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Seven Evidences of the Flesh that Must be Dealt With



In ministering to others or serving God, we are not sufficient of ourselves, and nothing is to be from ourselves. That is the flesh. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 


1.  Self-seeking/Self-serving

If Christ is the Lord who saves us, our lives are for Him. We have this battle on the throne of our heart for Christ or self. We need to let the Lord be Lord of our lives, surrendering control and yielding to His will. Romans 14:7-8


2. Striving

This has to do with the will of the flesh. Have you heard of people who are strong-willed? Well, we all have a fleshly will that needs to be brought under submission to God. Psalm 46:10


Striving is motivated by an exaltation of self or wanting to promote, establish or protect self. Our great service for God needs to come from the resources of His grace within us, as Paul said, “I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10


We have to enter into His rest. Cease from our selfish works. Panic and worry often produce striving. The answer to the striving flesh is to bring it under submission to God. Self will not be exalted, God will be exalted among the people.


3. Self-confidence and self-esteem are to be put off, not relied on, and denied.

We saw this in Philippians 3:3 when Paul said that we are not to have confidence in the flesh. Self-esteem is holding self in high esteem, which is pride. Believing in yourself, which is taught very strongly in the world. James 4:6


The flesh says, “I can” and has self confidence. These are the same Christians who often congratulate themselves or give themselves glory for the things they have done for Christ. All these things are displeasing to the Lord. They are pride and they come from the flesh. Christians walking in humility and trusts in God will be used by Him and resists the ones who don't. The Spirit says, “I can’t, but God, You can.” and puts its confidence in God.


4. Self-indulgence, self-satisfaction, boasting

These can be seen in trying to please self. The flesh hates self-denial. The flesh wants the comforts and luxuries of life. The boastful pride of life, the lust of the eyes, the things the world offers. Philippians 2:20-21


5. Self-righteousness, Trying to Please God by the Law or Our Own Endeavors

The righteous flesh is seen strongly in the pharisees, believing they had righteousness in and of themselves. Flesh often offers a good looking front/outside looks good- “whitewashed walls” that Jesus spoke of.  You look good on the outside, all clean and perfect, but inside you are full of dead mens’ bones. Self-righteousness is full of pride. Anyone who thinks they can keep the Law is walking in the flesh.


How did we get saved? By knowing we needed Jesus. That is spiritual.


6. Vindicating Self

This is self-defense, Self-pity, pouting, complaining; making excuses for yourself in failures, or justifying yourself instead of admitting wrong. If you make yourself a victim; making sure others know what you have been through, what has been done to you, how you have been wronged are fleshly responses.


Pointing the finger at others, blameshifting; jealousies and envies can also play into these fleshly responses.


7. Trusting in Man

This often shows in fleshly ways like flattery, gossip, manipulation, or being a people-pleaser. When you put your trust to pharaohs and chariots (other people/ what the world can do) instead of God is an evidence of the flesh. Psalm 20:7


The battle over the flesh is not easy. The flesh can have quite a stronghold in the land of the heart and mind.

Christians have to get to the point where they want to please God so much more than themselves, in order to not want to live for self anymore.  They are tired of self, and ready for more of Christ. They see that in them dwells no good thing and they want more of God


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  • Great podcast concerning the “Seven Evidences of the Flesh”. What stood out to me, in particular, was how the messages endorsed by the culture we live in, promoting self-esteem and self-confidence run counter to what God teaches us in His Word. Philippians 3:3 speaks of “having no confidence in the flesh” and in James 4:6, we are told that “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble”.

    As Americans, we tend to value a brand of rugged individualism that glorifies the “self-made” man and we applaud the strong-willed person that overcomes the odds through self-effort. Sadly, many of us that are Christians, myself included, buy into this “self-exalting” narrative, sometimes consciously and other times unconsciously. In spite of God’s “cease and desist” order, “Stop striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NASB), we all have spiritual blind spots. In my own walk with the Lord, I have found that coming to the Lord and praying through Psalm 139:23-24 helps me to identify the blind spots that hinder my walk. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.

    • Truly, Sumit. We all have spiritual blind spots. Daily examination in the scriptures as our mirror helps, and when the Holy Spirit brings illumination to an area like He is doing through this podcast, one takes advantage to make amends.

      • Absolutely spot on, Songo! A daily examination of God’s Word acts as a mirror for our motives. Honestly, there are things that the mirror points out to me that I find disturbing. The Word of God cuts to the heart of the issue and the Holy Spirit convicts me of ungodly attitudes and intentions that hide beneath the surface. The temptation to seek the approval of others instead of God or to promote ourselves is something we have to be on guard for. Our flesh is a fierce competitor who doesn’t play by the rules. Thankfully, in Christ, we have an advocate who “is at the right hand of God, interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

    • Right on Sumit. All we have to do is listen to the politicians to hear this “self made, self exhaled, speech that glorifies only man, and never God. It is frustrating to hear, especially when I hear it from myself. Humility just does not come naturally.

    • Beautiful. It is true, Americans always have something to be proud of in of themselves. I am a brand type person, I evaluate and justify things based on brands sometimes, and that’s just silly. A shirt is a shirt and shoes are shoes, what makes the difference if one is Vans vs Nike? This culture has promoted all sorts of idols and I fall victim to those materials to “level up” myself. Psalm 139 is going to be one I read and focus on this week, thank you for sharing. This podcast was really great to stand out my own mentality of where I need to focus on Christ rather than myself.

      • Kayla – Thank you for sharing. As a “woman in business” I have always been taught that to be successful I need to adopt a “Boss Lady” attitude and that wanting to “level up” and materialism comes with the territory. This podcast presented a fresh perspective for me on so many levels (personal & professional). Pastor Robert Morris @ Gateway Church often says that as Christians we have 3 levels to our relationship with God. #1 = The GIVE ME level. #2 = The USE ME level and #3 = The SHOW ME level. It is once you reach the SHOW ME level that God really begins to push us to look deeper into ourselves. He SHOWS US the dark spots, within our personal process, where we can relinquish SELF and dive deeper into our relationship with Him, through his grace & glory.

      • I joked about the word ‘transparency’ today, but true transparency – what you just showed- is an encouragement to continually focus on what (Who) is important – Christ.
        Thank you

    • So agree with your observation Sumit. It seems like the very opposites of humility and dependence on God are now mainstream life-codes. Interesting, since Satan’s fall was based on pride and a longing for independence from God. A doctor I used to work for was surprised by my negative reaction to something I referred to as hedonism. He asked, “What’s wrong with hedonism?” So here we are. Rome thought it could never fall but it did.

    • Sumit, I love how you intertwined American culture into the discussion. Although freedom and independence are not inherently wrong in a national sense, they are contrary to what we have been called to in a spiritual sense. It is another interesting paradox–as we grow as human beings we are constantly learning how to function on our own. We are meant to become less dependent on our parents and provide for ourselves. As we grow spiritually, however, the opposite is to occur. We must function less and less on our own and grow in dependence on the Lord.

      • Great point, Liel! As you said, freedom and independence are not inherently wrong, in fact, God calls us into a life liberated from the law and condemnation. We are not, however, given a hall pass by God to use liberty as a license for self-indulgent behavior. We are liberated in Christ by being wholly dependent on Christ. This relationship between freedom and dependence is counterintuitive, yet it is biblically accurate.

    • Great point Sumit!
      I haven’t thought about those people who are being idolized because they overcame struggles on their own strength. my eyes are open now to that “self-effort” which is contrary to the spirit.

    • Yes!!! I’m borrowing that…. “spiritual blind spots”! I feel like I find a new one in me everyday, and far from being sad about it I get excited, honored and humbled that God loves me enough to reveal them to me. I also often pray Psalm 139, I love Jesus and want nothing more than to please Him.

      • I agree, Ericka. I find a lot of “spiritual blind spots” in my life as the Lord continues to show them. I also find myself praying the same Psalm because it comforts me to know that even David, a man after God’s heart, had some spiritual blind spots, which gives me so much hope that God is able to complete the work He started in us. Thanks for sharing, Ericka.

    • I agree with your above statement that as Americans we greatly glorify the nature of the flesh. Social Media is the easy example yet there too many to count. As I listened to Pastor Jeff’s podcast I was immediately humbled and felt multiple personal areas come to mind in which I plan to offer repentance and ask for forgiveness and help. As Maya Angelou has said “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”.

    • So true, Psalm 139:23-24 is great prayer to identify blind spots or hindrances. When I first got saved I feared praying that, but now that my desire to grow and mature is stronger I look forward to praying that & seeing how God will answer.

