The Proper Way to Use Our Flesh
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." -Romans 8:5 (NRSV)
I have often repeated the words of one of my favorite preachers, Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, who says "Feelings are wonderful servants; they're horrible masters." I think the same thing can be said about what we call flesh.
Flesh in itself is not a bad thing. Many of the things that gratify the flesh in and of themselves are not bad things. I like warmth and physical comfort. I appreciate visual beauty. An appropriate physical touch, such as a hug from my granddaughter or a kiss from my husband, feels wonderful to me. And I ADORE food.
It is perfectly acceptable to enjoy physical pleasures as God meant them to be. We just can't be ruled by them. After all, God created the flesh, along with everything that pleases it. However, while it good to enjoy the things of this earth as God meant for them to be enjoyed, it is never ok to prioritize anything in creation over its Creator.
To "live according to the flesh" does not always mean physical touch. It is the pursuit of any kind of pleasure (physical, material, relational, visual, etc) that takes precedence in our lives over and above the will of God.
The beautiful irony here is that when we make God our Lord and first priority in all things, life in general is sooo much more pleasurable overall.