, we must seek God before going to someone with an issue.

    • I agree Donneen,

      It is so amazing, that God loves us so much. It is so hard to understand that we can be so loved even though we don’t deserve it.

      I can relate to feeling like you have to defend yourself when others don’t approve. That is another fleshy conflict that I am familiar with.
      It is great to see others on the learning curve and knowing we are all located somewhere on that curve.
      We are not perfect, but we are learning and best of all we are so loved. Making it easier to love others.

      • Carrie, it is so nice to connect with others who struggle with flesh but don’t judge and condemn. It is encouraging to know that we are not only loved by God and covered in His amazing grace, but that other believers love us despite our sin and fleshly tendencies. Your words bring me comfort.

      • I can relate to both you Donneen and Carrie in regard to feeling like you have to defend yourself, even when others don’t approve. This reminds me of a situation that I experienced last summer where, in our outreach ministry, we had a girl (A) come aboard to begin volunteering. She just moved from AZ and was involved with ministry there. Another girl (B) began to stir up strife in which I refused to become a part of, and (A) jumped on her bandwagon trying to fix everything. She repeatedly asked me to be involved where I refused to become involved. Girl (A) began to criticize me for not being Godly and trying to fix everything; even after I gave a Godly perspective to both (A) and (B); both of them argued against what I said, which their refusing Godly counsel caused me to step away. It even got to the point where I had to as girl (B) to no longer volunteer because her behaviors were disruptive to the ministry’s objective.

        There comes a time when you can and cannot be part of something. I found that when we are injecting the Word, if it is not received we take another with us to again inject the Word; if it is still not received, then we have to step back, and allow to happen that which is going to happen, in order to cause a change in their heart which only the Lord can do. That incident caused me to be more discerning when it came to allowing people to volunteer in any capacity beyond occasional because, like Haman, that kind of power can cause the downfall a person, or an entire ministry.

        Thinking about the situation from today’s podcast point of view, strengthens the faith that I placed in my decision; where before I had thought about it occasionally (digging it up in my thoughts) with the thought that I might have been able to do “something.” But there wasn’t – as a matter of fact, after my refusal and my husband standing behind the decision, our Suburban window was smashed during that time, as well as the gas line cut – after I refused to be part of that situation. But the Lord recently prompted the heart of someone who didn’t know about the situation last summer, to donate a 2006 Express Van, with only 7k miles on it, to our ministry. Romans 8:28 <3
        Thank you Doneen for bringing up this very good point!

        • Thank you for being willing to share your struggle with us. I am sorry you had to go through that, but I am glad it strengthened your faith. James 1:2-4 speaks on the testing of our faith producing endurance. Sound like you had your faith tested. It’s nice to come out the other side and be able to know you did the right thing.

        • Thank you for sharing that kristi, it is true! Even though the need for help is vast sometimes, it is better to wait and make sure the right person comes your way, I always pray now that God would build my team and bring the right people to me as he did with David in 1 chronicles 12.

    • I so agree about how many good points were in the lesson. I also find I am right where you are and the same things were what jumped out at me. Always nice to know you aren’t the only one. How blessed to be aware of our sin but more of the LOVE of God! Being in these conversations are like the bumper rails on the bowling alley they help us to stay on the lighted path!! Thank YOU for sharing YOU!

      • Thank you for the encouragement! We are all experiencing the same sufferings as 1 Peter 5:9 states. It is a great reminder that we are all going through this growth process together; becoming more like Christ.

    • Great points Donneen! You thoroughly summarized the podcast accurately! Thank you so much for sharing your take on Pastor Jeff’s teaching. This is what I meant in my initial comment – I so love the opportunity to meet like-minded people like everyone, if only through this podcast community and other CCU network, where we can be our normal in Christ self. The conflict in our flesh is only more pronounced when we’re out there with the world, not in our safe, sheltered world with Christ. However, we’re assured He equipped us to overcome our flesh conflict, while still in this world, the Spirit confirms we’re not of it.

      • I am enjoying very much the interactions in this safe, sheltered world of Christ, as you put it. You all have been a blessing. I feel the same way you do about meeting like-minded people. Thank you for sharing your tender heart.

    • Hello Donneen, like you I have been accused things that I didn’t do. And the sad part is it came from church leaders who didn’t do their due diligence to find out the truth. Yes, it was very hurtful and shameful knowing that leaders would believe a lie about you. But, God is good, just like with David and Michal, He defends His children and covers them with his love. His comfort came to me from Romans 8:1,”there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This verse was my healing and rest, which helped not to have a bitter heart. It was a good lesson in my life and it taught me to always seek truth in Christ. thank you for sharing, blessings

    • Donneen, I also found Pastor Jeff’s suggested question of “what do I want to achieve?” super helpful. A BIG takeaway for me so far, during this course, has been that I need to have more of an inquisitive dialogue with MYSELF in order to see exactly where my motives lie. Are my actions based in the FLESH or in the SPIRIT? Once I ask myself these questions am I happy with the answer? I have realized that I have been living with a certain level of “auto-pilot” in play and that is just not going to cut it in keeping in line with my spiritual growth and goals. I have turned up the volume in regards to how often I turn to God for counsel and discernment and turned down the inner voice volume. Thank you for sharing!

