Letters to Jesus (Contrary Spiritual Notions) - 17
Roman 8: 7-9: The flesh in its tendency is at enmity with God; it is not subject to God’s law. Indeed it cannot be; those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
It strikes me that the amount of exertion necessary to control the tendencies of the flesh is greater than the efforts to direct the spirit and, consequently, the tendencies of the flesh are easier to surrender to than the urgings of the spirit. What God has to fight to get through to us is the “self” of our own making which, unfortunately, is strongly undermined by the body in which it lives. Pandering to the flesh rather than the spirit it contains is indeed at enmity with God. But God comprehends with perfect understanding that as humans we cannot live the life of the spirit without the flesh.
Flesh is the burden we bear, the obstacle to be overcome, the cross of pain and suffering, and the conveyance of our spirit. The tendencies of the flesh are comfort, ease, security, happiness and satisfaction – the same tendencies, it might be noted, that we come under in seeking God and a spiritual life. Because we live in the flesh we easily use words of the flesh to categorize what it is we seek in the spirit. The comfort, ease, security, happiness and satisfaction we seek in resting in God, in doing God’s will, in loving with God’s love is not the comfort, ease, security, happiness or satisfaction we seek in our bodies even though the words are the same. Their meanings are altered by the fleshly or spiritual context in which they are used. In the flesh comfort, ease, security, happiness and satisfaction are commonly connected with wealth, power, passion, pleasure, image, self-indulgence, ego, control, prestige and inerrancy. In the spirit they are commonly connected with detachment, humility, love, trust, sharing, self-denial and altruism. It’s all about the way we direct these desires. One way leads towards God and towards others. The other way leads only to self.