Fleshly appetite

I’ve been wondering a lot over the past few months as to why Christians like myself find it so hard to live with a passion to serve God. For the bulk of my life I have been a believer. I accepted Christ at the age of five years old and even before then I was attending church and hearing Bible lessons from my parents, Sunday school teachers, etc. And not much changed in that respect after I trusted Christ. I remained in the church, kept hearing the Bible taught and always had an understanding of who God was and His Son; Jesus Christ. And somehow 20 years went by before I knew it. I was 25 years old and 20 years old as a believer in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And yet, day in and day out, I struggled with a passion to serve God. And now being 29, it seems I’ve finally started to understand completely at what was happening to me at that time in my life. It’s not that I didn’t want to serve God. If you would have asked me in my mid-twenties if I desired to serve God, I would have proclaimed “yes” without any thought at all. And I truly would have believed it. And even though by my answer, I would have said that I had a very healthy appetite to please God, I lived in a very different manner.

The one thing I never grabbed onto, was that there was another appetite in my body. And this appetite was a hungry one. It’s the flesh. As most of us know, when someone trusts Christ as their Savior, they are no longer under the power of sin and now are blessed with an appetite to serve God. However, what many Christians may fail to understand completely, at least in their daily routines, is that the appetite to serve the flesh still remains. And by flesh, of course I don’t mean our physical body. I am talking about that inner-desire to serve ME. That’s the flesh. That is the sin-ridden, self-centered, egotistic nature still living inside of me that craves to be satisfied. And for 20 years of my life, I fed it. Oh did I feed it!

Don’t get me wrong; something definitely changed inside of me at age 5 for all of eternity. And it was a great thing. If it didn’t, I couldn’t honestly say to anyone today that I am a true believer. I know for a fact that at age 5, I was a changed person. I didn’t feel any warm fuzzy feeling or come out of any hardened sin that would make someone stand up and say “wow!” But, thanks purely to the love and hope of Jesus Christ, I now had eternity in Heaven waiting for me as well as a relationship with the God of the universe. And both of those amazing gifts were paired with a new appetite completely unlike the flesh that wanted to show love to God instead of myself. That had to happen. Every believer receives the Holy Spirit who permanently dwells inside of them at the moment of salvation. And even though I spent 20 years as a believer mostly investing in myself, there were evidences that God had changed my life and the Holy Spirit was alive inside of me. But now a war had begun. According to Galatians 5:17, whether I chose to accept it or not, every day that I awoke from my sleep I was at the front lines of a brutal war. The Flesh vs. The Spirit.

And the flesh was dominating…

Why? Why in the world would the flesh even have a shot at defeating the Spirit of God inside of a believer? That makes entirely no sense to me. Or does it? You see, these two appetites inside of every believer are both extremely hungry. And they hate each other. They’re not two buddies sitting down with a cold Pepsi watching the game together. According to Galatians 5, they want to destroy the other. And the phrase Bobby and I have coined for this war, is inner-terrorism. And it makes a lot of sense to me. If we think of real terrorism, it’s one of those wars we really don’t know how to win. It’s not like going to war with another country who, although they’re doing whatever it takes to defeat their enemy, both parties know there is a line they won’t cross unless they absolutely must. But that’s not the case with terrorism. Terrorism fights dirty. It blows up a bus of tourists, it flies commercial jets into skyscrapers filled with thousands of people, it straps bombs to children and uses them as weapons. That’s not a normal war. And I truly think that’s exactly how the flesh is fighting against the Spirit. The flesh knows it’s outmatched. As powerful as our desires to please every comfort and pleasure we have, and as mighty as Satan’s deception and God-hating propaganda is , when fighting a fair battle with the God of the universe, it will snap like a twig in a hurricane. And Satan knows that. So he must fight extremely dirty.

How does Satan do this to us? All he has to do is make us feed the appetite for the flesh more than the Spirit. If we do that, the flesh grows and Grows, and GROWS until it’s a human wrecking ball. While at the same time, we’re starving the Spirit until it’s nothing but a faint heart beat.  appetite sickly

And how specifically is Satan convincing us that the flesh deserves more food than the Spirit? Nothing new; he lies. Let’s take the Garden of Eden as an example here. Just off the top of your head, how many trees do you think Adam and Eve had at their disposal in the Garden of Eden? Hundreds? Thousands? Something along those lines? And how many did God tell them not to touch? One! The tree of knowledge of good and evil. One tree. That blows my mind. With the hundreds and thousands of trees that they had available to them, how did Satan highlight the one that they weren’t allowed to eat from? Because he lied to them and their flesh was hungry and they fed it. And going back to the example of myself in my mid-twenties, I had every possible benefit of Christianity and yet Satan lied to me and told me that my flesh was the one that could satisfy. Wow. And so the buffet began. Over and over and over I fed the flesh. Always with sinful things? No. In fact, often it was things that just filled my time. TV, internet, hanging out withobese-man friends, etc, etc, etc. But out of that, guess what happened. Well, exactly what happens to a stomach when you feed it over and over and over…it grows. And for 20 years of feeding my flesh, my appetite for myself was morbidly obese.

And if you’re feeding the flesh that much and it’s at brutal war with the Holy Spirit, guess which one is winning? I don’t even have to say it. And thus, at the age of 25, as God started to open my eyes to exactly what was happening in my life, I loved me very much and loved Him very little; and my lifestyle proved it. So I looked at myself in a metaphorical mirror and hated the sight of myself. And knew for the first time, something had to change. I didn’t know exactly where to start, but I knew I had to start helping the Spirit defeat the flesh by feeding the Spirit more and the flesh less. And how can Christians feed the Spirit? Draw near to God. Be in His word, not just daily, often daily. Be in prayer, all throughout your day. Fellowship with other believers by talking about your walks with God, encouraging each other, and motivating each other in your faith. And there are so many others. But if you read James 4:1-10 (which specifically talks about the war of the flesh), and read verse 8, it again gives the antidote, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  It’s a promise from the God of the universe.

So the question I pose today is….who is winning the war? The flesh or the Spirit, and who are you fighting with?

2 Responses to “Fleshly appetite”

  1. Peggy Walker Says:

    Todd, Praise God for using His Holy Spirit to give you insight. I needed to read that today.
    Now, you’ve made the enemy really mad! Walk faithfully with your God. Psalms 91
    Mom
    I’m praying faithfully for you and Janine.

  2. Excellent post. I’ve always been motivated by what Paul told the Galatians. “Walk in the Spirit and you WILL NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Also, “I am crucified in Christ…” You are so right about the appetite,

    Way to go!

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