    • I have asked the Lord to help me trust Him instead of working so hard to give the illusion that I have it all together. I still find myself striving but not as often and not with the same sense of fear or dread that accompanied the striving in the past. I really have a sense of God’s shalom and, while I still try the best I can to do good work, it is not to get attention any longer, its to serve the Lord as it says in Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (NASB)

    • Sumit I like the way that you talked about spiritual blindness and how this essentally comes from this idea of being too focus on being individuals. The freedom that comes from the reality that we are apart of a community greater than ourselves as children of God is really something special and that we shouldn’t move past too quickly.

    • We also need to not be self condemning either! Really when you think about it, when we put self in front of anything we then become focused on only ourselves and no one else which takes away from our J.O.Y. Jesus others yourself. When you and I are tracking with God, we then think of how we can honor him, then others then ourselves! Matthew 6:33 King James Version
      33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    • Interesting how psychology is so very much focused on building self-esteem which is the opposite of what we find in the Bible. We need to esteem God more and understand who we are in Him as His sons and daughters, and then we will have the sense of well-being and peace that is elusive to so many. Focusing on the Lord and not ourselves brings everything else into alignment in our lives. Many are down on themselves because they do not know their worth and value in God’s sight. Coming to the understanding that Jesus loves me, died for me personally and desires an intimate relationship with me to span for eternity is what makes all the difference! This gives me hope and comfort and purpose in my life. I am built up through my identity in Christ. Developing an identity apart from Him is fruitless after the life ends. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all things will be added unto you!

    • So true, Sumit. I myself at times consciously and other times unconsciously buy into the self-exaltation. I find myself praying the same in Psalm 139:23-24 for God to search my heart, to know all my anxious thoughts and for Him to lead me in the way of everlasting. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for sharing Sumit, I agree it is very easy to get caught up in the”self” world and sometimes do it without even thinking that is what we are doing. We get distracted and allow our blind spots to guide us. Praying through the scriptures and allowing the Spirit to be the guide, and going humbly to the Lord and praying shows strength and growth in faith. Psalm 139:23 – 24 is a great go to scripture thanks for sharing that.

  • The issue of the works of the flesh is far-reaching, even though it may not always be self-evident, which makes it rather risky for the individual.
    In our present-day ministerial world where there is so much orchestration of self, “see what is happening in my ministry”, how do we separate self-glorification from God-honoring testimonies? This is a concern for me. Will appreciate helpful suggestions.

    I am particularly touched and guilty of the revelation on striving and vindication of self (victim mentality), as outworkings of the flesh. Striving appears well described in Galatians 5:20, as contentions, jealousies, and selfish ambitions. And it is all selfishness and self-centeredness, and in many ways, I am guilty, and may God have mercy on me.
    The danger in all of this, as it pertains to the counseling ministry and indeed pastoral work, is that, left unchecked, the self-life- pride, self-seeking, self-serving, etc., can lead to manipulation of the counselee to depend on the counselor, rather than on God and His word. And this is fraught with so many dangers, as we see and hear of in the evangelical world today.

    Truly, the battle over the flesh is not easy, but as we remember the mercies of the Lord and present ourselves as living sacrifices, and not think of ourselves too highly, God’s grace is available to help us render acceptable service

  • I need help understanding this topic of rejecting self-seeking, striving, and self-confidence. I am not easily offended and will consider all comments carefully. So, I’m going to start by putting my dirty laundry out in the open. but am doing it to get help to continue strong in my courses. I have struggled with sleep apnea and anxiety practically all my life. I was never taken to see a professional about it. As an adult, my anxiety became worst and turn into crippling anxiety. I was a low achiever, made many mistakes, and came from a bad family. My father spent a lot of time behind bars and my mother has had suicidal thoughts all her life. I don’t share this with people in my circle, and I’m not looking for a pity party. God change me overnight and has been blessing me since. I need more study in flesh vs spirit. I believe my problem is that I don’t want to go back to feeling the shame of failure. I never feel that i have all together but honestly looking for Gods counsel.

    • Fear and anxiety is a trust issue. I catch myself being fearful when I am trusting in myself instead of the Lord. Meditating on verses like, 2 Cor, 5:13,” For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of a sound mind”. Also. 1 Cor. 2:16b, “But we have the mind of Christ”. Meditating on verses like these every day for a month or more can really change the way we think.

      • Thank you harry for reminding me that I should always trust not in myself but in God. I’ve realized that by putting the trust in myself, I can try to jump ahead of God’s plan and start making my plan. I do have to mention that my Anxiety did not come from fear but mainly my sleep Apnea.

    • Really Luis, thank you so much for trusting us. What you shared just validates the truth that we all need restoration. And when I hear testimonies like yours, I can’t help but be in awe of God’s love and wonderful work, in… you .. and me .. and His people. I hope you know that we all have hurts, habits and hang ups that need God’s redeeming work. Some of us are simply good at masking or pretense. So please don’t feel that you should have seen a “professional” for anxiety attacks and sleep apnea. You already have direct access to THE Wonderful Counselor of all counselors.
      All glory and praise be His alone!

      • thank you, my sleeping mask took care of my anxiety, and now I sleep like a baby. but I don’t see the line between believing in yourself and trusting God. I mean why can’t I have more confidence and trust God. Isn’t confidence and faith practically the same? and does not having self-confidence only apply to those who are prideful?

    • I don’t feel that I struggle with the things above, to the point that it turns into pride. Everything that I have accomplished has been God’s blessings. Bud, it doesn’t feel right that I should put away every bit of confidence aside. I feel that it would leave me in misery. can my confidence be in God, my strive in His promises, and self-seeking in His fullness?

      • Hello Luis
        Thank you for being for so honest. What you shared takes a lot of courage. It shows that you are trying to seek and honor the Lord by doing the hard things in life. Sometimes it just takes a little vulnerability and the Lord blesses it. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.”
        This verse has helped me in times when I don’t know what to do next. And just remembering to trust Him and lean on His understanding, helps me keep things in the right perspective. Hope this helps. Blessings to you!

      • Hi Luis, thank you for your comment. I am not a professional but I find my confidence in God as I believe we all should. God is able to do the impossible, to make a way where there is no way, to heal physically and spiritually. All things man can not do or even imagine to do-God can. That should make our hearts feel light as a feather with such assurance of the unknown and difficulties.
        I wouldn’t say “strive” in his promises but “pursue his promises with endurance and dedication to reveal His Glory.” Also, I would add that within the Lord’s fullness we are “overflowing” with his love, knowledge and wisdom as we continue to know him and be in repentance with humility. In this state we can find our identity in God as he reveals himself to us and teaches us who he wants us to be- or be like, Jesus Christ.
        Humility is huge, I think many people mix up humility with condemnation, which is from the enemy. When we are humble we recognize our sin and “nothingness” without God yet we should have excitement, joy and a new driven purpose as we remember that he died for each of us so that he may be glorified and that we may have new life. Condemnation is what the enemy uses to keep away from the grace God wants to give you. Condemnation tells you, you will never be good enough -SO DON’T EVEN TRY, it tells you- YOU ARE TOO FAR GONE, GOD CAN’T POSSIBLY LOVE YOU. If you have thoughts such as these that keep you from the grace of God, it is from the enemy and is not humility. If your thoughts are prompted by the Spirit, when remembering sin Jesus has saved you from, your new life and Christ’s sacrifice will urge you closer towards the Lord.
        I hope this helps give a different perspective.

      • Luis, your confidence should be in God and you should strive in his promises. But, self- seeking is of self and for our own desires. God wants us to desire him and his ways for our lives. I find that prayer helps me to stay focused on what God wants in my life, not just prayer but a searching prayer. We need to be specific in our prayers and pray about everything. I don’t mean a bless this food prayer, I mean a get down to business prayer where we give every problem to God, we give every thanks to God, we give every worry to God, we give ourselves to him daily in our prayers. When we give ourselves in prayer to God we start to get rid of the self factor. Our confidence begins to take shape in what God wants to do in and through us.
        Matthew 16:24, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” We take up our cross by allowing God to work in our lives his will by prayer and supplication. “Supplication”- the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. It takes humility to beg, and God wants a humble heart.
        Hope this helps.
        My prayers with you also.

  • It is amazing in talking about the flesh how many times the word “self” is used. There is no mention in any of these evidences that refers to someone or something else that is responsible for us reacting in the flesh. I know that I have struggled for many years with self confidence. I used to think that if I set my mind to it I could do anything. The Lord was patient will I kept banging my head against the wall trying to do things my way. He has taught me to slow down, and wait for Him. Doing things God’s way, and in His timing is so much more satisfying and fruitful. In Gal. 5, Paul give a list of the flesh and a list of the fruits of the Spirit. The in verse 25 he tells us, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”. It makes me think of Jas. 2:26b, ” ..faith without works is dead also”. Both Paul and James are taking our faith to a place where the rubber meets the road. Gal. 5: 16 ” I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Only total dependence on Christ can deliver us from ourselves.

