Before or After?

12 Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions…16 Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? Romans 6:12, 16 AMP

Back when Celebrity Fit Club was on, they had a season in which they featured Willie Aames of Charles in Charge fame. Aames is a “born again Christian” and ordained minister and seems jovial enough until one day he just gets sick of the whole thing. When producers confront him, he angrily punches a door and through gritted teeth exclaims “You are getting me so in the flesh right now!” before slamming the door. This scene has always stuck with me, not because of the shot of a partially clothed former child star (*shivers in disgust*), but because of what he said.

I’m sure someone thought this exercise was going to be about sex or body image, and it can be, but it’s deeper than that. This exercise is about “the flesh” as in our carnal mind and desires. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” It means that there are things we really want to do, but our carnal side holds us back. While for some this is their lust fo someone physically, for others it’s a much sneakier thing, like overindulgence in food, laziness, talking too much, gossiping, shopping excessively, not being able to control angry impulses, pride, arrogance, jealousy, addiction–anything that makes it impossible for your more lofty goals to be reached, for your higher purpose to be attained.

The truth of the matter is, while you may have unpacked some painful things that have been done to you already (or will in future exercises), at the end of all the excuses we find ourselves. At the end of all inner struggle is the fight to make our flesh obey our spirit.

So, talk about what you find yourself repeatedly struggling with that is keeping you from being able to grow in your life. What fleshly vices are you struggling to control?