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Chapter 6 - The Frankenstein of our Flesh
The fictional character Frankenstein was a creature made of the parts of dead bodies and given a re-animated life via the power of lightening. The Christian faces a somewhat similar internal monster each time new life is given to the flesh.
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. - Galatians 5:15-17
There are choices we make that place us in situations where self is elevated rather than diminished. We might take a job that pays well thinking we will be able to provide a good life for our family. However, we may come to see that we are required to spend increasingly more time away from our family. We may even find that ambitions for fame or money are stirred and we become even more entangled with that which attracts our flesh.
We all too often think that selfishness only applies to big things like greed and ambition. We are not likely to see that something as seemingly insignificant as our desire to share about the purchase of a new car with a friend at church may lead us to overlook an elderly woman in need of a sympathetic ear.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. - Phillipians 2:3-4
A farmer looks after the welfare of his livestock, a military officer insures his men are provided for, and mother makes sure her children are clothed and fed. There are many demands on us to forgo our own interests and seek after the interests of others. However, we tend to default back to thinking and acting to satisfy ourselves. As the farmer, the officer, and the mother begin to place more emphasis on their immediate desires and preferences, their responsibilities begin to slip.
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. - Isaiah 49:15
The resurrection of the influence of the flesh begins with just a glance. As we consider something that appeals to us our attention begins to become attached to that which we have observed.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. - Proverbs 4:23-26
Dying to self requires a reiterative process of turning away from that which beckons us with fleshly appeals of comfort, ease, lust, pride, stimulation, and even delusions. It can be sad and discouraging when we consider how often our old nature attempts to reassert itself and how often we allow it to gain a foothold.
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. - Proverbs 26:11
We know that in spite of our failures, that we can depend upon the Lord to help us to grow in strength to resist the desires of our sinful hearts.
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. - 2 Thessalonians 3:3
The Christian life, including the aspects of dying to self and walking by the spirit, is progressive. We know that we will have false starts, make mistakes, and require correction. However, our ultimate objective is Christ-likeness.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, - Galatians 4:19
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