    • Living and waiting for God is honestly the best thing ever, I love that you mentioned that. If it were not for Christ bearing the cross and dying for me, I wouldn’t have had a second chance to be close to Him. Christ is the joy of my salvation, and He satisfies my soul on a level nothing ever could; learning that the hard way allows me to appreciate Him more and more. It is a complete surrender to Christ and willingness to follow His path that He is able to work in me. Praise Jesus that He does deliver us from ourselves and not us saving ourselves. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hello Harry,
      That last verse seems very key to a rejection of the flesh. I used to think just walking in the Spirit meant a focus on God and His ways but I understood them from just a knowledge point of view but did not receive them from the Holy Spirit, the One who created His ways to become Lord “so to speak” over my own ways. But until I learned not to trust in the power of self, did I by the power of prayer ask God to show me His ways in the Spirit, then things began to change. I also believe we can even try to be spiritual, but by the flesh and not even realize these kinds of things do not come from us but are given to us, by Him.

  • What a great and convicting word this morning! It is so easy to wrap these fleshly, deathly attitudes and habits in nicer terms that make it seem more palatable. “I always do my very best!” when in reality I am an overachiever who is seeking to please people to attain their approval that I should be getting from the Lord! Or allowing myself to entertain that feeling deep down that God understands why my striving isn’t really that bad. The Lord does understand, but He has a better way. The flesh is indeed at war with the spirit. Fortunately, we, as believers have one another to spur each other on to righteousness and Christ-likeness.

    • I agree. We do tend to wrap these fleshly, deathly attitudes and habits in not only nice terms but terms that the world puts a high approval stamp on. What a joy to be in a classes that teach otherwise. The LORD does have a better way and we are so fortunate to be listening and learning it.

    • Amen, thank you for sharing
      You are right, most of the time we spent it bringing down instead of helping up.
      God knows who you are and He is delighted with you. ( I needed to hear that too today)
      Continue to be a brave warrior for the Lord in words and actions

    • Becky, I am a people pleaser also. I tend to put a high value on the approval of man instead of looking to God for approval. I am also an overachiever and push myself and my kids to do the best job possible. I need to be careful to watch and make sure I don’t hold people to impossible expectations.

      • I appreciate your transparency Kendal, Pablo and Donneen. My husband and I were talking about that very thing just this morning – totally unrelated to this class. It is such a sly sin, but needs to be brought under the power of the Spirit! I’m so thankful for these classes that teach the Word in such an honest and transparent way and provide ways for us to connect with each other, even though we are on different continents!

  • I struggle with always trying to justify myself. I get frustrated with my thoughts and feelings because there is something wrong, but I never know how to express it. If I am at fault, I can’t seem to understand why or what, and I try very hard to justify my reactions. It is good to know that this is a working of the flesh, then I can be aware of how to put it off and put on the righteousness of Christ instead. I want to learn to grow in humility, submitting to the Spirit and allowing His fruits of gentleness, self-control, and long suffering to grow abundantly in my soul. I liked what Jeff had said at the end as well, “We will never be perfect, but I want to live for Christ. We need to pray for each other. I need Jesus.” That is a cry of my heart as well, to live for Christ, praying always for one another, and knowing and remembering just how much I need Jesus every moment.

    • I so relate! I find myself right in the same spot as you not being able to understand the why or what of my fault! And trying to justify my reactions! Well said. I too want to grow in humility. The people I know that walk in humility are so beautiful. My heart is crying out as well.

      • Thank you for sharing! It means a lot to know that I am not alone in this struggle. Praying for you Kendal!!

    • Yes, self-justification is hard not to “default” to. I think I do this especially when it comes to something that triggers an insecurity I have. Instead of being open and vulnerable with the insecurity I can “lash out” and justify my actions. This acts as sort of a shield for my feelings and pride. I pray for strength holding God and his grace and love higher than my pride and also to help me take those steps of obedience and faith making right my actions.

    • Thank you for sharing and being transparent, our society has always shunned this and we need to rise up above it and celebrate what God has and can do.
      Humility is learned and worked on, people-pleasing always leaves empty hearts

    • Kayla I totally agree! Gentleness, self control and long suffering are fruits I want to see more of in my life too. I’m always trying to justify myself, and I’m seeing more and more how that way of thinking is related to my tendency to seek to please man. My pride tells me that if I’m always justified, then others will think more highly of me. Lord help me to seek the approval of Him alone!

      • Amen! I will be praying for you, Rachel! The Lord’s approval is much more important, but it is so easy to please men before Christ.

    • To be honest, I have to admit that I too struggle with wanting to justify myself. When I feel that someone has wronged me, I really have a struggle not to tell someone of what happened and explain my side to justify my actions. I hear your struggle because it is mine as well. It makes me want to cry, “Oh wretched woman that I am!” But this is a good place to come to because then I can acknowledge that I need a Savior. It’s a humbling place but that’s when God can work with us and provide His grace. Yes, let’s pray for one another.

  • Pastor Jeff I just loved this podcast. I became a Christian as a young adult and had no mentoring or even opening of the bible until I was 30. And then it was a very slow learning process because I didn’t even know the stories like Noah and Abraham etc. The names of Jesus and his disciples were all new. But what I did know was that I was a “very good” person so I belonged in the group. In fact I prided myself in being “practically perfect in every way”, just like Mary Poppins. It took some horrific events in my life around 40 for God to get a hold of me and show me my flesh. God lovingly showed me my ‘Mary Poppins perfect’ was actually a very grievous sin, HE showed me how much I was like a Pharisee. What this has to do with the podcast is that for more then half of my life I had made my rules to live and decided what is good and what is evil. So I have struggled in my own life identifying evidence of the flesh! The 7 evidence of the flesh that you outlined is helpful in identifying sin. I call them clues. I need the clues and welcome the clues over and over. And God never disappoints. He always gently and lovingly points out an area. I love how you described self-confidence and self-esteem. Not to be relied on and humility says “I don’t have the strength but my faith in you does.” That was a perfect word for me today with doing school. School is stretching me and frustrating me and I need to just stop and say “I don’t have the strength but my faith in YOU does”, over and over again!! Thank-you and very timely!!

    • I love “I need clues and welcome the clues over and over again.” Such a great statement. Shows the humble and loving spirit you have towards the Lord. This is something we all should strive for, looking and welcoming the Holy Spirit to guide us and reveal when we are being Self Sufficient. Thank you for being honest an authentic. Blessings!
      Proverbs 3:5-6

    • Kendal, I was struggling with my confrontation as well. My problem was not knowing how I was letting my past sinful nature dictate my future decisions. I have also had some stressful moment working 14 hours and going to School with small children. but we can have confidence in His promise He who began a good work in you will complete it. what I found helpful from chapter 2 3 in our book was focusing on our final destination.

  • An interesting situation I am facing now is determining how to pastor a situation with a person who appears to be living in the flesh in their attitude and view of life. Historically they have wanted a lot of control in our church. As a result of their past control, many people were hurt or driven out of the particular ministry they had control of at the time in our church.
    When I became the lead pastor, I changed their status and removed them. Much to the relief of many people, has this person gone on the offensive and along with a few select co-conspirators, they have made my ministry difficult. I feel I made the right call and the sheep of this particular fold have one less wolf to contend with, but it seems the flesh is being honored more now, in the midst of this situation, rather than the Spirit being more so revered.
    This trial is not over! But I pray I do not live in my flesh myself, or make decisions from a flesh point of view. I pray this for that person as well – seems if both sides would commit to God’s will in this situation, our church will be more at peace.
    I do not see the outcome of this situation yet. And I do feel it lines up with our 2nd week’s Podcast Discussion. If I had to choose one of the 7 Evidences of the Flesh to describe this situation I am facing, the people involved in this offense closely line up with #3 – Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem are to be put off, not relied on, and denied. This is what should be happening anyway.
    Appreciate insights or from your experiences in which you may be able to relate.
    Sam

    • Hello Sam
      First, sorry to hear that you’re dealing with a power struggle within the ranks of the leadership ministry. My husband and I early in our walk, went through a similar struggle and unfortunately it did not go well with us. We were banished from the church. But, with all the pain and broken heart we faced, if brought us to our knees and we learned through our desperate heart that God would be our everything. It was one of the best lessons and trails, to be able to experience God’s love by His love and care. I pray this for you, that our Heavenly Father will carry and reveal himself to you through his wisdom and grace. Blessings! Proverbs 3:5-6

      • Thank you for your prayers and support. I know there will be important lessons for both sides to learn. My hope is the church will be safe in the experiences of this trial. I know it will survive as it has done for 100 years but I pray for wisdom and insight from this as their pastor. Thank you, Michelle.

