Spirit vs. Flesh

Have you ever felt like you were in sin, because your flesh didn’t align with your spirit?

It’s an interesting thing.   I’ve long ago come to the conclusion that while the Bible instructs us to action, it does not instruct us to emotion.   The things that sound like emotion are either gifts of the Spirit, or series of choices that look like emotions, but aren’t.

The usual example is love.  The Bible speaks of agape love, which is something that you choose to live out in action, not an emotion that you choose to have about someone.  Frequently, the emotion of love follows the action.   You may even be gifted agape by the Spirit – but you don’t *start* there.

Other “emotions”, such as peace and joy, are likewise gifts of the Spirit that can result from obedience.  I’d forgotten about the in-between time…. the time when you’ve made a *choice* to obey and walk forward in God’s will but your fleshly emotions haven’t been transformed.

The Holy Spirit has transformed my spirit into a place of joyful peace and excitement.   Certainty.  But in my flesh, I see signs of stress.   Why is this?  How have I failed?  What am I missing?  I am ruthless in my self-examination… I don’t like to fix my symptoms, I like to fix their cause.

I forgot.  I just forgot.

I’ve been directed in my reading to the Psalms of late, and I thought yesterday about King David, running from Saul in the wilderness, when he wrote many of those songs.   He is, on the one hand, certain that God will protect him, that God is his strength and his shield.   He is certain that God will provide for him what he was promised.   But on the other, David is pretty stressed out (far more than I am – no one is chasing ME around trying to kill me).   And David cries out in these psalms… speaking to God of his faith, his love – and his frustrations!

So, why did God call David a man after God’s own heart?  Because David (even under temptation) did not reach out to TAKE what had been promised him.  David waited until Saul died on his own.  David waited to have the door opened for him.   David trusted God, in the most practical of ways.  His emotions, those things that caused him to write such beautiful songs…. he didn’t act on those.  He acted on faith.

And so, likewise, am I – in much much much smaller ways.  It’s hard.  I don’t know God’s timeline.  But when you ask me, “are you sure of God’s provision?”  Yes.  Without a breath of argument, yes.

The faith is there.  The choice to trust is there.  And I can STOP with the endless poking at myself, trying to root out hidden sin.  The impatience and stress are just there.  They’re not signs of some hidden evil, they’re just body things.  The flesh DOES war with the spirit.  Okay.  So I can care for my flesh without indulging it, and feed my spirit and spend time with my Creator and get on with life.   If I keep my ‘ears’ open, God will direct my steps for each of my days, and I won’t miss anything.   If I obey in the details, He will take care of the big picture.   I’m not going to screw this up … I’m walking with Him now.

I have to remember that last – that God’s promises don’t depend on ME.  Or anyone else in flesh.  They’re God’s promises, and He will sort them out.  When He has done the big things in my life that He’s done – NONE of them have depended on ***me***.  So I can stop torturing myself and get on with life.

Maybe.  -winks-  I’m not so good at that.  But I’m going to ask for peace……. God does like to give you what He wills for you to have.

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