Day 7: Soul Struggles
This post continues from yesterday’s short post on soul search.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me…
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
God shows us what is really going on when we allow Him to search our soul– our thoughts, feelings, and choices. The flesh is tucked away in the soul and causes us a world of trouble. The Bible often refers to the flesh in lists like this:
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions… Galatians 5:19-20.
What’s the big deal?
Often these seemed like the big sins, things that I tried pretty hard to avoid. So I wasn’t too worried about the whole flesh thing, after all, I am one of those gals that work hard to follow the rules.
Flesh, the self living independently of Christ, is far more intrusive than the “big sins.” In fact, some versions of the Bible translate the word flesh simply as human effort.
Okay now, back up. Hold it right there.
That puts a whole new spin on this flesh life. In the nitty-gritty of our lives, flesh is a mind-set that’s all about self–meeting my own needs, fixing my own problems, creating my own solutions, getting my own way, controlling people and steering circumstances to meet my expectations.
Hmm…really, I’d rather talk about something else. Something more comfortable that doesn’t make that tender spot between my eyes burn with conviction.
The flesh/self-life is a controller and is ravenous to gain approval and avoid the sting of rejection. The self, prances and preens to look good and achieve success…all on my own.
The flesh life tries to build an identity based on self-image, propped up with abilities, personality, education, looks, self-discipline…
Here are a few more areas the Flesh can seek identity through:
- material possessions
- And on and on and on…and on.
When we are living out of our own resources, we have no need to trust Christ to live His life in us. You see, in our flesh, we are interested in the basics–
- Cope with life
- Solve problems
- Meet needs–>love, worth, adequacy, security, and acceptance.
- Gain success
Flesh has some general characteristics– proud, controlling, deceptive, and self-protective. These are just starters. For a thorough list of all the ways flesh can show up in your life, check out this list at Grace Ministries.
We cause ourselves, and others, all kinds of grief and heartache when we are running wild and the flesh is calling the shots. Paul warns us, “For the flesh sets its desire 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” (Galatians 5:17).
When we ask God to search our souls and set us right, we will often find that He will show us a problem we are having with some aspect of our flesh.
“The Holy Spirit will show you what you need to change in a way that’s gentle, life-giving, and affirming” –such truth words from Holley Gerth, who kindly shares her wonderful graphics.
When we open our hearts to the loving conviction of the Holy Spirit, we are one step closer to freedom as we learn to live light in the wholeness of Christ.
It is His desire to cleanse us inside and out from the bondage of sin and self. God’s work in a life is to heal our hurts, restore our vision, lift our emotions, guide our steps, and fill our lives with the indwelling Christ. He is the saver, the Savior, of our souls.
As God makes us holy and whole, He heals us from the struggles of our soul.
His life is the hope of glory that strengthens us with all power as He works mightily with in us (Colossians 1:27, 1:11, and 1:29).