Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” –Matthew 26:41
Awhile ago I found myself dealing with a bit of a problem with someone I know. When I inquired to God as to what had brought this on, God showed me something I had done months earlier that had started the chain reaction of events that led me to the point I found myself in. I realized had I followed the Lord’s principles as laid out in the Scriptures, I would not have had to suffer the way I was. I repented and told God that if a similar situation ever presented itself, I would not make the same mistake twice. I would say no to the temptation.
A couple of nights ago I had a dream that the very situation I had dealt with before presented itself again. In the dream I was very tempted to repeat my prior error, but then I remembered my vow to the Lord. I reminded myself that following after God is the most important thing. There is no temporary fulfillment of the flesh that is worth sacrificing eternity. I said no to the temptation.
But then as sometimes happens in dreams, I suddenly became aware that I was dreaming! Once I realized I was dreaming, I revisited the temptation. I reasoned within myself that since I was dreaming that meant none of this was really happening so it wouldn’t be so bad to give in to the temptation; to give in to sin. It wasn’t even real I told myself. When I wake up, I will go on as before and no one will ever know. I’m not sure if I went through with my intention to sin as the dream seems to have ended at that point, but I woke up clearly remembering how I was justifying my desire to sin for the simple reason that I knew it wasn’t real. Our flesh will do as much as it can get away with!
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” –Romans 7:18
Our thought life is important to God. The things in our hearts are important to God. While I may not have been completely conscious of my activities, and though I was “only” dreaming, the dream revealed the state of the inner man. My flesh was rising up. Somewhere deep down, that desire for sin is within. The carnal mind is enmity against God (Romans 8:7). My flesh is weak. I know that the wages of sin is death. I know that nothing good can come of it, and yet I was so quick to go down that road because I could get away with it since it wasn’t “real”. The trouble is that the unconscious mind that brought me to that place in my dream is real. The dream came from somewhere and it revealed an area in my life that I need to deal with. So what’s the solution to this problem?
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” -Galatians 5:16
Walk in the Spirit! We have two natures, a spiritual nature and a fleshly nature. There is a battle raging between the old man and the new man. Paul said, “I die daily.” We have to crucify the flesh every day. I’ve recently been re-sanctifying parts of my life as I have found I need to do from time to time. I’ve started treating my temple better with healthier food and exercise. I’ve started reading my Word regularly again. I’ve deactivated my Facebook account. I’m praying more and allowing time for worship in the privacy of my home instead of just during song service at church. Perhaps, my flesh is rising up in part due to this sanctification process. The flesh doesn’t like the things of the spirit!
I’m doing my best to take up my cross to follow Him, but my flesh is still weak. I must remind myself of this so that I don’t fall into temptation. The Bible says to confess your faults to one another and to pray for one another (James 5:16). We know that sin leads to death yet we are still tempted by the flesh to fall into sin! We must die daily. We must walk in the spirit so that we don’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
Lord, Help me to walk after the Spirit and not after my own flesh! Help me to live clean and righteously before You in my thoughts, in my body, and in my spirit. I cannot do it on my own; I need your Holy Spirit directing my every step. Thank you Jesus for your loving kindness and your enduring mercy. I don’t know where I’d be without You.