Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (November 14, 2022)

Last week, we began looking at the “trinity” of enemies that we face as children of God. We examined the first enemy – the world – and saw that its “course” is against us. Today, we turn to the second enemy: the flesh.

The “flesh” in this context refers not simply to the physical body itself, but rather the sensuous nature of man, also sometimes called the “human nature.” In Romans, Paul bemoans the sad fact that we are “carnal” (fleshly) persons, cursed by sin: “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Rom. 7:14). He goes on to tell us that the “carnal mind” is the enemy of God, and those who are “in the flesh” are unable to please God. (Rom. 8:6-8).

And the sad fact of the matter is that the flesh is always with us! We are born with it, and we cannot get rid of it. In writing to the Ephesians, Paul tells us that, prior to the new birth, we all “walked according to the course of this world,” and “had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” (Eph. 2:2-3). This fleshly nature does not leave us until we pass from this life into the next!

The flesh is always misleading us! One of the foundational truths of our human depravity is that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jer. 17:9). In fact, “[t]here is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 16:25). Do not follow your heart, child of God! It will lead you astray!

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul warned them not to be “spoil[ed] . . . through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8). Paul knew the depths to which our depraved hearts would sink if led astray by the philosophies of men! That’s why he constantly warned those to whom he preached about the dangers of letting the carnal mind rule the day.

Ultimately, the flesh and its lusts will destroy us! The flesh is a kidnapper that will “bring you into captivity to the law of sin which is in [your] members.” (Rom. 7:23). The design of the flesh is to destroy you; if you don’t believe me, just ask the prodigal son! He never intended to wind up in the hog pen, but that is where following the lusts of the flesh took him.

Sometimes people think that if the devil were somehow to be absent from the world, all sin would cease. But that is simply not the case! Even in the absence of Satan, we are STILL sinners! The flesh and the world would continue to pull us away from a walk with God.

Child of God, we must guard ourselves against the flesh! Instead of permitting the flesh to bring us into captivity, we must use the spiritual weapons of our warfare and “cast[] down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bring[] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5). Only by diligently guarding against the flesh can we truly walk worthy of the vocation to which we are called.

May the Lord bless you is my prayer!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor