Flesh Versus Spirit (Part 4) The heat – Jesus

Series:  Flesh Versus Spirit – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Part 4 – The heat – Jesus

Sometimes trials and tribulations are consequences of our own actions and sometimes they come through the hands of the faults and weaknesses from others; even husbands.  And it seems the harder the trial is on our flesh (emotions, soul) – the more it hurts.  And the more it hurts, the harder it is to accept that God is actually in control of everything.  Either way He states, in no uncertain terms, that He is sovereign; that He can use anything and everything for our growth in His plan for our lives.

The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord

[even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him].

Proverbs 16:33


We are assured and know that

[God being a partner in their labour]

all things work together and are [fitting into a plan]

for good to and for those who love God

and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Romans 8:28

Once we are able to accept what God says about Himself, trials can take on a different “bear-ability.”  We’ll be able to step beyond the emotions in our flesh, at least a little, and see the war between our flesh and spirit.  This helps us choose to move in the spirit, in spite of the pain of our flesh.  We’ll be able to see that with any trial any tribulation, because of God’s sovereignty, there’s always something we can learn about ourselves – and Him.

Happy and fortunate is the man whom God reproves; so do not despise or reject the correction of the almighty [subjecting you to trial and suffering].  For He wounds, but He binds up; He smites, but His hands heal. -Job 5:17-18 (emphasis added)

During trials it’s how our flesh is tempted to react that will reveal what it is that we need to learn – where we need to be stronger.  At the risk of over simplification, what happens if you miss with a hammer and hit your finger?  There’s no faking it, is there?  Whatever came out of me – is what was inside me.

The hammer didn’t put it there;

it simply provided the provocation.

When we are sinned against and our emotions are hurt (like that hammer smashing a finger), what comes out of us?  Admittedly for me, it wasn’t usually the Spirit’s fruit found in Galatians 5:22-23.  Stark contrast to what was released out of Jesus while being executed?

He sets the bar pretty high, doesn’t He? (Rom 8:17, 29, 1 Cor 3:1-3, 2 Cor 1:5, Gal 4:19, 1 Pet 4:12-13)

If there is any event in our history that stands out as looking accidental and not ordered by God, it would be the execution of His own Son.  But in this tribulation for Jesus there was great purpose.  It was part of God’s plan.  Jesus going to the cross shows us the raw power of the Spirit that is available to us as we are being recreated (Eph 2:10).  He demonstrated the crossroads of the humanness in our flesh as it struggles to follow the Spirit.

It’s not that we don’t acknowledge sorrow or suffering; but that we aren’t to walk in it.  When Jesus was in the garden He prayed for another way.  This wasn’t weakness; it was acknowledgement of being fully human.  And as He prayed we see the collision of flesh and spirit, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done. -Luke 22:42 (emphasis added).

I love God’s written Word, but with my dominant learning styles being visual and aural, the movie The Passion, allowed me to deeper conceptualize this moment in time from Jesus’ life.  For those having the same learning styles as me, I’ve included the clip of the scene which I referenced from Luke 22.

After seeing what it might have looked for Jesus in His struggle to choose God’s will over His own, I’m able to internalizing what it really means to struggle in the choice of flesh and spirit; it’s not easy is it?  And there is always Satan, bucking for the flesh to win.  He wants us to choose the easy way out.  He begs us through our aching flesh to give-in.  To buckle under the pressure and choose self, instead of standing up to temptation and stomping it out.

And well, here’s the thing.  You know when I said that the pressure from temptation will show where we need to grow?  What comes out of us is our dross that needs to be burned off in the heat.  Jesus was sinless and guiltless – He had no dross to be burned off.

It was mine and it was yours.

This is standing in the gap and laying down your life for your brother, when it isn’t your problem – you are not guilty.  It’s not that God is trying to take away your life by saying the command, “I hate divorce.”  He’s asking you to say what Jesus said, No one takes it away from Me.  On the contrary, I lay it down voluntarily. [I put it from Myself.]  I am authorized and have power to lay it down (to resign it) and I am authorized and have power to take it back again.  These are the instructions (orders) which I have received [as My charge] from My Father. -John 10:18

Jesus said He had the authority and power to not go to the cross – to choose that other way, which He prayed for in the garden.  But He didn’t go His own way, He followed God’s plan:  voluntarily laying down His life.

It was (and is) always in the face of trials, especially in marriage, that I experienced the most tremendous growth.  But I had to believe in God’s sovereignty always and not just when the path before me was to my satisfaction.

 What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters

compared to what lies within us. 

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


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