Bible Internet
Quick References


Table of

Bibliography & Notes

Topical Scriptures
Basic Evangelism Training
Advanced Evangelism Training

Concerning Donations

1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"


Letters of Discipleship Home Page  Quick Reference Home Page

How to Keep the Flesh
From Sinning

January 18, 2005

How to Keep the Flesh From Sinning

Hi John:

It took me years to understand the flesh and Spirit. After I did an exhaustive study in the Greek and Hebrew on the constitution of man I thought I had a handle on it, only to have the Lord then introduce some truths again from his word that totally blew my understanding out of the water. The best way to understand the flesh is to read my articles on Spiritual Warfare. These articles are what the Lord has taught me over the years about the nature of the flesh and what on this side of heaven are the only reasonable and possible solutions to controlling our flesh. John, to state it simply, we do not control the flesh by focusing on the flesh. By that I mean trying to overcome it ourselves or being focused on it (and I am not saying you are doing this, just commenting for further comments). The way we overcome the problem of the flesh, what the Lord has taught me over the years, what I put into practice and works (as well as it can work on this side of heaven) and has worked for others as I have taught them, is what I outlined in step seven of deliverance. I was just going to share that part of it with you in my last letter, but I felt the extreme of exorcism outlined in the article would help you to see the simplicity of what is required to get free and stay free.

First, getting free and staying free isnít about whether the flesh is free. The flesh on this side of heaven will never be free, so when we talk about getting free and staying free, we are talking about how to keep the dead man, as Paul describes it, buried and inactive.

The Bible means many things by the flesh: the body, our fallen soul, the soul & body. God made a statement in Genesis 6:3 which clarifies this: "My Spirit shall not always strive with man; in their erring he is flesh; and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." When Adam and Eve sinned, acted out of the initiative of their soul, they came into bondage to their soulís. By bondage, once we sin in an area, like taking drugs over and over, even after getting off drugs, that person still and always will have a pull to drugs. That is because now it is a permanent part of their soul until the resurrection. That is what I mean when I say we all have a propensity to sin, meaning certain sins we struggle with more than others. They are sins we yielded to many times, and now even though we know Jesus, they are the ones we most stumble over as we walk with Jesus and have to confess and repent of over and over again. That is what Paul was talking about in Romans 7:14 when he said "For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin." He was talking about the bondage of His soul. However, after Adam and Eve sinned and all they had was their soul: their intellect and feelings; and their flesh (body): appetite and desires to lead and guide them through life; as time went on actually all manís focus became was satisfying the lusts of his body, his flesh, in total disregard to the soul and its development; so that even the soul now is sunk into bondage to the appetite and desires of the body, and thus what God meant when he said about man "in their erring he is flesh." God meant, not only has man yielded to his soul, and thus is in bondage to the soul and yields to it, but even worse, he has yielded the control of his soul to the appetite and desires of his body so that he is dominated by the flesh so that he isnít even able to develop his soul potential.

Proverbs 6:32 "The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking heart; he who would destroy his soul does it."

Now man acts just like an animal who is governed daily by its bodily needs. Look at commercials, what are they focused on? The bodily desires. Thus God said "in their erring he is flesh", or not only is manís human spirit not in control, not even his soul is in control, only his body is so that he is nothing but flesh. So when the Bible talks about the flesh, this is what it is talking about: it is talking about the fallen soul which has yielded to the appetite and desires of the body so that man is really not even controlled by the desires of his soul, but only the appetite and desires of his body so that he is nothing but flesh. Thus Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh with-strong-passion-fights against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please." That is the reason for fasting in the Bible. What are we doing when we fast? We are denying not our soul or our human spirit, we are denying our body, our flesh. We are saying "Flesh, for this day(s) I am not going to give my attention to you, but to the Holy Spirit through my human spirit. For the next day or two all the attention of my soul is going to be focused on the what the Holy Spirit has to say to me through my human spirit. That is because it is the human soul (where the will lies) which makes that decision, not the human spirit. The human spirit is just the vehicle through which God communicates to us. So the soul says "I am going to turn from giving my flesh all the attention for a while to give nothing but the Holy Spirit attention through my human spirit. Anyone who has fasted knows how difficult this battle is. The moment you missed breakfast, what are you thinking about? The Lord? No! You are thinking about how you would like to have some fried eggs, potatoes, sausage and toast because your body, your flesh is screaming into your ear "Iím hungry!!!" LOL. So it is a real battle to get our minds (another organ of the soul) off of the flesh.

