Page 9 - November 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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food meal of stew shows how temptation   gains are being made. There will be no
        over-emphasizes a certain need and exag-  compromise between the flesh and the
        gerates the consequences of not giving   Spirit (Gal 5:17). Thus, we cannot ap-
        in. Esau’s claim (though it was rather   pease the flesh without displeasing God.
        dubious), “I am about to die!” (25:32), was   We should pray for His help to maintain
        his rationale for the high and long-term   a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to
        cost of satiating his momentary hunger.   the temptations of the flesh. In fact, Paul
        The flesh claims that failing to act on our   writes that since we now have the Spirit
        desires will result in the loss of something   within us, “brothers and sisters, we are not
        special or even necessary. Conversely,   obligated to the flesh to live according to
        it asserts that acting on our desires will
        have no real cost. The warping effects of   the flesh, because if you live according to
        the flesh on Esau’s mind are evident by   the flesh, you are going to die. But if by
        his rhetorical question, “Of what use is a   the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the
        birthright to me?” (v32). The flesh beckons   body, you will live” (Rom 8:12-13 CSB).
        with instant gratification, but at a stagger-  David forgot that though he stayed
        ing future and spiritual cost. All about   away from the battle, the battle didn’t stay
        the here and now, it leaves no space for   away from him. The man who had never
        an eternal perspective – “Let us eat and   lost a battle, whether against formidable
        drink, for tomorrow we die” (1Co 15:32).   individuals or powerful armies, fell spec-
          In the Lord’s desert temptation, the   tacularly to the invisible foe within his
        flesh’s line of attack is illustrated in the   own being. Peter’s brash declaration of his
        stones-into-bread idea, in the context of   brave devotion was promptly undone by
        His extreme physical hunger. The Lord’s   his blatant denial of his Lord. Both of these
        temptation was very real, notwithstand-  men fell to the temptation of the flesh,
        ing the absence of the sin principle (the   but later saw recovery and usefulness for
        flesh) within Him. “The problem with   God. Don’t allow past defeats to the flesh
        Satan’s miracle bread solution is that it’s   discourage you from learning to lean on
        contrary to God’s plan at that time for Je-  God in your weakness and trusting Him
        sus. This is what the Enemy is always pre-  to meet your need.
        senting, an alternative plan to God’s. Here
        he is seeking to lure the Son of God away   The flesh assures us we are quite right
        from His Father, and the devil attempts   to see that our own desires are gratified,
        the same for us. So what is his strategy?   “but the truth is that we are sinners who
        Exploit weakness, undermine priorities,   are dependent upon God for His mercy
        and appeal to our independence.” 4    and for His continuing grace. To attempt
          The presence of both the flesh and the   to live without Him is precisely what is
        Holy Spirit within the believer means   meant by sin. We also need one another.”
        there is an ongoing war in and for our   The flesh dotes on us, inciting us with the
        hearts. Every believer is a battleground,   desire, “I will do what I want.” Prone to
        and our response to the temptation of the   heed the flesh’s self-indulgent urges, let
        flesh will determine where the military   us practice dependence on God.
        ⁴ Tim Chaddick, The Truth About Lies (Colorado   ⁵ John Stott, The Radical Disciple (Downers
        Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015), 66.  Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010), 103.

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