      • You really hit home with this comment, Jessica! I have had to step back a bit and learn to filter everything through the word of God. I have let the idea of being ordained take the place of a sound relationship with the Lord. So now I am checking my motives, are they of the Spirit, or is my flesh at it again? Hopefully, this happens before I open my mouth so that I can speak the truth in love. I pray we learn to never depend on ourselves because that’s when the flesh sneaks in
        and takes over.

    • There was an interesting section I was reading today in Chapter 7 of Counseling/How to Counsel Biblically by John MacArthur. It was called Dealing With Criticism (p. 93) and mentioned how God is in control of our critics and those situations when people are not pleased with us for some reason. Instead of defending ourselves or trying to prove we are innocent, we should learn what caused our critic to make the accusation. Perhaps there was something we even did inadvertently that we did not intend. A biblical response (in the Spirit) is to show humility, learn rather than defend and allow the facts to prove the situation. If we have a godly character we can be closely examined and we will be found faultless.

  • The timing of this lesson was perfect. I loved, loved, loved when Pastor Jeff talked about walking in the spirit and trusting God. That we are not perfect, but walking out our faith every day. Growing and learning, becoming better and better as we continue to learn more.

    I had a job interview yesterday, with a Christian church. I work in a very worldly job right now. It went well and I was told I was one of the top three candidates. I was walking on air yesterday.

    Some of you are probably already guessed, what happens after walking on air. You have to come down to reality. I woke up at 3:10 AM with fear and dread and insecurity. I had no hope or joy. I had to get up at 5:00 AM and work at my normal, not exciting job. The enemy was telling me all the reasons, I’m not worthy. I felt defeated all day.

    I forced myself to start the lessons, knowing it help’s get me adjusted. Almost immediately there was a washing, a refreshing of God’s love for me. I know he wants good things for me. I believe if this is not right, that there will be something better. But I believe it is for me and that this is going to allow me to serve him full time.

    The flesh can get us in so many ways. I know I have had my fair share. I know I struggled with jealousy and felt a connection to Michal’s actions. The way it would come out in an angry, and demeaning way, I would make it would seem more like hate instead of jealousy.
    It seemed to me that Michal was jealous, when she brought up him dancing in front of the maids.

    I do love the way the word can change the way you feel instantly. God is so good. Take care!

    • Your real life story woven into the lesson is so refreshing. I totally get the walking on air one minute to succombing to the battering of the enemy the next. Being in the word and these classes are powerful to align our perspective with truth to combat the enemies battering. Praying you get the job and hope you’ll share the outcome!

    • Carrie, I really appreciate the honesty of your post. I have a worldly job and often feel high levels of guilt about not LOVING it. It’s a great job and provides extremely well for my family. Furthermore I am very good at it and enjoy it. However I know that it is not what I have been called to do and ever since I realized this it has become difficult to be happy about being there. Pastor Jeff brought up some points, which cross my mind often in regards to my job. He mentioned “lying vs. concealment” and spoke a bit about the differences between outright lying and not being forthright with certain details in order to manipulate. These are issues that I battle with regularly as I am in a job where manipulation, information & details are par for the course. I am proud of you that you have been brave enough to have FAITH in God to venture out of your comfort zone to go after a church related job. I am sending prayer your way & hope that you get the job lady!!!

    • Carrie thanks for your post, it reminds me of the peace that comes from God. I sure needed the reminder that God can take the stress that I been feeling from juggling too much of my shoulders. I am trying to get a place where these classes don’t feel like a burden. Maybe it’s a storm that needs to pass by, I am not sure. It’s difficult for me to discern my emotion like Jeliousy and pride. So listening to you express how the podcast moved you was helpful again thank you

    • Praying for a good report from your job interview! I really get the ups and downs when struggling against the flesh. I just accepted a position with a new company and was very excited about the prospect of moving on to something new, when the idea of something new suddenly made me pause and worry! I really don’t understand what makes me tick sometimes!

    • Carrie,

      Thanks so much for sharing vulnerability with us. I am praying for you that God would open up great opportunities for you to step out of the world and serve His people through the church.

      It is an easy thing to get jealous and hung up and usually for me the way that I get past these sorts of feelings and attitudes is by constructing a gratitude list. Starting with 10 and then slowly adding onto it week by week for the month in my journal.

    • Thanks for sharing your life experiences and the lessons learned. I can relate to walking on air one minute and then battling the enemy the next. For me when I get into the word it helps redirect what I am thinking and feeling and believing and trust in God. I love how the word speaks to me as nothing else every can. and helps me to change what I’m thinking and direct me to truth. I pray you have much success in getting the job.