Getting our minds off of our bodies and onto the Holy Spirit through our human spirit doesnít change the desires of the flesh, but it does allow God to give us more of the power of the Holy Spirit so we can manage our flesh and bring it into submission to Godís will and do that rather than spend 100% of our time catering to and just satisfying the fleshís wants and desires. That is what Jesus was talking about when he said in Matthew 26:41 "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

We do not overcome the flesh by trying to overcome the flesh. That is a hopelessly lost cause (Rom 8:6-8). We overcome the flesh by, first, focusing on Jesus in prayer and seeking Him for His Holy Spirit grace, strength and power to overcome the flesh. Only the Holy Spirit can overcome our flesh.

Zechariah 3:6 "ĎNot by might, nor by power, but by My-Spirit,í declares Yehovah-of-hosts."

Romans 8:6-8 "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

That is the only way You can overcome the flesh, there is no other way, that is on this side of heaven, because on this side of heaven the flesh is in bondage to sin and will ever remain so, and that is why we needed a Savior in the first place: not only to deliver us from the penalty of sin, death, but also from the power of sin over us while on earth until he takes us home to heaven where we are then freed also from the presence of sin and the desire to sin. Forever free from any propensity to sin or want to sin. This is what Paul promises us in Philippians 3:20-21 "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord-Jesus-Christ; who will-transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that he has even to subject all things to Himself." This is what we mean when we say that our hope is not in this life, but in the life to come. We have no hope in this life over the flesh. Not only that, but God makes plain that so hopeless is the condition of the flesh that it will not inherit the kingdom of God:

1 Corinthians 15:50 "Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit the incorruptible."

That is why we are promised a new resurrected body completely transformed and made like the body Jesus now has in heaven, a completely incorruptible body that cannot sin and has no desire to sin.

So how then do we on this side of heaven keep the hopelessly unrepairable corrupted flesh from sinning, that is keep it from dominating us and controlling our actions? First, by calling upon Jesus for deliverance from the power of the flesh whenever its uggly head pops up and starts trying to take control! We only want to overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through the will-power of the flesh. That is because that will only result in our being in deeper bondage to the problem we are trying to overcome. So the first step of overcoming the flesh that works is falling on our bodies knees and crying out "Jesus! Save me!!!" Jesus promises us in Romans 10:13 "For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved" and in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one" and in Isaiah 41:10 "Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your Elohim. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

The second step is to fill our time with Godís will in our use of time, time management.

Ephesians 5:15-17 "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

As long as we are occupied with Godís will, we are not focused on the flesh, and thus we are not motivated to sin.

On this side of heaven, this is the only way we can manage and control our flesh and keep it from sinning. However, by saying keeping our flesh from sinning, we mean from dominating us most the time, not from sinning period, for on this side of heaven sinless perfect over the flesh is not possible, only controlling its desire to sin most the time is possible. This is what Paul meant when he said in Galatians 5:16 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." Note, he does not say that when you walk in the spirit, the desires of the flesh disappear, he only says that when we walk in the Holy Spirit, fill our time and mind with His will for us, that we will not be focused on or CARRY OUT the desires of the flesh. Why? Because only when we are idle, not occupied with our minds with Godís will and activities for us in our use of time, do we then turn our minds and focus on the desire of the flesh. When that happens, we will sin.

1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

1 John 1:10 "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."

James 1:13-15 "Let no one say when he is tempted, ĎI am being tempted by Godí; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death."

We are only carried away and enticed by the lust of our flesh when we are idle and our mind is then automatically focused on our flesh and what it wants and desires. When that happens, we are then going to look for a way to fulfill our lusts. Example, you see something on TV or a movie of someone having sex with someone. From that point on all you have on your mind is the desire to have sex with someone, to fulfill your lust. This is because the flesh has been incited to sin. However, if you are occupied with sharing Jesus with others with Your free time and using your time otherwise according to Godís will, you mind is then focused on and occupied with that and not on the desires of the flesh, and thus you are not incited to sin. That is the only way on this side of heaven you can keep your flesh from sinning. There is no other way. Thus why Paul states in Galatians 5:16 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." That is the only way on this side of heaven you can keep the flesh under control and keep it from sinning. There is no other way.

