“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
In this great chapter of the Bible, God uses Paul to enlighten us about something we can all identify with – the struggle we have with our flesh. There is a tremendous need for people of faith to understand the nature of our carnal self, especially when there are so many false beliefs about this subject. We are all born with a carnal nature, inherited from our ancestor, Adam. Paul tells us that in our flesh “dwelleth no good thing.” This is contrary to the view we often hear regarding the human nature. In our humanistic society, worldly people speak of the nobleness of the flesh. We have all heard comments such as, “There is something good in every person,” “Believe in yourself,” or “You are a good person.” Actually, when it comes to honestly assessing our flesh, the Bible plainly states the opposite.
Thankfully, when we are saved, we receive a new Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God. However, we do not lose our selfish nature when we are born again. We still have to deal with our flesh; thus, we are introduced to the struggle that every child of God will be engaged in. It is an inner conflict between the sinful and selfish nature we are born with and the holy nature we receive when we are converted. In another epistle, the Bible describes it this way, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17). There are those who claim that a Christian does not have a carnal nature after he is born again, but these verses teach otherwise. Others underestimate the destructive power of walking in the energy of the flesh. The flesh is one of our primary enemies, along with the world and the devil. Truthfully, the flesh is probably the foe that gives us the most difficulty day after day.
We need to appreciate how depraved the flesh is and learn that it is not capable of anything good. In order to win this spiritual battle, we must rely on the Holy Spirit and His power. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). As we learn to walk in the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit, the more we will experience victory over our flesh.