        • Blessings Sam and Michelle! Thank you for what you both just shared. Although it didn’t happen to me directly, similar to Sam’s happened to my friend and realtor colleague who was elected at the time to replace their outgoing Pastor six years ago, went through the same opposition, just for being selected to lead pastor their church. Obviously, opposition was coming from and led by someone vying for same lead pastor position himself. When he didn’t get it, brought half of the congregation with him and formed his own church. It was a mess that became our small town topic of gossip for months. Fast forward six years ago today, my good friend realtor pastor grew and matured in spirit because of that very sad point in their church’s history, BUT GOD, blessed and grew His church too! I will not imply, ‘ they lived happily ever after,’ of course not. However, removal of those who probably didn’t belong or DiDN’T want to belong there to begin with, was the greatest thing that ever happened to their church family. It was a fresh start for a small number of people left then, now they’re twice the size or more, before they were abandoned years ago. What others meant for evil, God meant for good. He always comes through! Be praying for you and your ministries, Sam and Michelle! God bless always.

          • Thank you for your prayers on this. It is a big deal to me to do what the Lord wants of me. I pray the ministry stands based on His will, in my life. I expect the ministry will survive and what if it turns out like what you have described? Let’s hope and pray it does. Thank you Angelica.

          • I will definitely pray for you and the church Sam! Would you keep us informed please? I’d like to see how God will work this. God bless you my brother! Have a wonderful week.

    • Thank you, Sam, for sharing. I am honored to have the opportunity to bring this situation before the Lord! I am reminded of James 3:13-16.. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” It sounds like a lot of envy and self-seeking were/are at play here, which paved the way for confusion and ‘every evil thing.’ As you continue to walk and act in the meekness of wisdom, however, the result will be righteousness and peace.

  • “Christians have to get to the point where they want to please God so much more than themselves, in order to not want to live for self anymore. They are tired of self, and ready for more of Christ. They see that in them dwells no good thing and they want more of God”
    Love this!!
    Being a person who is all seven, especially #7 Trusting in Man, this message was definitely needed. It was a beautiful reminder that I don’t have to strive after the things of God, His sufficiency is all I need and should want. It convicted me to the core and revealed how self involved I am. Thank God for His grace and love that brings humility and restoration to the mind and heart of man. Thanks Pastor Jeff for reminding us how much we need to be less of self and more of Christ. Blessings!

  • One of the evidences of flesh that God revealed to me, which I sub conscientiously struggle with is striving. Just to have it defined in this way and “call out” somethings that we perceive as good yet is not necessarily good to God was eye opening. In my life Now see that as I chose to follow the Lord I still held on so selfish ambitions such as school and a career. These things in themselves are not bad but when I grew somewhat reluctant to follow God’s timing or only thought about “my dreams” the heart behind the goal was wrong and off. I never put into terms the fact that “good” ambitions can become bad ones when you are not putting God first.

    • I agree, I find myself wanting God to things my way and not wanting to follow God’s timing. So hard to wait on the Lord, when you know the way you want things to go.

    • Thank you for sharing Desiree.I agree that is not good when we put ourselves in front of God. I struggle with striving. I am a perfectionist. I tend to stress if things are not going the way I want. Now I know I need to bring the flesh under submission to God.

    • Thank you for sharing Desiree. The Holy Spirit always reminds “God’s doesn’t need your work. He cares about your heart.”. As a person who is striver, there is always need of a heart check who is getting the glory in this moment God or myself?

  • Thanks Pastor, for a great but convicting podcast, one we’re all too familiar with as we set out to battle ‘ourselves’ daily. One author of our course material pointed out, in essence, it is war where we find ‘the enemy is ourselves’, is not an exaggeration nor is it intended to be melodramatic either. Going over Pastor Jeff’s “Seven Evidence of the Flesh”, merely heightened the truth that the only way to win this war is simply trust in Christ, allowing Him to take the driver’s seat of our lives. Realizing the magnitude of Christ’s love for us when He died at the Cross in our place, is more than enough to prompt us to reciprocate the greatest love of all.
    Denying self everyday is hard, and reason will tell us, we don’t have to. When we choose to, despite trials and tribulations that await us, comes the satisfaction that, this is loving Him back.

    • So beautifully expressed Angelica! I love your reference to how our denial of self may lead to trials and tribulations but that we can have the satisfaction that this is, “loving Him back.”
      Isn’t so incredibly beautiful when we are witnesses to a true act of agape? It invariably brings tears to our eyes to witness selfless, self-sacrificing acts which do not have any earthy reward, fame or publicity. As iniquity abounds, the love of many will grow cold our selflessness will shine and give glory to our God!

      • Oh Carolyn! Thank you so much for your kind comment. You’re so right! While writing the comment you liked, I was literally moved to tears, overwhelmed once again with His love. God bless always and will be praying for you and your family Carolyn!

  • Than you so much for this, I read through the comments and you can see that we all have a little of these in our daily walk.
    I had to laugh a couple of times realizing actions I was denying were flesh. It is funny that even in the battle we can confuse our own selves.
    I see this every day, wanting recognition at work. I work in a stat based environment and getting surveys telling how great you are is a huge part of that stat.
    I have had to learn, I didn’t get that survey. I am only good because God has given me the wisdom to be good.
    Without his wisdom and his knowledge I am nothing.
    This was really great and I want to respond to all of you because I can relate to each and everyone. We must share a common enemy. (Flesh)

  • This was a timely episode as God always is, justification for me has been the downfall of the continuance of sin and shortcomings from dwelling in Him. It is a pity party that I will throw constantly because it was easier in my mind but in actuality, it was a huge mistake.
    Confessing this to Jesus has freed me from constantly fighting for my desire instead of His, I justified my rightness and implied I knew it all almost extinguishing the flame of devotion my family had. Once I realigned my desire to worship Him above my own needs I truly began to change and see different, living by faith.
    Thank you for this amazing reminder and for pointing back to the one who paid for me.

    • Hi Pablo,
      I can relate to your desire for justification; before Christ, I constantly sought pity for the fact that I was a victim of child abuse. But after coming to Christ I was able to clearly see that there are other people who suffered the same kings of abuse, and so when i looked at abuse from a different perspective I was able to let it go, give it to God, and forgive those who caused me harm. It was that forgiveness that freed me from then repeatedly making myself a victim over and over again through my self-pity, and in the eyes of others by manipulating their thoughts toward me as not being bad, just bruised. God does not waste our experiences; we are able to take those life experiences into the world to help others to forgive and receive forgiveness, and ultimately grow in knowledge of His word, His love, His grace, and in the works that He has for us to do. It is true that God gives back to us the things that the enemy has stolen; and, replaces our sorrow with joy. Our desire is truly exhausting; God’s is liberating!

  • Here’s my, AMEN, Jeff!
    “Lord, I don’t have what it takes but you do.” Having a carnal nature that wants to be in control, I was always terrified of letting go. If I did let go wouldn’t things all fall apart??? Could God really be trusted? It was terrifying because when I came to that point I was very sick, 97 lbs and close to death. But, I did let go and found that He IS trustworthy. Making an idol of myself never worked anyway!
    I think it is such a common phenomenon to add Christ to our lives like an accessory, a “co-pilot” as Jeff said referring to the bumper sticker. I once did a deep dive into Matt 11:28 in which Jesus invites us into his yoke which is “easy and light.” Some might interpret that as, “see we have equal power in the yoke!” Not so. The yoke training involves a lead oxen and a submissive one. If both lead the yoke becomes a heavy tug of war, a big burden.
    I love being a co-laborer with Christ. There is no burden He cannot bear, there is no problem He can’t meet and there is no ugliness I experience that can’t make me more like Him. There is no lottery like our God.

    • I have had times in my life where I have asked God to grow my trust in Him because I let circumstances with other people damage my trust in God. God is faithful and set me on a course that brought one instance after another that required me to choose to trust Him because He was all I had. Looking back, it doesn’t surprise me that my life verse is Proverbs 3:5-7.

      I was listening to an instructor a while back who stated in the Jewish culture when they refer to a yoke, it is the idea of putting yourself under a Rabbi’s teachings. I had never heard of this concept before and thought it was interesting. I have always heard it in the frame you mentioned. I thought the whole study was interesting. Especially learning some of the cultural differences and how they affect our understanding.

  • How convicting! As I was listening, I kept checking my heart and saying, “Yep, that’s me.” “Wait, that’s me too!” I almost slipped into despair around number five, thinking how many aspects of the flesh I saw in myself. It reminds me of James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” I can relate to Paul saying in Romans 7:24 “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” But then I remember Jesus is my redeemer and I am not without hope. I am no longer a slave to sin because He has set me free. Praise God for making a way for us to be reconciled to Him. What a humbling teaching.

    • So very true! It is easy to fall into despair, but i also heard an encouraging message this morning about God’s sufficiency in 2 Corinthians, and how he uses even our weaknesses for His glory, like Paul’s thorn in the flesh. When we are weak God is strong and his strength abides even more strongly upon us to fill the gap. And that is why Paul rejoiced. It helps me rejoice to know that my strengths can be used by God but also my weaknesses and infirmities, because it makes more room for Him.

