This body of flesh does NOT want to die! We are so "attached" to it. And it puts up a hell of a fight when we deny it. This body wants to feel good. It wants to be powerful. It wants to be right. It wants to be first. It wants to be dressed nicely, fed delicious food, stimulated by touch and excited by sights and sounds. This flesh is sensory driven! We want to feel good, and we want our senses to feel satisfied...if not indulged.What drives your actions? Why do you find yourself perusing the pantry two hours after eating dinner? Is it your tummy that’s empty...or your heart? Why do you reach for the radio or your ipod in the car? Does 20 minutes of solitude make you restless? If so, what’s behind the restlessness? Could it be unsettling thoughts that are normally quieted by outside noise? Why do I respond impatiently to people? I have a “right” to feel respected and heard, don’t I? Why when we find ourselves with an hour of free time do we flip on the t.v. or laptop rather than enjoy conversation with family or read a good book? Could it be that we default to a more passive behavior that requires less engagement of our minds or hearts?
The body cries, “Feed me!” “Comfort me!” “Entertain me!” But it is a fiendish cry. One with a hellish origin. A cry which originates from an insatiable appetite. And only results in cries for more, and more often. We cannot say, “One last time and that’s all.” Our flesh will not be satisfied with “one more.”Yet in denying our flesh, we are not to numb our senses. God gives us good things to enjoy. We are not expected to live in a monastery and deprive ourselves of all good things, which is asceticism. Even harsh treatment of the body is limited toward stopping indulgence. In fact, we can swing toward strict discipline and depriving ourselves and still be overly focused on the body.
Then what do we do?!Do not despair! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! He will deliver us. Our focus is not on our bodies; our wants, our drives, our rights, our sin, our failures. Our focus is on Jesus. We lift our eyes off of us and fix our gaze on him. With eyes on Jesus, we endure the death of our flesh. We nail it to the cross. Daily…sometimes hourly. When sin comes knocking, we don’t answer.
We have agreed to give all to him. We seek every day to please him and to let him hold our hand. We bring our hearts to him empty, seeking to be filled by him. Open wide your mouth. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
The desires of our flesh are denied, not to make us miserable but in order that the Spirit of love and life can take control. We defer to Jesus since he knows what is best for us. Our fleshly feeding frenzies will be abandoned to rich, spiritual food that satisfies. Our self-improvement, self-actualization, self-gratification, self-focus and self-abasement will give way to the gentle but firm hand of the Potter. He has been there, and he knows what we are going through. Only his nail-scarred hands can make us into his likeness.