Saturday, September 01, 2007

Galatians 5:26

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The "who" in the above verse struck me the other day as I read it. So often we focus on what God does in us, that we neglect to do what we are called to do for ourselves - repent.

It is not easy to walk away from our temptations. Our flesh sometimes cries out with great pain and anguish when we deny it what it is hungering for. We have crucified the flesh, we need to let it die. We need to let it hunger and thirst, and gasp for air.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me

We are able to walk the uncomfortable and painful path because we trust God. The Jesus that we are following did not take the comfortable easy path. He asks us to take up our cross and follow him. When we follow him, he replaces our lustful and sinful passions named in Galatians 5:19-21 with the fruits of the Spirit named in verses 22-23.

It is not God's job to crucify our flesh. It is ours.


At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Joann said...

As a Christian, I realize I am required by God to avoid lust like the plague and run from it whenever I am tempted by it. However, does denying my flesh also mean that I shouldn't eat when I am hungry, drink when I am thirsty, sleep when I am tired, or see a doctor and take medication when I am sick? And if a married couple is allowed to have sex for pleasure in order to avoid adultery, then why can't the same concept be used for a single man or woman who wants to masturbate in order to avoid lust? Plus, if a teenager and young adult with raging hormones and high testosterone levels isn't allowed to masturbate in order to maintain their purity and avoid sexual activity until marriage, then what other alternative do they have if they are not even allowed to have sex until marriage, either. What if prayer and distraction simply don't work? I think it is cruel, inhumane, and unrealistic to deny us single people an orgasm without a partner just because we are not yet (or don't want to be) married. What right do you have to control our bodies, especially since masturbation isn't even mentioned anywhere in the Bible, and the biblical Scripture that you claim does mention masturbation is actually mentioning something entirely different that has absolutely no relation to masturbation at all?

At 1:25 AM, Blogger Josh R said...

Thanks for all of the comments. I don't know that I was addressing masturbation with my post here, although it isn't a bad example.

I agree that it is not specifically prohibited by any scripture. If it can bring Glory to God, I don't have a problem with it. I am not sure that is possible however.

I do not believe that the appetite of the flesh can be quenched by giving it a small taste of what it is longing for. That taste usually makes the flesh even more ravenous in its hunger.

I think this is one of Satan's most common lies: "You will be content if you just go this far"

My conviction is that if I feed the lust, my lust only gets stronger, and it crowds out the God centered sexual experience that makes my marriage strong in the Lord. I have residual pain from the lustful thoughts that I entertained before I was married when I was supposedly "maintaining my purity".

Since it isn't specifically spelled out in scripture however, I think people should examine the issue prayerfully for themselves, and submit to their own convictions. Galatians 5 is a pretty good scripture to study when seeking guidance on these issues.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

Just checking out your blog.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Josh R, for setting me straight. I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that blog about masturbation and lust. I tend to get nasty like that when I am in a rebellious mood, I guess. Then, when I think about it later, I end up wondering why I had to go and act before thinking, and I regret being so rebellious and nasty. Go figure, huh? Anyway, I realize now (I apologize for being several months late in apologizing) that God wants me to be a spiritual human being, not a sexual human being (especially since I don't want to get married), so you were right after all about why we all need to deny our flesh, not give in to its hunger for lust. However, while I've long since overcome the need for lust (and masturbation), I still agree with both sides of the masturbation issue: I agree with the supporting side that says masturbation does have its benefits, but only as long as it is done in moderation. But I also agree with the opposing side that says our spiritual needs are much more important than our physical, emotional, and sexual needs. I'm confused about something, though: The Bible instructs us to take good care of our bodies, but it doesn't give us any step-by-step "how to" instructions on what we are supposed to do to stay healthy for God, or how we are supposed to do it. It seems more obsessed with telling us what we are NOT supposed to do instead. So, my question is, if I'm supposed to stay healthy for God, but I'm not allowed to give in to my flesh, then how do I take care of my body and keep it healthy for God? Again, thank you for setting me straight, and please accept my apology for sounding so nasty in my past comments. I didn't mean to. I was simply trying to get my point across, but I never should have allowed it to come out the way it did. I'm sorry, okay?

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Khass said...

I enjoyed reading reflections on your blog. I have gained something out of reading your own reflections.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro


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