    • Hi Doneen,
      You know what – I did the same checklist about myself! Before coming to Christ I was so full of myself; so much so, that I cannot believe that I was even worthy of saving! the song, “Who am I?,” resonates with me completely. I remember having conversations with the Lord about my thoughts and how opinionated I was and still can be; about my behavior toward the behavior of other people; about my attitude; about the way I approached life and circumstances always effecting me to the nth degree and how I reacted. I told the Lord, “I don’t know how you’re going to change me, or if it’s even possible, but I’m willing.” I was wretched and detestable… I didn’t give Him enough credit for being a living God in my life, though I knew he was living, and at the age of 29-30 when I fully surrendered I was stuck in my ways. Romans 12, though I didn’t fully understand it at first, became a reality when I looked back on who I was then and who I am now; and I think, who will I become in Christ more-so now after serving him in fever-pitch since then. I look forward to Him changing me more, and counting on this education to help that process. I look back and cannot believe how fleshly I was. My ongoing (once frequent, now sporadic) issue is wanting to quickly respond without first taking “whatever the something is” to the Lord. I am able to see the work that the Lord has done in the way I see things which reflect in my behavior, and I’m still amazed that change happened to me of all people, and grateful for it.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rT8Re1EIQc

  • Thank you, Pastor Jeff, for this study! The Holy Spirit is definitely impressing the sufficiency of Christ into my soul. I have just returned home from a Prayer for Lost, and was reminded of my complete helplessnesses to do anything to save a human soul. I am simply completely dependent upon the Lord to act. The Lord is the one who saves, and He is the One who sustains. This is brought to mind as I think about the struggle between the spirit and the flesh. If I was completely dead before He breathed life into me, how can I expect to do anything of value apart from Him? When I act in self-sufficiency, I deny the reality of my very salvation. Just as He brought my soul to life, He alone can breathe life into whatever things I put my hand to do.

  • Thanks Pastor Jeff for another great pod cast. The works of the flesh is something we have to die to every day, I know for me some days are struggle with getting out of self mode. I tend to let my feelings and emotions be my guide instead of the truth in God’s word. And as you said it a pity party, I get distracted with everything going on around me. I used to look at the small picture instead of the big one, which is focusing on God and what He did for me through His Son. Letting God take the wheel and totally trusting Him with everything is hard especially when I’m in self mode, because I want to be in control. Which only leads to chaos, and anxiety and everything that robs me of God’s peace. As we grow in Christ, we recognize more easily our fleshly ways we need to die to through the Spirit convicting us. We will never master completely dying to self until we go Home to the Lord but we are a work in progress every day. We learn to be submissive, repent, and let God be in control

    • Thank you for sharing Margaret! One my favorite pictures of control is the little girl holding her teddy bear and Jesus with another teddy bear.Jesus way is far better than ours when we trust in Him.

  • I so appreciate you seeking out prayer for desiring to trust in God alone and not man. I am reminded of a conversation I heard last week between Daniel Fusco and Jon Tyson in that Jon was saying that every time we get distracted and take our eyes off Jesus is an opportunity to turn back to Him. I found that to be so encouraging! These seven evidences of the flesh remind me of that call. Each of these sins I battle with as my flesh and the spirit wage war against each other. What struck me was the call to come to God humbly and in Faith trust that God alone has to the power to do in me what he desires for his will to be accomplished in my life. Anything else is me striving on my own, flailing is more like it and isn’t that a futile place to be?? Honestly, when I am frustrated, worn out and at the end of my rope it is because I have been driving headlong on my own strength. This is so discouraging but then there is the opportunity to turn back to my Lord and my God and seek Him. He is so gracious and patient. What a silly sheep I am and I need His rod and his staff to guide and comfort me. Thank you Pastor Jeff for this timely podcast and a reminder that sin is the sovereignty of self.

  • I love what Jeff said, “flesh is self-sufficient.” Some people (myself included) refuse to be used by God because they think of themselves as “not ready,” but in a sense, we are never ready or worthy. If we were, the sufficiency would be in ourselves and not from God. This makes me think of a Charles Spurgeon quote, “Our sufficiency is of God; let us practically enjoy this truth. We are poor, leaking vessels, and the only way for us to keep full is to put our pitcher under the perpetual flow of boundless grace. Then, despite its leakage, the cup will always be full to the brim.” The seven evidences of the flesh really reminded me that only Jesus is sufficient to save us, redeem us, and make us new.

    • Thanks Jonathan for your humility in sharing how you often think of yourself as not ready. I feel that so often too. It’s such a good and necessary reminder that we are never truly ready or worthy. When my eyes are off myself and instead on the Source of the “flow of boundless grace”, then I can do all things because He is sufficient!

    • A very strong point you have raised, Jonathan! The feeling of inadequacy, and refusing to be used by God because of what we feel about ourselves, is common, even amongst ministers, but it is counter scriptural. Truly, since our sufficiency is of God, as the scripture has stated, and so, we should be ready to rely on Him at all times to do His work.; and indeed the scripture also encourages us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us

    • I love that visual you drew of filling up with God’s boundless grace and that is through marinating ourselves in Scripture. There is no substitute for the Word being our Bread and sustenance. More of You, Lord so that there is less room for me because I know that without the Lord filling me and leading me, I make a mess out of whatever I do.

  • Man, being a people pleaser is a tuff one! Like you said, I really don’t know why I am trying to make man happy, when all man does is fail time and time again. All that we should be caring about is how we are pleasing the LORD, but that’s when the battle of the flesh verses the spirit begins! We tend to be seeking approval in all the wrong places instead of just seeking God first.
    Matthew 6:33 King James Version 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
    The LORD has been teaching me for a few years now, how to differentiate between having self confidence and having confidence through Him! I use to think that if I had any confidence in who God has made me, then He’d oppose me because of that Verse that says ” God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud.” Because of this thinking I would then get into the self pity mode and this would keep happening. This happened for years until God revealed to me that we can have confidence in Him and that the enemy was trying to use that Scripture to discourage me from what God had planned for me!

    • That is true, we do spend way too much time trying to please people that fail us all the time! We know what is in the heart of man, yet we seek so desperately to win it! Confidence in our Savior can give us the strength to stand firm on the Rock though the storm beats against us, confidence in self will have us buckling at the knees when the first big wind hits.

    • I struggle with being a man pleaser also and God has been so faithful to gently remind me whether I am seeking His pleasure or people pleasing. This has been a years long process for me also but I have noticed that I see what is happening much quicker now. This is because I am in the Word daily and seeking the Lord intentionally. It is grave because this is idolatry and I have to confess it as such when the situation arises.

    • Greg you make a very good point. I too find myself trying to please others at times; but then I look at myself the way others would look at me through how I responded. I became so used to criticizing myself that I had to surrender even that to the Lord. A few years ago, before responding to someone, I got in the habit of, in my mind I would say, “Lord help me.” Then an ethic, or scripture, or a principle from a Bible story comes to mind, then I would either react or help or guide someone. Later on when I am alone I think about the request vs my reaction, and I think of different ways I could have reacted, and maybe should have reacted; even after I believe that I have reacted appropriately I still mental bash myself while telling the Lord about it. What we do effects even future generations and this is obvious evidence that I fall short and in need of wisdom, and to trust in what the Lord provides for me to give others. I really like to keep my mouth closed if I don’t know the answer to something; or if I don’t know how to help someone, all I can do is listen.

      I am grateful that God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud; each take purposeful work, and our head and heart fixed on Jesus.

  • Seven evidences of the Flesh:
    I see so much of this in my self, I am a perfectionist. I like for things to be right and there are not too many people who can do it better than me.
    I also trust in man too much. I like to be appreciated, I like to made out to be the one who does things right. I am a people pleaser. I guess Pastor Jeff and myself are a lot alike.
    If we as counselors can give this all up to God we would be better at whatever we do if we do it for God. God is our strength, God is our confidence, God is who we should strive after and for.
    This was a very good podcast, it showed me a lot of things that I need to give to pray about and give to God.

    • Agreed! I believe these are all things that we see in ourselves now, in the past, and will probably see in the future. This struggle with the flesh is one that is constant and is a reminder of why we needed Jesus to die for us. It is so easy for us to give in to our own fleshly desires, rather then giving them to God, which is why we are in constant need of HIM. It is easy to love oneself, be prideful, to give in to wanting to please others rather than the Lord, but God brings us low so that He can be the one exalted rather than ourselves.

