25 April, 2013
The Desires Of The Flesh
I found such a great description from John cassian from the 4th century. It reminds me so much of my own struggle mostly at the beginning of my walk. I said the beginning of my walk because as time goes by and we learn to put to death the deeds of the flesh, we learn to practice “put off & put on” the struggle truly subsides. It feels as if you reach a place where your soul knows your spirit has taken charge of things now, so, it can rest because you have made the decision to give the throne that was occupied by the self for so long, to Him our only Master.
While it takes a tremendous work and commitment to put off the deed of the flesh but we do it through learning to stand on God’s Word by faith. If we learn to do it just because we have a “to do list” kind of attitude in our mind, well, it’s going to make a major difference whether we overcome or not. It is the difference between the victorious life and a life in bondage.
Here you go:
Wherefore in this passage we ought to take “flesh” as meaning not man, i.e., his material substance, but the carnal will and evil desires, just as “spirit” does not mean anything material, but the good and spiritual desires of the soul: a meaning which the blessed Apostle has clearly given just before, where he begins: “But I say, walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the desires of the flesh; for the flesh lust against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh: but these are contrary the one to the other, that ye may not do what ye would.”
And since these two the desires of the flesh and of the spirit co-exist in one and the same man, there arises an internal warfare daily carried on within us, while the lust of the flesh which rushes blindly towards sin, revels in those delights which are connected with present ease. And on the other hand the desire of the spirit is opposed to these, and wishes to be entirely absorbed in spiritual efforts, so that it actually wants to be rid of even the necessary uses of the flesh, longing to be so constantly taken up with these things as to desire to have no share of anxiety about the weakness of the flesh.
The flesh delights in wantonness and lust: the spirit does not even tolerate natural desires. The one wants to have plenty of sleep, and to be satiated with food: the other is nourished with vigils and fasting, so as to be unwilling even to admit of sleep and food for the needful purposes of life. The one longs to be enriched with plenty of everything, the other is satisfied even without the possession of a daily supply of scanty food. The one seeks to look sleek by means of baths, and to be surrounded every day by crowds of flatterers, the other delights in dirt and filth, and the solitude of the inaccessible desert, and dreads the approach of all mortal men. The one lives on the esteem and applause of men, the other glories in injuries offered to it, and in persecutions.