We should not wrestle against Flesh…

By the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh. –Rom. 8:13

For a long time in my marriage, I found conflict to resonate more often than not with my wife. Battle lines were drawn, walls raised and weapons drawn, but not literally. Even though we are married we found ourselves on different sides of the battlefield in many instances within the home. This in itself made the marriage a tad bit unbearable and one starts to ask himself or herself why you are even in the marriage in the first place.

Battles come in many forms. In the Bible, we have accounts of personal crises like Joseph’s family conflict, Hannah’s barrenness (1 Samuel 1), and Hezekiah’s illness (2 Kings 20). We also have accounts of national catastrophe like warfare, famine, and exile.

We face similar battles. We may experience seasons where enemies surround us, illness overtakes us, or conflict overwhelms us. In each of those cases, we can choose to fight the wrong battles, or like Daniel and Joseph, we can rest knowing God is fighting for us.

I came to realize this when i saw a pattern in the conflict in my marriage. I was fighting my wife, I was fighting myself in my own flesh and mind and yet I needed to ensure I grow in my spiritual understanding, in my ability to win battles in the spirit. All sorts of things were happening around us from financial trouble, huge misunderstandings to things not going the way we planned.

The devil has taken this simple answer and made it more complicated and overly-mystical than it needs to be. Most of the instruction out there on walking in the Spirit is either too vague, too weird, or too impractical to do us any real good. Walking in the Spirit isn’t weird or hocus pocus. It is, however, fundamentally different from the do’s and don’ts that most of us have been trained by.

Because we don’t know how to walk in the Spirit and be spiritually minded, the problem is we only know what we know. All our life we’ve been carnally minded, so when we come up against a temptation, fear or problems, we relate to it like we’ve always related. If we try to fight it, we are fighting in a carnally minded way. Walking in the Spirit isn’t for the super spiritual elite who have arrived someplace you haven’t. You have the same Holy Spirit as anyone–and He’s waiting to show you how to think His thoughts and then walk with you through your times of testing.

All of us have been trained by the world from the minute we drew our first breath. We are born into sin and the carnal mind has created “ruts” or tracks that our mind runs on. When we are exposed to a temptation, our carnal mind knows how we’ve responded to that in the past. We’ve been conformed to the image of the world. So when we come up against temptation again, we are inclined to go down that path again and again, unless, through the Spirit, we are given a new way to think and walk altogether.

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.” In other words, the fight is not against governments or people or companies or circumstances. The real battle—the unseen battle—is our struggle in prayer:

For the souls of unbelievers, For forgiveness when we’ve been wronged, For peace in fearful circumstances, For holiness when sin tempts, For joy when sorrow comes, For trust when doubts assail – ALL IS WON AND LOST IN PRAYER. FAITH OR FEAR.

We battle for the hearts of those around us as we fight for them in prayer, and we battle for ourselves as we bring opinions and arguments in line with the knowledge of God.

We do not fight alone. We face physical struggles that threaten our homes, families, savings, our country, and more. And the unseen battle fought by the “spiritual forces of evil” is far bigger than the visible battle. The more we can identify physical flesh as just a distraction from the real battle, the more we will focus on talking to God when we face adversity and put Him first in our actions, decisions and choices.

Christ fought for us on the cross, and he won. His death and resurrection paid the price for our sins, and because of his wounds, we are healed. He continues to fight for us today. In our physical struggles and in the unseen world of arguments and ideas, we can answer with Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Will Frank – @AriseIn Christ

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