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The key to victory over the flesh is to be transformed by a renewing of the mind. Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., explains.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2)
Today’s big question: how do we win against our flesh?
In the previous devotional, we examined why Christians still struggle with the flesh: our bodies have not yet been glorified. Living in the flesh leads to destruction, but living in the Spirit leads to eternal life with Jesus Christ. Even though Christians still struggle with the flesh, this does not mean we are living in the flesh. After all, we now have the Holy Spirit living within us and our passions and desires are not the same as before.
Just like Paul, I battle between the flesh and the Spirit—I hate what I do, and do not accomplish what I want to do. One of the ways you can fight this spiritual battle is by following Paul’s instruction to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Our bodies have yet to be transformed like Christ’s body, but we still can be transformed inwardly:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Also, when Paul discussed the old man vs. the new man, he wrote, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23). We can be renewed by Holy Spirit within us. This should be the goal of every Christian. However, we cannot just sit back and watch the changes happen; we need to be constantly pressing and working toward the goal.
In Ephesians 6, Paul gave some practical applications to help us as we fight this spiritual battle. The first item was to have the truth of God’s Word as our foundation. If we do not know His Word, then everything else we attempt will fail. With our foundation of truth, we work towards this goal in prayer, reading God’s Word, by our thoughts and actions, and so on.
Remember, we need to renew our minds daily. In fact, Paul called this an act of worship. Renewing our minds can only be accomplished with the Spirit who dwells in us. The straight and narrow road is not easy, but God “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Today’s big idea: we are able to win against our flesh by daily renewing our minds in the Spirit.
What to pray: thank God that He has given us all we need to renew our minds.