I do not know where you are getting this idea of the soul and the spirit being the same being, they are not. They are the same Man, but not the same entity within the man.  God created us in His image: God is Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Man is spirit and soul and body. The body is not the soul and the soul is not the spirit, they are three separate entities in one man, with three different functions:

Genesis 2:7 "Then Yehovah Elohim formed man of dust from the-ground, and breathed into his-nostrils the spirit of lives; and man became-a-living soul."

1 Thessalonians 5:23 "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

God is Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Man is spirit and soul and body. When your body dies, you do not cease to exist: your soul and spirit go on to be with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8 "We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." Also in Phil 1:23 "But I am hard-pressed from both directions having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better."

Paul tells us on this side of heaven our bodies are controlled by our soul, but in heaven our bodies are controlled by our human spirit:

1 Corinthians 15:44-45 "It is sown a body motivated-and-controlled-by-the-soul, it is raised a body motivated-and-controlled-by-the-spirit. If there is a body pertaining-to-the-soul, there is also a body pertaining-to-the-spirit. So also it is written, ĎThe first man, Adam, was-created a living soul.í The last Adam into a life-giving spirit."

This is why in heaven we do not sin because in heaven our bodies are controlled by our human spirit, not our weak souls. Our human spirit is controlled by the Holy Spirit, thus in heaven there is complete harmony in all we do because we are 100% of the time walking in the Holy Spirit without error. That is also the reason why as Christians, even though we are saved and going to heaven, we still struggle with sin because our bodies are still on this side of heaven controlled by the soul which is in bondage to sin. That is why we need to daily have a quiet time and submit ourselves to Jesus and draw upon His Holy Spirit grace, strength and power to control our sinful soul and flesh so we can focus on his will, not the desires of the soul and flesh. When we spend time with the Lord, the fleshís desire does not seep away, it is just that our human spirit is strengthened and becomes more dominate over the flesh. The rest of what you say, however is correct. Jesus is the food and nourishment of the human spirit just as physical food is the nourishment of the body. Thus fasting is weakening the flesh and drawing upon Jesusí Holy Spirit grace, strength and power to strengthen the human spirit. The end result is your human spirit now becomes dominate over the flesh. However, just like the flesh which needs to daily be nourished with food, so the human spirit needs to daily be nourished with Jesus and His word. Obviously there is a balance here because you cannot go on a permanent fast or you will kill your human body. That is committing suicide. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:17 "If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are." The balance is making sure you daily have a quiet time with Jesus in His word to nourish your human spirit so it will be dominant over the flesh, and to fast when the flesh becomes particularly troublesome.

There is nothing wrong with your comments, you are on the right path, but proper understanding of the relationship of the human spirit to the soul and body and their separate function in in your humanity is necessary to have a right view of them and realistic expectations of what is possible concerning them on this side of heaven.

As I get older I find it harder and harder to control my time and sleep habits. This is particularly troubling to me because of what God wants me to accomplish with my life. I find I am not able to accomplish as much during the week as I could when I was younger and could endure a lot more stress and dominance over my physical man. I prayed about this recently to the Lord and His response to me was to just keep going and doing the best I can. It was troubling to me because I am concerned I may not finish the works he wants me to do before He calls me home. His answer tells me I just have to trust in Him for His Holy Spirit grace, strength and power to make sure I do despite the weakness of my flesh.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 "And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet meóto keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, ĎMy grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.í Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christís sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Jesus has allowed the weakness of our flesh so we will be dependent on Him and His Holy Spirit grace, strength and power to overcome and succeed. That is the key to victorious Christian living, coming to understand we cannot, only He can and then knowing how to draw upon His Holy Spirit grace, strength and power so we do. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me", not through Paulís power and strength, but Jesusí. As long as you daily remind yourself of that and spend daily time with Jesus and His Word to draw upon His Holy Spirit grace, strength and power to carry out His will, you will and you will succeed.

"Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24)

"Thanks be to God through Jesus-Christ-our-Lord!" (Romans 7:25)

Sincerely in Jesus,

Dale P. Kruse
Pastor Evangelist

Letters of Discipleship Home Page
Quick Reference Home Page
Top of Page