    • Thanks for sharing, Carrie. Yes, so true on how the flesh can get us in so many ways. I’m the same way when it comes to jealousy and how anger manifests itself when this flesh demands its way. I remember our pastor mentioned that sin keeps you away from the Bible, and the Bible keeps you away from sin. God’s word is so powerful, He graciously convicts, and washes clean the yuck that’s already in the human heart. It’s amazing how sharp the Word of God is and how powerful it is to transform and renew one’s mind over time. Thanks for sharing! Blessings.

  • The connecting thread in each of these examples given are preservation and gratification of the flesh. I like how the “lust of the flesh” in 1 John 2:16 is not limited to sexual immorality, but defined as desiring anything that is not God-ordained. I am reminded of a quote by Elizabeth Elliot that says, “When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.” What is my motivation in my choices? When the love of the Father is in me, I will not be led by the lusts of the flesh. In Abraham’s example, self-preservation is born out of a lack of trust in the Lord. Proverbs 29:25 says “the fear of man brings a snare, but he who TRUSTS in the Lord will be safe.” When I am tempted to twist words to escape conflict, I am not trusting in the Lord. In each situation of conflict I face need to ask myself my motivation for my decisions. Saul and Haman both were motivated by self-seeking and envy, which ultimately led to their own destruction. My flesh is so weak! I must constantly seek out my own motivations and desires and be willing to put to death those thoughts and intents that are not born out of the love of God.

    • I love that quote by Elisabeth Elliot! It always comes back to the motivation of our hearts. We cannot know the motivations of others, only the fruit that they are producing. But if we are keeping our motivations pure, and transparent before God, we can be in a better place to counsel others.

  • Pastor Jeff thank you for the podcast “Examples of the flesh in conflict”. It amazes how much as fleshly beings we are the same and so prone to the same fleshly respones and sins. Easy to see it in others all the while we are participating in the same sin. Can so relate to Abraham lying for self-protection and possible Sarah protection. I could see if it was me even justifying it by saying I was ‘protecting Sarah’. But in classes and this podcast we get the privilege of taking the log out of our own eyes and see how much we are like Abraham and yet learn that God still protected, loved and honored him? What an amazing Father we have. This discovering of our sin becomes such a cleansing experience instead of a failing experience or a condemning experience.
    I am also one who hates conflict! Yet conflict plus a resolution equals closer relationships to people and God. This validates the importance of being in the word and of being in community with others. The ability to walk through conflicts, aware of the deceptive flesh that could harm and armed with the knowledge and the ability to choose better. The benefit is to grow more in the likeness of Christ as we go! Great podcast!

    • Kendal, I agree with you. It is so easy to see the flesh working in others but these podcasts have caused me to look at my own heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jerimiah 17:9). Yes, we do get “the privilege of taking the log out of our own eyes” like you said, then we can see clearly to help someone else take the speck out of their eye. I see how subtle the flesh is but thanks be to God that He gave us His Holy Spirit that teaches us to walk by the Spirit!

  • So blessed to be getting uplifting podcasts like this every week, being in Bible school, being with like-minded wonderful fellow students, just overall learning about God and His ways through the Word – life can’t get any better than this! One big difference I’ve noticed being in Christ is the excitement I see in other fellow believers and myself on the things of God. Our ‘flesh’ is getting more acclimated with the Spirit – more conscious of wanting to please God and desire His ways. The more we spend time with Him in prayer and reading His Word, like we get to do in our classes, the less we indulge the flesh. The usual appeal of worldly things go away over time as we cater less to self. Though there will be times when the flesh tend to wander away, God
    has faithfully provided the way back, the way out of momentary defeat.

    • Watching others grow in the Lord is certainly exciting. I often get teary-eyed when the close people in my life tell me that they have seen me grow in Christ.
      I am learning to indulge the flesh less and less, as I have a the “American mentality” to have things and have them instantly. Truly, spending time with Christ in prayer, settling my soul before His thrown, He restores me and leads me on His path, and it is the best instant reset I receive from Him.
      It is so wonderful to be reminded that He is faithful now and always, even when we do not trust Him or remain in Him; He is faithful, and that means the world to me.

    • I agree Angelica, these podcasts are truly thought provoking; even when we believe that we know that “identification of sin or godliness” behind a story, re-reading the story opens a new perspective and gives us a new prescription for our issue. God’s Word is truly incredible! 🙂
      Although I didn’t write about this insight in my post – Today’s podcast helped me to see where my flesh was standing in the way of my spiritual growth, because my flesh is detail oriented and I can get stuck at a certain “thing” whatever that thing is that’s happening. But on the flip side, I now think, is it my flesh that’s detail oriented, or does my Spirit not want me to miss an opportunity of growth through me being detail oriented. Or is the fact that I’m questioning this, caused by the confuser? I think my best bet is to give it to God and ask Him to work out the details and let me see what I’m supposed to see, in order that I be a good Biblical Student and receive the blessing of knowledge and wisdom.
      Thanks for your post!