  • After listening to this great podcast, I realized that the flesh wants us to be the god of ourselves. It rejects to be governed by God. I also realized how selfish and self-seeking we are. I am in desperately need of the Lord to help me counsel; otherwise, I don’t see how the Lord could use me to help others. In James 4:6 says “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble”. That is hope. God is our hope. If we draw close to Him, He will be gracious to us.
    Even in a successful counseling Ministry, we are to be aware that any great results don’t go up to our heads. I would have to constantly remind myself that it was God not me who is drawing people to Him. I am just being used by our Lord. “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” Philippians 3:3

    • Yes! We do not want to give glory to the very One who deserves all of it. From the beginning all mankind has esteemed self higher than God and it is the same today. There is nothing in and of myself that I can offer to help someone and I must rely on the Lord to guide me in every part of my life.

  • I was convicted by all seven of these “evidences of the flesh”, but I think the one that most resonated with me is the idea of trusting in man. I don’t think I would label myself as such, but when Jeff went on to say that when we are people pleasers, it’s a way of trusting in man over God, that really hit home! I have always valued other people’s opinions, and I often take it too far where I’m obsessing over how something I’ve done will be received. I think this is where it falls into self vindication as well. Will people understand my motives as good? Will they see how hard I’m trying? Will they think the best of me? This can so often result in me staying up at night, anxious over what people might think. The reality is that I need to please God, and not man. Furthermore, all of these hypotheticals and “what ifs” are a failure on my part to think on what is TRUE (Philippians 4). When I shift to dwelling on the truth of God’s grace and how He sees me in spite of my failures, then I can continue on in my walk in victory instead of being stagnant in my desperation to please everyone.

    • I am with you on the obsessive thoughts on how people will receive different presentations. I find myself obsessively looking for what I call “feedback” but in reality it’s approval. In studying chapters 1-3 of the book of Ezekiel this morning, I realized that my reason for doing what I do is obedience, not outcome. God is sovereign and has the outcome already done, whether it be a hardened and rebellious heart (such as was the case in the people of Israel in the book of Ezekiel), or a receptive heart. The outcome is not dependent on my teachings, presentations, or counsel, it’s dependent on God. Thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities that I can so much relate too.

      • Ericka – I opperate in a similar fashion in wanting to get “feedback” but really what I am trying to do is find peace. Funny because in my own reading this week I was in Acts 1 and just being struck by how Jesus didn’t lay out a 10 step strategy to make disciples but simply to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit. Then they would be witnesses from Jerusalem to the rest of the world. I often times want to find man’s wisdom because it feels tangible and is a step by step guide but real power and what our world needs is the Holy Spirit.

        • YES! me too, always looking for that step by step guide. It’s humbling to be still and wait for the Holy Spirit to reveal. Being a person that is always on the go and result driven God has been so good to me in teaching me to wait on Him.

        • Hi Michael- I liked how you shared that Jesus did not lay out a 10 step strategy for making disciples but simply asked them to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit. I am taking this degree with CCU so that I can get better skilled at biblical counseling but I don’t ever want to follow a method that would leave the Holy Spirit out of my interactions with people. I am learning different viewpoints that Christians have on counseling and it is amazing how passionate people are and how they believe things that are different from how other people see it. Trusting the Lord to show the path He has for me!

    • Great comment, Rachel. I have had people-pleasing problems most of my life. As a child, I really wanted the other children in school to like me, and I would bend over backward to win their favor. I really wish that someone at that time could have told me more about the love of Christ. In ministry, people-pleasing is a dangerous characteristic to have. If I can focus on Loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving my neighbor as myself, perhaps I can let that striving to please others go.

    • EEK! I can be such a people pleaser, and what a prideful habit it is for me. I want those accolades and attaboys, and I sometimes judge myself by how others judge me. If they think I’m doing well, then I am pleased. If not, then I’m awake too!
      But God’s grace is so much greater than my failures. He continues to give me victory in my walk. Some day those accolades and attaboys won’t even seem attractive to me 🙂

    • Getting mans approval has always been a big one for me as well! Especially at where I work now. A lot of the other guys seem to just look at me weird all the time and then it gets me thinking, “Am I doing everything ok?” I need to remember that Scripture found in 1 Cor. 10:31 KJV “31 Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” It says or whatsoever you do! This includes my job! I need to not care what the other guys are thinking of me, and do my best for God!

    • Thanks for sharing Rachel, I can so relate to what you are saying about being a people pleaser. I used to struggle really bad with loosing sleep and being anxious and worrying about what other people thought. It wasn’t till I realized the only person who I need to please is God, and he loves me unconditionally with all my flaws. That God’s grace is sufficient for everything and His mercy has no limits. Some times I still get distracted in trying to please others and it isn’t till I look at God’s truth and realize I don’t have to please people only trust in God and believe in His truths and live out His commandments.

  • Thank you for this podcast, very helpful. I love the notes included, definitely printing those out and reminding myself often to do an evaluation of my fleshy self. I was able to identify at least one area of each of those points in myself. I especially struggle with striving and trusting in man. I find myself striving to do God’s work. I convince myself that it is a good thing, however, it is not when I am doing it in my own strength, attempting to force my timing, attempting to create my own opportunities not allowing God to work it out in a manner in which He will receive the glory, not me. I can relate to Pastor Jeff in the people pleasing and looking for affirmation from man, and falling into the gossip more often than I would like. I find it easier to stay away from gossip at church, but not so much in family issues or at work. Pray for me as well. Again super helpful, thank you again.

    • Praying with you and for you. The struggle is real and you are not alone. Striving and Trusting in Man, those are challenging pieces of our Flesh. I can relate to the gossip of family and co-workers, I have made it a practice to quietly bow out of such conversations, silently walking away when in a group or checking out and starting a conversation with the Lord in my head that usually starts with Forgive them Lord for they know not what to do. When I am in a position where I must to participate I ask the question, Have you spoken with this person about this? When you ask them if they have talked to the person in which they have the issue or ask them what the solution to the complaint is they will usually find others to gossip with and no longer include you.

  • Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorite verses because I often fail to rest in God and rely on His strength, not my own. It is also encouraging to know that no matter how many mistakes I make God will be glorified.

    I have always struggled with being a perfectionist and I used to see it as a good thing because my grades were always good and I excelled at whatever I tried to do. Recently God has shown me that this tendency was one that was coming from a place of striving and pride. I was accomplishing these tasks on my own strength and my goal was to make my name known, not the Lord’s.

    • Rebekah, I can identify with you so much. Coming from an Asian Indian background, my approval and acceptance came by way of my grades and performance in school. I learned that I must perform good works in order to find favor. Combine this with my Catholic upbringing, it was easy to become conditioned to strive for perfection and become depressed when I could not achieve it. Praise the Lord for the truth of His Word and being given permission to give my burdens to Jesus my Messiah!

  • This podcast is so appropriate for such a time as this!
    I have written several paragraphs against the flesh, and deleted each of them because I find myself completely understanding and relating to these 7 signs of living in the flesh; even in the simplest way when it doesn’t seem major enough to call it “living in the flesh.” Each time I try to write something that speaks against the flesh, I know that I am speaking out of personal sympathies/experience to what the flesh does in the flesh; because I grew up in a secular family learning fleshly ideas, practicing and strengthening those fleshly ideas into reality, giving it more muscle than it deserves. I was all about the flesh, learning how to satisfy the flesh, demanding sustenance for the flesh, pushing my fleshy ideas on the flesh of others, a student, a master, and teacher of all of these 7 evidences of the flesh. How exhausting my life was, before Christ! I give thanks to God that I can recognize the difference since my death in Christ; however, I still find myself warring against the flesh at times.
    (In our syllabus we are supposed to relate our responses to something personal; a personal experience etc. I think it’s ok to tell of what the Lord has us doing for the kingdom, but I truly do not like discussing “me.” Privacy (slow to speak) vs. open book = open to being attacked = tribulation. In person, I’m somewhat quiet, until it comes to speaking of the Lord and how He’s changed my life- drastically.)
    It wasn’t until I repented that I was able to see my flesh for what it was; dirty, rebellious, self-righteous, hateful, vindicating and just plain sinful. Even when I thought I was doing good, my life was sinful, and though I did what I thought was good, I was aiding the flesh. Out of all of the years of living in the flesh, a hardening of the heart happens and a person sinks deeper into self-indulgence and self-righteousness. We wish for death, while not realizing that our lives and works are already dead; and is the reason that some commit suicide. I think that the difference between living in the flesh and suicide is in the state of the physical body, but in the ladder, there is no return. Similarly, on page 20 of “How People Change” it says “We are like the proverbial frog in the kettle of slowly boiling water, the water slowly grows hot as the frog grows accustomed, while still functioning through increases, he’s cooked.”
    Living in the flesh is serious; it isn’t just a noun, but a verb that describes our state of living before we realize that we need a savior. We are to be circumcised from our own lives having no confidence in the flesh, resisting pride, exalting the Lord throughout the earth, planting seeds in which the Lord can grow; judging not, but leading all to the truth of God’s word in love, to cause repentance.
    So, since I gave up my will for the will of the Lord; how do I know the difference between His will and my will? I believe one of the ways to know the difference is recognize and acknowledge His Will being carried out in my life and in my actions toward humanity, and His Will changes to my will if I boast in it, which then turns the eye toward me rather than God.
    Hmmm… I certainly do not want to ever be a plank-eye; I don’t Ever want to boast about anything that I do for the Lord, nor do I want to ever take the credit for it. Even writing about taking credit for anything that the Lord does causes fear in my inner-depths. Oh Lord show me if I have ever and if I ever am about to! Less of Me! More of Him!

