God Is Against the Flesh
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Romans 8:7-8)
Does your family have a family recipe for salad dressing? Henry's mom had an amazing salad dressing recipe that she made every Sunday afternoon. Henry loved that salad dressing! He did not even like salad if it didn't have his mom's homemade salad dressing on it. He could eat almost anything if that salad dressing was on top!
There was a trick to this salad dressing, though. You had to shake it up before you could pour it out onto your salad! The oil and vinegar in the salad dressing would separate (come apart) if you left the bottle sitting too long on the tabletop. Unless you shook the bottle to mix the oil and vinegar together again, they would stay in two separate parts. If you were to pour the dressing out without mixing it up first, it would come out tasting really gross.
The way that oil and vinegar naturally separate is kind of a picture of the way spiritual things and fleshly things are separate from one another. What is the "flesh"? Is it your skin or your organs? No. When we talk about the "flesh" like it is talked about in the Bible, we are describing sinful human nature. The flesh is what makes us want to give in to sinful temptations. It is a part of every human being, because we are all born with a sinful nature. As we keep turning away from our sins and keep turning toward God, we are walking more and more in the Spirit, and that means we will not do what the flesh tempts us to do.
To be at "enmity" with God means to be at odds with Him, to be against Him, to be His enemy. God and the flesh are enemies! They are opposites, like light and dark. Sinful nature is not something that can be nearby God. God is holy, so He cannot stand sin.
Because we are sinners, and because God is holy, we are born as natural enemies of God. He loves us but cannot stand sin. So Jesus Christ came, took on the likeness of fleshly nature, and yet He never sinned! That is why Jesus is so wonderful: He is our Bridge back to God! Because Jesus was 100% God AND 100% human, He is the only One Who can change us so that we do not have to be the enemies of God.
Because God is holy, He is the natural Enemy of our sinful nature.
» Do I walk in the temptations of the flesh, or do I turn away from them to follow God?
» Am I trusting in Jesus to be the Bridge between me and God?
» Am I choosing to walk in the Spirit like Jesus did when He faced temptations as a human being?
Truth In Real Life
“I esteem it the duty of every Christian to seek the advancement of the cause of Christ more truly than they are wont to their own favorite objects.”
Marcus Whitman, who became a famous pioneering medical missionary, was born in New York on September 4, 1802. He was just 7 years old when his father died. Whitman wanted to become a doctor and a missionary. Unable to decide between the two, he chose both! He felt called of God to go to the West – states such as Montana and Idaho were just being developed – and he wanted to take the Gospel to those who had never heard.
One weekend, he met a woman named Narcissa Prentiss who wanted to travel to the West as a missionary but was unable to go because she was single. He agreed to marry her that weekend – and together, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman became one of the most famous missionary teams in history.
In 1836, the Whitmans, along with a group of other missionaries, joined a caravan of fur traders traveling to the West. They traveled farther west than any American group had traveled before, setting up several Christian missions and sharing the Gospel as they went.
Whitman built missions, led Christian meetings, and served as a doctor. Narcissa ran her household, helped her husband, and taught school. Along with being used by God to share the Gospel, the Whimans became famous for leading the first party of wagon trains along the Oregon Trail. Thousands of immigrants followed in their footsteps to make the West what it is today.
Sadly, the Whitmans and their motives were misunderstood. They ended up being killed by the same people they had desired to help and tried so hard to reach. But God used them to spread His Gospel and to encourage pioneer missionary workers in the future.
Courage can be contagious. Do you have the courage to serve God and to do what it takes to advance His cause? Do you think His Gospel is worth giving your life to share?
Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.