      • So great to hear from you Kristi! Thank you for your comment! Our commonality in our pursuit of God and His love is what I deeply appreciate with you and others in our podcast community. It’s only within God’s people do I find such sensitivity to His Spirit and willingness to obey Him.

        • I understand Angelica…completely. I came from a secular university where I had to be assertive, and when I transferred to CCU, I find that my assertiveness needs to just – go away! I do not need to be this way with brothers and sisters in Christ because we are on a journey together – and I don’t want to be the sister sitting in the back seat of Papa God’s car, elbowing others and causing Papa to smack me :O Each time I respond to these posts I have to intentionally remember – “these are my family in Christ – let go of all that I learned before and let the love of God flow in me, and through me.” My heart breaks for those who are attending secular colleges. I feel like I dangled my toes in H. E. double hockey sticks!

  • Such a great teaching. I was reminded of so many situations in my own life! Being in Paris, we have had worked with some amazingly godly people and with some power-hungry people who have been very frustrated to work with us. It is so easy to be focused on the negative situations and to let them be just “a bad year” rather than a great season for learning as David did during the Saul years.
    I really loved Jeff’s word on Abraham, how though he put his wife in actual danger, (which is completely inadmissible), God protected him, called him a prophet, elevated him not on his works but on his faith.

    • Hi Becky
      I agree with you. Even in Abraham’s sin God still did a mighty work in his life. It goes to show how great our God is and that it’s never us but it’s our Lord who is at work. It give me hope and encouragement knowing that even in our weakness, our Lord still wants to bless and use us for his Kingdom work. Thanks for sharing, blessings!

      • It is so true Michelle! He is so incredible, and has such a plan for sinful man! I find it so reassuring, that verse in Rom 15.13″ May the God of hope fills you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope.”. He truly fills us with joy and peace, in believing in Him – so that even when things turn out in a way that we would not desire, we can have hope. Our hope is not circumstantial nor merit based. I think the Lord is teaching me that on a new level, as he peels back a new layer of my onion (to quote Shrek 😉

    • Hi Becky! You would think that our experiences with other people would not make us fear or be irritated–especially when we have a word from the Lord regarding what He has planned for us! But I still lose my faith sometimes!
      The Abraham story is such a fascinating one in this regard. As is Jacob and Rebekah deceiving Isaac. Since both had received words from God regarding their future one would think that they could trust that God would not need their help…and yet they worried, laid their plan and walked in disbelief. In the end, both Abraham and Jacob did not thwart God’s plan for their lives through their actions and I imagine their faith grew enough to not try to help God out in the future?

      • I know what you mean Carolyn, especially when we have years of experience in the ministry, we should know these things and not question them anymore. Yet…
        Fortunately it takes much less time to recognise the old man and repent than in the early days. It is, in some ways, a comfort to see that even Abraham, who believed without having the written word made colossal mistakes. Rebekah and Isaac were fleshly and we can learn from them and hopefully not repeat their errors. I truly appreciate the transparency of the word, how it doesn’t glorify the founders of the faith, to make them appear to be saints, but shows that we are all on this path of following the Lord in a fallen world, struggling with our flesh, trying not to give in to the wiles of the enemy, leaning hard into Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith.

  • I think that so often we look at conflict as a sin to avoid. But looking at the example of Abraham, who avoided conflict out of fear, was a great example of how we need to embrace truth and trust God even if it means sometimes entering into conflict. I’m not naturally confrontational, probably because I’m too insecure. But that same insecurity that causes me to avoid looking for trouble, also causes me to care too much about people’s perceptions of me. This leads to going to great lengths to earn people’s favour. Instead, I want to desire God’s favour above all else, to stand up for truth and step out in faith even if it means losing exposing myself to being thought less of by my peers. This applies so much to counseling, because I want to be truthful and faithful in my counsel, even if it’s not what the counselee wants to hear!

    • I have also looked at conflict as a sin to avoid. It is so easy to just ignore a problem and let it continue because it is harder to confront that issue. I have also struggled with other people’s perceptions of me. I let my fear of being ostracized keep me from from sharing the truth with those around me.

    • As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” God does want us to live in fear but to live in His power and love. Through the power of the Spirit, He allows us to overcome.

  • This studying on the flesh was excellent. There has been many times that I have been asked about struggling in the flesh during a counseling session. And it’s happening more since Covid has been part of our culture this past year. Many are struggling with fear, anxiety, and trusting the Lord with their daily lives. I wish I could have every counsellee listen to this study. Pastor Jeff breaks it down so well and brings in the encouragement that victory is in the midst of the struggle and conflict. Just by walking in faith and trusting the Lord that He has everything under control, even when we sin and fail, just like Abraham whose faith and trust was at his lowest, we still have God’s protection and covering. Faith in our Lord is everything in our walk and learning to live one day at a time knowing He will gives us our daily bread, is the comfort and assurance that is needed to have a faith filled walk.