  • The seven evidences of the flesh didn’t necessarily surprise me, but there is one that stood out to me the most, and that was the attitude of “Striving”. I never looked at the act of striving for something as being self seeking or an evidence of the flesh. In the climate and culture we are living in, it seems we are all striving for something in some way. I guess all that striving can easily get carried away into a heart attitude of false worshipping. Whatever we give our adoration, time, focus, and life for, is what we worship. When I think of the things I strived for in the past, it all pointed to self. I was always striving to be liked, loved, taken seriously, appreciated, or even acknowledged. I can see how we can strive for things that will give us purpose, like a job, kids, a marriage, academics, etc. All these are self gratifying. If we are satisfied in these things we will never now what it means to be satisfied in Him. I find it amazing just how much we battle our flesh in the most subtle ways without even realizing it. In many ways we don’t even recognize how many areas of our lives we have been feeding our flesh instead of dying to it.

    What a great podcast to be able to sit and reflect on this 7 evidences of the flesh and ask the Lord to reveal to us which one (or more) we are entertaining and giving life to in our day to day. I pray the Lord searches my heart and allows me to see where I can die to myself and give these areas over to Him to have His way with.

    • Yes! I have been struggling with Striving as of late. And for me it has its roots in discontentment. The Parable of the Talents comes to my mind, forever I misunderstood it and in recent years I have come to learn the truth of it. God wants us to wait on Him, but He also wants us to put His Word into action. I have always lived my life in extremes and for the first part of the walk with the Lord I waited on Him, maybe to my detriment, burying what he had given me. In recent years I have wanted to be that good and faithful servant who took what His Master had given him, and increased it. And there lays the struggle, I have gotten to the point where I am determined to make it happen, get ur done! And with our recent move across country and getting established and starting a new business and jobs and trying to find a home to buy in a crazy market I woke up one morning recently and the word Striving popped in my head. God said All things in my good time. You cannot force it, seize the striving. And I acknowledged my fleshly ways and my sin and let go of what I was trying so hard to make happen in my own strength happen, laid it down and God was faithful to bring about what I was chasing after another way, His way. I am praying with you and for you <3

  • As humans our day to day is full of process; whether in the earthly or spiritual sense. We all handle this process at a variable rate. In particular as Christians, we have recognized that we have sinned (and are sinners) and that God sent Jesus to die for our sins so that in accepting Him to live in our hearts, through his grace, we may find eternal life in Him. Our Christian “process” is different to human process as we strive to come to God daily and abandon “Self” in exchange for re-anointing in his Holy Spirit. Our daily walk as Christians and human beings is embroiled in this constant process. Daily we need to come to Him, choose to die to self & to walk with Him. There will always be dark spots while in process as that is part of it. We can take heart, as Christians, that even in our darkest moments; whether that is in sin, loneliness, depression or anxiety – we are not alone. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4). (13:50 in the podcast) Pastor Jeff said “Little by little He shows me things and I turn from it”. This has been my experience also. It has seemed to me that the more I want to function in a level of dysfunction, indulgence and denial the more He lets me. When I level with God and repent about my sins and fleshly desires, the more he fills me with a SEARCHING and points the spotlight on my personal strongholds. Through his grace and light unto my path we work on dissolving these strongholds together. Step by Step, Day by Day. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

  • One of the things that stood out to me the most in this podcast is how in helping others we have to be humble ourselves. Pastor Jeff mentioned that we need to take the log out of our own eye before we can take the speck out of our brother’s eye. This is so true! If we are going to be in any position to try to help a brother or sister in Christ, we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit working in our own lives. We need to be responsive to His promptings. We should not be afraid to admit to others that we are struggling too and create any kind of facade that would lead others to think we have our lives all together. All of us struggle with the flesh on some level and it is comforting that we are all in the same boat with having a struggle of some sort. May we be transparent with one another and pray for one another as he also mentioned.

    • I agree Angela. There is a certain amount of vulnerability we need to have as Christians and especially in counseling. If we are not honest about our struggles we can’t address the “Plank in our own eye.” We can not help those around us if we are ignoring the same problems in our own lives. Like you said, we need to listen to Helper God has given us so that we can help those around us.

    • Yes this was a great point! I think when we can be real in the fact that we are struggling with things as well it allows people to see that we are not perfect. We are all flawed people who are leaning on God and His grace and mercy. This was a reminder on humility especially while looking to give counsel to others. It is easy to point out the needs and flaws in others but harder to see the things wrong in our own lives.

  • In the personal development space, which is where I reside much of the time because it is the training of the entrepreneur they talk a lot about self because to be your own boss, start your own business, to become a self-made man really takes some self-discipline. I see the validity of this secular teaching and I think the principles in and of themselves are good and vital for having a successful business and career and healthy self-image. I do think it is important to have self-worth and self-respect and some of the other selves and as a Christian I struggles with these some of these self-attributes of the Flesh because I have did so much inner work in forgiving myself and learning to love myself and seeing my worth, and becoming confident in my abilities as a business owner. Far more with this teaching than within the Christian Church space haveI grown into a godly woman. I know that with God I am so much more and so I ask is there a balance, is it all selfishness and flesh? I know in and of myself I am nothing and that Christ in me allows me to achieve a self that is more like the image of God and yet He created this meat suit which houses my soul and gave me this mind and a heart to love. Is it wrong to want to honor and cherish and to love what He has given me, at least to some degree, the self who is me? I know the verses are not commanding us to hate ourselves, but sometimes it feels like this is the command, we are to abhor the works of the flesh. I am a very literal person and I take the word of God literally. I understand the full meaning of deny thyself, pick up your Cross and follow Me. I know full well to a what it means to be crucified with Christ and yet it is truly non-bibilical to have a level of regard for the temple of God which is my human form? Do I not have to serve self in some capacity in order to be in service to God? Or am I missing a true transcendence that happens when one has completely sacrificed their own flesh? I know the possibility exists, because Jesus did it. And yet with the limitations of our flesh for the Spirit to become so all encompassing, so indwelled within us? Is it that we become so filled with the Spirit of God, that the attributes of our fleshly nature cease to exist even on this earthy plain? If I look to Jesus I answer my own question, Yes it can and yet it feels like an unattainable thing for me and I know it can only be Christ in me, and not even in this lifetime does it seems I can ever rid myself of this body of death which is so self-consumed even as I seek the holiness and righteousness of God. You can’t love anyone until you first love yourself is rolling around in my mind and perhaps it is a lie, but I know for me when I stopped hating myself and verbally abusing myself on a daily basis and worked to see I had value and worth, take I was capable and have done good things did I learn to love myself and fully accept myself, flaws and all. I started to see the daughter God created me to be. I was born again long before I ever got into the personal development space and I was a diligent student of the Bible, thirsting and hungry after God. He has done much to transform my life but honestly only ever added to the self-loathing on many levels. I have the Holy Spirit living in me and even with God’s all consuming love and mercy and grace I never did accept myself or at all feel I had any worth at all. I don’t think god wants us to feel this way, does He? I know my wretchedness, I know I am as but filthy rags, a dirt bag and for 20 plus years of walking with the Lord that is all I have known about myself and accepted. But is this right thinking? Christ has been the measure in my life, I recognize the super selfish attributes of the flesh and ask God to slay them daily. God is Love, and we are to be Love too, how can it be wrong to want to care for self and love thy self? How can I fulfill the greatest commandment to Love God and Love my neighbor as myself if I hate my Self?