    • I agree, now more than ever fear and anxiety has taken over so many people. My Pastors continuously talk about never before seeing so many Christians in fear and so overtaken by their anxious thoughts. Women in the bible study I attend often bring up the struggles of fear and anxiety their teenagers are experiencing. Putting my self in the shoes of our Pastors, or even in your shoes as a counselor, I can only imagine it is exasperating to share the truth of Jesus to people who hear but do not trust.

      • Hi Ericka
        Thank you for comment. and yes, it can be discouraging hearing those that love Jesus, trusting man more than the Lord. At times it breaks my heart. 🙁 Praise God that the word is the alive and is the fountain that can only fill us with His grace and strength.

  • I like the exhortation Pastor Jeff left us with at the end of the Podcast, to “become aware of the flesh in our own life so we can minister to others”. I think this is something I don’t pause and take in to account enough. Counseling/Discipling others takes a heart and mind that is set on the heart of Christ with the mind of Christ. If there is anything in us that is of the flesh then we can lead people to a place that is pointing them towards selfism rather than the Lord.

    It is so true that fear can cause us to do the work of the flesh. We lie and scheme to self preserve or protect ourselves from anything that might cause discomfort or pain. This manipulating can have greater consequences in our life than just doing what is right according to the Spirit. Even if walking truthfully has a not so pleasant outcome, it is far greater than what may happen as a result of our scheming. The sin of omission is just as much detrimental as the sin of commission. But how great is the mercy and love of God! That even in his fear and disobedience, the Lord protected and used Abraham. I am so thankful that the Lord is not looking for perfection but rather that He is looking for those whose faith is in HIM. Those who live in a place of repentance, submission, and belief, even though our flesh may waiver and our trust in Him may falter.

    This is as much convicting as it is encouraging. What am I willing to do in order to build my own kingdom instead of building up His Kingdom.

    • I agree Kristine. Taking account of what we are struggling with in our own flesh in important but often missed. Fear can cause us to do things we would not normally do. This is why it is so important to have a healthy fear of God. Our actions should be motivated by Him not by fear of anything else. Yes this podcast was very convicting and encouraging simultaneously.

  • I’m so grateful for the revelation that even though I’ve been working towards perfection, God has been looking at my faith! I fail at perfection miserably, and sometimes I just feel so hopeless because of it. But this podcast reminds me that if concentrate on walking in the spirit, the flesh has no room in me. I love that Pastor said, “come as you are, not stay as you are”. That’s a mistake that I see so often in the church. People say, “Jesus loves me just the way I am”, and it’s true but he wants to transform you so you can achieve the fullness of life He died to give us. Also, lying out of fear, is a habit that the Lord revealed to me. I grew up with “little white lies” are necessary to avoid confrontation, they won’t hurt anyone, etc. This was passed down from my grandma to my mom and so forth. The Lord has really dealt with me on that. This podcast was so informative I could go on and on.

  • Listening to this podcast and taking notes reminds me of my life before Christ, and has helped me to see what the Lord had in mind when I was facing different challenges. Applying these truths, I can see that when I am facing different challenges and trials, I know that I am being strengthened and the Lord is providing a learning opportunity; additionally, I can learn how to handle situations by learning a more Godly way to respond to challenges and trials.

    The podcast talks about the difference between the flesh and the spirit and how we need the Word of God to help us to discern the difference. The Word of God informs us of workings of the flesh through the examples of the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden where there was a “temptation” by the devil, and a “desire” to be like God and so Eve ate and then passed the sin off to her husband who accepted it. The flesh causes a fall.

    Also through the example of King Saul being “jealous” of David. Jealousy seems to stir and fester, propelling a person into some other kind of “fleshly reaction”, like Saul hunting down David to kill him forcing David into hiding. David responded in a Godly “humility” when he came out of the cave: humility as one of the things the Word tells us to inject as Jesus was: (is more powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, pierced in between the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it’s a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12). The things of God is uplifting.

    Next in King David’s case, Michal was disgusted and full of “hatred” over his type of worship and rejoicing in the Lord; but the Lord received his worship and still blessed him. Jesus said, if you hate a person you have committed murder in your heart. Michal was cut off from giving life in childbirth, as in her heart she committed murder.

    Esther became queen at a time when Haman would try to destroy all of the Jewish tribes which would destroy the advent of Jesus. This tells me that our fleshy behavior is able to destroy the Christ in us that people see, and could cause someone to not come to salvation at a time that Jesus was preparing us to lead others to Salvation; or in a Christ-ly way in discipleship or counseling, not receiving this love.

    So if we walk in the spirit, inject the Word, worship in truth, the Lord will bless us, and we will be successful in the work that He has us do for the Kingdom of God. But if we walk in the flesh, or respond in a fleshly manner, then we are actually being disobedient to what the Lord is trying to do through us, and can be cut off because of our disobedience.

    Wow this realization will cause me to keep a tighter grip on my words and behavior. This podcast has truly caused me to look at how the Lord has changed me, yet I still need changed more. I have also looked at conflicts in my life through the lens that Pastor Jeff has given today, where I have been able to make sense of conflicts that were warred against me and didn’t understand why. The reason was that the enemy was trying to keep me from salvation where I would be used by God in the capacity that I am used today. I give God all the Glory for today’s realization!

    • Kristi what you said really resonated with me, “our fleshy behavior is able to destroy the Christ in us that people see, and could cause someone to not come to salvation at a time that Jesus was preparing us to lead others to Salvation; or in a Christ-ly way in discipleship or counseling, not receiving this love.” I think to myself have I hid who I am in Christ and not revealed it “for such a time as this”? Like the scripture says, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise (for the Jews) from another place and you and your father’s house will perish…”(Esther 4:14). I never applied this scripture to myself remaining silent when I should speak out. Your reflections has caused me to examine myself in this area. Praise be to God that He is faithful to complete the good work that He started in us and continues to grow and mature us in the faith!

  • Hi everyone! I caught a “list” in this podcast that I quick wrote down so I would have it handy 🙂
    What does our counselee’s reaction stem from? The world? The flesh? The devil?
    What is awesome about it is that when you start with these discerning questions your answers will then lead you to the appropriate Biblical answers. I heard an unusual story recently which highlights this. A wife came for marriage counseling because her husband’s anger was destroying their lives. When she described his anger it sounded strange: he would fall down in the middle of a tirade and have what appeared to be a seizure. During another session the husband burst into the room when the wife was doing face-time counseling because he was angry he was being talked about. The counselor ended the call and found out later that once again he ended up on the floor seizing. The husband got counseling but it wasn’t addressed as a demonic problem as much as a “self-control” one. I wonder if we will be taught how to address discerning what evil behaviors from Satan?

  • Wow. The timing of this podcast could not have been better. I have been in the middle of conflict at the organization I ma currently a part of. Everything that Pastor Jeff pointed out about the flesh has been evident in the situation. As it continued I just tried to ignore everything and pray that it would get better. It did not. Finally it came to a breaking point after there was gossip about another person in the organization. I talked to my mentor and I felt like I needed to confront the person who was gossiping. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done because I try to avoid confrontation at all costs. The whole time I was praying that God would give me the right words to say and that it would help the situation. I am so grateful that God answered my prayers and it ended well. Throughout it all I was constantly checking my own heart and God revealed a lot of pride there that I had to address before I confronted anyone else just like Matthew 7:5 says. I grew so much closer to the Lord because I was so desperate for answers on what to do. Even though it was not a fun place to be God was obviously using that particular conflict to draw me closer to Him.

  • Pastor Jeff, I felt this podcast episode was a great compliment to last week’s episode. I came off last week, having just returned from a family vacation, feeling like I had “fallen off the wagon” in regards to my normal routine and disciplines. Last week’s podcast episode assisted me to identify certain areas in my life which had sidestepped from the Spiritual side of the line onto the Fleshy side. It was helpful to immediately take note of these areas which I needed to straighten out & get back on track, rather than allow myself to aimlessly surf the tides of uncertainty and unrest. Identify, Diagnose and Make a Plan. Through prayer I was led to study Peter’s 3 Acts of Denial. I found the MOST fascinating part of this saga to be Peter’s certain insistence, to Jesus at the Last Supper, that he would not deny his Lord. He stood in his own confidence that he knew better than Jesus in regards to his own actions. You know the story; Peter first denies Jesus to a maid and then to a maid AND a bystander and then goes onto deny Him to a crowd of people. Peter’s feelings, which hit him in a tidal wave of emotion as the rooster crows and he realizes what he has done; dismay, anguish, sadness, and grief are highly relatable. The progression of Peter’s denial can easily be compared to a personal progression of our own sin. It illustrates how easy it can be to be feeling one minute like you have it all together, like you have lots of SPIRIT bonus points, and then the next thing you know you have made one small slip up (fallen into FLESH) and then another and another. Then perhaps you feel pressured to do something to cover things up. BANKRUPT! Peter repented and asked for Jesus for forgiveness. Jesus forgave him. How comforting to know the inclusiveness of our God! Praise Him for his love, mercy, grace & forgiveness. Pastor Jeff said that “we must become aware of our own weakness so we can better minister to others” and I completely agree. I would even take that statement a bit further in that we must first become aware of our own weakness, turn to God for assistance in self ministry, and then ask for His assistance in the counsel of others.

  • I too like so many others commenting, I am so glad that God has given us His grace and strength to get through this life! When listening to this podcast, I was reminded to not be afraid of what man thinks! When Abram told Sarah to lie and tell pharaoh that she was his sister, he was afraid of what man would do. I know that I need to do better at not caring what man thinks or what man does and focus more on what God thinks and does! Proverbs 29:25 NKJV “25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.