    • Christi,
      I feel your frustration and I love how you have put it all out. God loves YOU! All of you and wants the very best for you.
      “Self” is a very hard subject, it encompasses so many different aspects of who we are. Self consists of every aspect that we are. But the self that God does not desire is the self that we put ahead of God. When we make ourselves more important than God and what God wants for us then we need to get rid of that fleshly part of our being. Our physical self is not despised by God and we know that because God created us. In Psalm 139:13-15 David writes, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully make. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden form you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” God loves everything about us except the part where we fill a need to go against his will, that is the flesh that needs to be cut away, circumcised. God wants us to better ourselves but only in a way that glorifies him.
      You need to feel good about yourself to feel good about others. You need to care for yourself to be able to care for others.
      In Jeremiah it states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God wants you to be able to do the work that he has planned for you, he wants you to have a blessed future and a hope that can only be found in him.
      Desire to do better in life can only be found in a desire to do the will of God. Search out what God wants, follow the risen Savior, take care of yourself by taking care of what God wants for you. Where do we find this? In his word. We need to study the word to show ourselves approved unto God. But we also need to act upon everything that we read and learn. Apply what God tells you in your life. Give to God what is his, You! All of you! Then he will guide you with his Spirit.
      God bless you and I pray that God shows his love for you even when you don’t love yourself so much. Amen

  • This podcast was very timely. My secular work is in aviation maintenance, and I was taught from the start that I must take pride in my work! My first job in aviation was working for the United States Navy as a civil servant. As I worked there, I was taught that it’s not enough to do good work; people need to see that you are doing good work. In other words, you must promote yourself to be promoted! I saw that oftentimes otherwise nice people would denigrate another’s work to make their work seem better. After several years of this, I started to act just like them. I wanted a pat on the back or to be the “subject matter expert.” The Holy Spirit convicted me, often, of the sin of pride, of people-pleasing, and of valuing the attention of men more than my relationship with God. I still struggle with this every day, but I have realized that whatever gifts or talents I have were given to me by God for HIS glory, not mine.

  • The verse that most resonated with me is 2 corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of oursleves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is of Christ.”

    It reminds me that any good thing or work that we do for Christ that will have eternal value is through Him working through our lives. My husband and I just moved and are in a transition period with work and our new home, and my personal experience recently is that I have had 3 interviews in our new town with no luck at scoring a job.. at first i was pretty discouraged and almost fell into self pity and insecurities, wondering whats wrong or if I should try harder or strive more. But I also have a calm peaceful reassurance reminding me that God is still working for me and what he has planned for me specifically will happen. So I have been able to thank Him for closed doors and truly praise him in the midst of discouragement which is new for me! Instead of dwelling in self confidence and trying to boost my self esteem as the world would say, i am resting quietly in him and preparing for whats next. I also am reminded that my sufficiency and confidence shouldn’t be in myself either! and I can instead walk in humility and as Matthew 10 states, being a servant rather than being served, helping rather than trying to be great. Loved the point on people pleasing too, and not depending on an arm of flesh, but wholly on God for our needs.

  • While listening to the podcast “7 Evidences of the Flesh” the scripture that came to my mind was, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. My prayer today was for God to show me my heart so I could confess those things that displeased Him. Then I listened to this podcast and there it was! Wow! I see where I can have the tendency towards striving and not waiting on the Lord. I can see where I thought I was encouraging but really I had pressured others to participate in serving. Although I can be encouraging to others, if not submitted to the Lord, this strength can become a weakness. So I had to repent of trying to make things happen in my own strength and submit all to the Lord. I want to move when the Lord moves and stay still when the Lord would have me to. Just as Pastor Jeff admonishes, I must first take the plank out of my own eye before I can see clearly to take the speck out of my brother’s (or sister’s) eye. This list of seven evidences of the flesh is good for self evaluation and introspection to allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction; it is the needed pruning that will produce the fruit honoring to God.

  • It’s amazing how the lies of the enemy are so encapsulated in such ear pleasing statements. Things like “follow your heart” and “have a good self esteem” are centered around ones flesh and earthly desires. While the world tells people to do things that please yourself but God desires for us to please Him. In self there is selfishness, envy, bitterness and insecurities, however in God we have security, peace, the ability to let go, and let God.

    As Christians it is important that we ourselves don’t preach this me centered doctrine. In doing so we take the focus off of God and onto humans that are weak and fail. But when we exalt God we know we are putting our faith in someone who will not fail.

  • The issue of the works of the flesh is far-reaching, even though it may not always be self-evident, which makes it rather risky for the individual.
    In our present-day ministerial world where there is so much orchestration of self, how do we separate self-glorification from God-honoring testimonies? This is a concern for me. Will appreciate helpful suggestions.

    I am particularly touched and guilty of the revelation on striving and vindication of self (victim mentality), as outworkings of the flesh. Striving appears well described in Galatians 5:20, as contentions, jealousies, and selfish ambitions. And it is all selfishness and self-centeredness, and I trust God to continue to have mercy on me.
    The danger in all of this, as it pertains to the counseling ministry and indeed pastoral work, is that, left unchecked, the self-life- pride, self-seeking, self-serving, etc., can lead to manipulation of the counselee to depend on the counselor, rather than on God and His word. And this is fraught with so many dangers, as we see and hear of in our contemporary world and ministry today.

    Truly, the battle over the flesh is not easy, but as we remember the mercies of the Lord and present ourselves as living sacrifices, and not think of ourselves too highly, God’s grace is available to help us render acceptable service

    • Songo I love the last statement you made, “Truly, the battle over the flesh is not easy, but as we remember the mercies of the Lord and present ourselves as living sacrifices, and not think of ourselves too highly, God’s grace is available to help us render acceptable service”, because it is so true. I tell my kids, that if there is not at least a battle between your flesh and spirit as long as we are on this side of heaven , then you are giving in to the flesh. There should be a continual dying to ourself, and that is opposite of all our flesh desires to do. Although it is a continual battle it is one that we know has already resulted in victory. Praise God for that!

  • Thanks so much for the podcast Pastor Jeff it is really encouraging to see be diving into this topic of the flesh vs the Spirit. It can be easy for us to forget how to identify these markers of the flesh in our daily lives. It is easy to read through this section in scripture or be thinking about this and not allowing it to touch our hearts.

    For me personally the part that stood out the most to me was the temptation to please man instead of God. It is easy to get lost in the opinions of those around us and not to be leaning into the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit.

    For me personally it comes from a place of wanting to model humility working with other as well as allowing the Holy Spirit to work through those I am in community with. All good things but powerful to still be allowing the Spirit to speak instead of just moving on when opposition or difficulty arrises.

  • Wow.. all seven of these things we have seen, in the world and in the church. While the secular world may have an excuse, Christians just don’t. It is self that wants to look good and to impress people with our accomplishments. These are the reasons that there is so much disunity in churches. Leaders and lay people alike (not all!) want to be noticed for their work, instead of having their work point to Christ. Our trust cannot be in flesh and our own ‘knowledge’ but in Christ. I like what Pastor Jeff said: Humility – I don’t have what it takes / Faith – But God does. Being in a new position in a church, I want it to succeed, and this podcast is exactly what I need to hear! I really CAN’T do it in myself…. But God can!!

    • I too have a new position in the church and in ministry, and I struggle so much with inadequacy, but I know that struggle is my flesh, and not biblical humility but self reliance. I am constantly asking the Lord to refresh my mind with the Truth that all things in Him and for Him are done by Him. I would by no means qualify myself to what He has called me to, and yet, here I am being called by Him. In all things I want to know Him and make Him known, regardless what that looks like, feels like, or turns out like, knowing that He is the giver and taker off all things, I am called to diligently seek after Him and in doing that the fruit of that love will be low hanging and hopefully nourishing to those He puts around me.

  • Great podcast! How easy it is to give in to the flesh, yet alone give counsel that is of the flesh. After listening to this podcast, I can see myself fit in every one of these categories. Like Paul would say, “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans7:17). The worst is when we can see them in someone else, and yet it’s only but a speck in their eye, but a log in our own eye. I remember a pastor mentioned, “You don’t have to go to Hollywood to find the best actors, you can find them in the church.” I love how the podcast mentioned that as Christians, our desire is to want to please God rather than man so that they don’t have to live the self-life anymore. In me dwells no good thing and the only thing that is good is Christ in me my hope of glory. More of Him, and less of me. Great video!

  • Great word Professor Christianson! This podcast I was great to have a major heart check. Growing in the faith striving was something I have struggled with. The Lord spoke to my sin in Mark 6:48, “Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.” . Striving in the Lord is like rowing when the wind is against me I am not going anywhere. Striving ends in straining. The Lord ministered to my heart. The Lord saw my striving He came to my rescue. The Lord wanted to show me that peace comes when Jesus is with me. Peace comes in resting the finish work of the cross. On the cross, He said it was finished and I needed to rest in that.

  • This podcast was definitely very convicting for me in my walk with Christ. It is so easy for me to be all these things and to rely on my flesh rather then rely on God! The one that sticks out to me because I have struggled the most with it recently is Vindicating myself. (yes…I could actually say I struggle with all of them but who doesn’t!) I was just in church tonight thinking of someone who has had an issue with me, and coming up with defenses for myself rather then focusing on the Word of God! What a struggle between the yearnings of the flesh versus the desire for God! This was a great reminder to bring these things before the Lord and to give Him this stronghold in my heart and mind. The more I see these things the more I remember how weak, and fleshly I am, and how desperately I need God to empty me of myself and fill it with Him!

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