  • Great examples from the Scripture of people who were struggling mightily with the flesh. It is amazing what we can learn from them as well as from our own struggles with the flesh. When God gives us eyes to see our own stuff and we struggle but gain victory, we have the personal experience to share with others knowing firsthand what this is all about! I think it is powerful too when we are meeting with others to be transparent, and share with them our own struggles so they don’t feel alone in that. I liked how Pastor Jeff encouraged to have your Bible open when meeting together and to point out examples from the Scriptures to help others see the difference between living in the flesh vs. the Spirit. Often it can be easier to see it in someone else before we see it in ourselves. Also the Word of God is alive and can speak to their hearts! Another great point that was made in the podcast was that discipleship is long term. We may help someone through a problem for a period of time but growing in the Lord is a process. We’ll be doing it through the rest of our lives and there are so many ways for people to grow in the Lord..meeting one-on-one, listening to teachings, attending Bible study, going to conferences, reading books, etc. God is going to carry each of us through this process and use many different people along the way. What a blessing it is to be used by Him!

  • One of the examples of the flesh in conflict that really spoke to me was about Abraham. Abraham, acting out of fear for self protection, comes up with a lie of omission asking Sarah to say that she is his sister and not his wife not once but twice. This lie of omission put his wife in danger. It also put many innocent people in danger. This fear caused Abraham to trust in his own ability rather than trust in the Lord to protect him. Then Pastor Jeff said something that really hit home. He talked about the fear of conflict and asked the question, “What are you willing to do to escape a conflict? Care enough to confront.” Wow! I have been guilty of this, overlooking things until they become a problem. I say to myself that I should have nipped that in the bud before it spiraled out of control and then it happens again. This is something the Lord is showing me that I need to hand over to Him so He can instruct me how to speak the truth in love and not be afraid to do so.

    • Thanks for sharing Indra, I am not a confrontational person either I usually wait till things are way out of hand, but I am learning to speak the truth in love and to trust that God will intervene and He will guide me as to what needs to be said. It’s good that God is working on you and showing you how to have faith in Him. God loves us so much he never leaves us or forsakes us. and His word is alive and powerful.

  • I needed to hear today’s podcast! I have been dealing with some issues between a couple of people in leadership in our congregation. Saul and David and Hamon, and Mordecai’s story illuminated the pride issues that have come up and have caused real friction and hurt feelings. By the grace of God, so far, no one has tossed a spear or built a gallows, but having seen how far things could go and being motivated by Pastor Jeff’s comments about “how far are you willing to go to avoid conflict,” I can see a way to handle it. I was also given a bit of a boost when I looked again at the life of Abraham. How in fear and without trust in God’s protection, he lied about his marriage with his half-sister Sarah, not once but twice! Yet God protected him and Sarah and even expanded his wealth in the process. Maybe we need to really think about what it means to be loved by God!

    • Personally I am one who just hates confrontation, but I am learning that their is a spirit lead confrontation done in love and truth that is sometimes necessary. Oh how I always pray the Lord will reveal truth and speak to His saints Himself. But, I want to also be willing to speak when God says speak and speak boldly what is right and good regardless of the outcome knowing the Lord is my sword and shield. I pray for that kind of boldness. Being reminded that this is not something new, as we see it in the OT scriptures as well as in our lives now. Nothing is new under the sun, praising God that He remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    • Praying for your situation at your church. Its always to good to ask what the thought the behind their decision was to gain better understand. Today I actually had to have a talk with my church leadership behind their heart a concern thing.

  • These podcasts have been very helpful to my growth in the knowledge of God. I struggle with the discerning of my emotions like Pride. I often wonder if those who are comfortable with their emotions have a better understanding of the flesh vs spirit and what it means to have an identity in Christ. Pastor Jeff really open my eyes to the question ” what is it that you are trying to achieve by contending or fighting with someone?”.The fight comes from the desires of the flesh. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows of the spirit will of the spirit reap Galatians 6:8. It seems practical to think our lashing of angry words that are meant to hurt, seek vengeance, and to win come from the flesh. But I really need to step back and examine myself to fully understand. What I need is the spirit of God to expose my flesh to die to it and that can only happen as I walk in the spirit. thank you, Pastor Jeff

    • I agree Luis, I think this week’s Podcast really caused us to step back and do a personal heart check. So thankful that Christ’s love for us is willing to reveal the areas we are walking, thinking and speaking in the flesh rather than in the spirit. I praise God that His spirit is in us to reveal the truth about ourselves that we could easily be blind to.

    • Yikes! What am I trying to achieve by contending with someone? Well, obviously my own way. I want to be right and I want to win. Well… my flesh does anyway. However, what I truly want, deep within my spirit, is to walk in and sow of the spirit. I want to NOT WANT my own way. I am so glad that He is faithful to continue the work He began in me. This is part of sanctification. It is sometimes a painful experience. The growing and changing process forces me to see and admit those selfish, prideful, sinful ways that want to rear their ugly heads in me still.

      • It is kind of encouraging to know that we all struggle with the same things in our lives and yet Christ still loves us! Romans 5:8-11 NKJV
        8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

  • I love what Jeff said that the Word of God will show us the difference between the flesh and the spirit. How true that is because the world will never show us the difference. If anything, the world will lead us to our flesh. Our weak, sin-infected flesh still seeks to powerfully influence us away from the gospel. It’s a paradox that we often experience the weakness of our flesh in the strength of its sinful cravings and compulsions. It can be very upsetting because our flesh frequently demands to think or do things other than what we should be thinking or doing at the moment. Praise God that it is Him who conquers our weakness.

    • Amen brother! all I can think about when you said this was the verse in “1 Corinthians 10:13 New King James Version 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

    • Thanks for sharing, Jonathan. I agree. I love how the Word of God lets us know the difference of the flesh and of the spirit. I look back on my Christian journey when I was saved early on in Oct. 2015, and much of my walk was spiritual immaturity. I knew I was saved, that Jesus loves me, and I was ready to lay down my life for the gospel, but when I grew in the Lord, how little did I know about the dying to self, and walking in the newness of life in Christ. It can be upsetting when we fall into the temptations of our flesh, and I’m constantly reminded as Pastor Chuck Smith once said, “Grace Changes Everything.” As strive to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh, I’m reminded that it’s the goodness of God that leads one to repentance. Praise God that He is good and able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. As Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

  • I loved this lesson on bitterness and how it can take over your motives and actions. As Christians, it is our job to be even more alert to the emotions and desires in our own hearts that can lead us astray and lead us into doing things the wrong way. I also like how it connects to the book we are reading shepherding a child’s heart.. in that God gets glory when we do what he wants and when we do it HIS way. In my life bitterness and jealousy have been a real battle so I try my best not to let those emotions take place in my life, deal with it or it will reign and control you. Loved the biblical examples those are all stories we know so well but can often continue to be reminded of!

  • I really enjoyed this weeks podcast it was a great encouragement to lean into the Spirit and allow God to meet us in the regular areas of life. I had the opportunity to speak this over a good friend in our leadership for our church. He was sharing about how he was stressed feeling like he needed to compete and prove himself in his masters class and landing a career as an admin, or he would be a failure.

    It was a big thing to hear him open up and share in this way. Most of the time I sat and listened and then as time went on I encouraged him that he needed to rest in who God has made Him. The rest isn’t just not doing anything or practicing sabbath but it is these things with living into our true identities as children of God.

    After we had finished talking he told me he was encouraged. Saying that he was blessed to reminded of God’s love for Him and how he doesn’t need to perform.

  • Thanks for another great podcast Pastor Jeff, Talking about growing in the Spirit, and trusting God, dying to our flesh. That is a daily struggle. and the more we walk in the Spirit and believe by faith the more we grow stronger in trusting in the Lord. I remember one time not to long ago a co – worker lied about me to make my bosses doubt my character and my work ethics. I got so angry and wanted to pay them back and get them in trouble. I had a choice to make I could allow my flesh to win and let my anger control me or I could be honest and just trust that everything was going to work out. The night before I had my meeting with my bosses I had been doing my school work and I had been getting into the word that night as I was reading. It was like God was reminding me who I am in Him and I didn’t have to stoop to my co workers tactics and lie about them to get my point across, all I had to do was trust in Him. So when it came down to it, as angry as I was and I wanted to pay them back for lying about me. I couldn’t I didn’t even really defend myself I listened to everything and could only speak truthfully. I really wanted to give into my flesh and sell them under the bus but I couldn’t because I felt in my heart that wasn’t the right thing to do.

  • When Pastor Christianson said he hates confrontation I was like Amen! I have always hated confrontation. I think this is a fear of man and wanting their approval. I over think what how they would react the situation and I have my 3 point talking points I am going to say in my mind but it never plays out that way. As Galatians 5:17 says “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

  • Wow, there were so many great points in this podcast. One that stood out to me was Abraham, when he lied to Pharaoh and Abimelech. He was acting out of fear and what fear caused him to do was sin before God. I like how you mentioned Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD; but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Its so easy to lie rather than tell the truth, in which this case Abraham not only seemed to lie once, but several times, in order to escape conflict. My flesh tempts me to just take the easy way out and lie, because if I tell the truth, I’ll get in trouble for saying the right thing. The problem is that we sin against God, and it leads to many lies eventually becoming a habit of habitual sin. I like how you mentioned that “Abraham was trying to, in his cleverness, to avoid a conflict and he was devising a way to protect himself, which was a work of the flesh. He was scheming, scamming, manipulating, etc…” It’s so important not to give in to the flesh, nor trust in my own ability, but in God’s protection. There’s nothing to be afraid of if I simply believe that God is my Rock and my Fortress, my Stronghold, Protector. How easy it is, when fear takes a hold of my life, to fall into various sins by covering things up with lies and striving in the flesh and not in the spirit. Another thing mentioned was how we are taught to assert ourselves and so we try to control others or manipulate the situation. When I want control over my situation, its easy to fall into the trap of striving for my honor, instead of the Lord’s honor. I can see myself either striving or manipulating a situation for my control. Trust in the Lord and don’t let fear result in me sinning before God. Wow, great stuff here in this podcast. There were so many great points!

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