“Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh…make no provision for the flesh to satisfy its lusts… And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires…” (Rom 13:14; Gal 5:24)
These are drops of wisdom I have gleaned over the years about the royal way of the Cross. One thing is clear: It is not enough to know only the doctrine (the theory) of the Cross. It is not enough to just quote the scriptures. You need to apply the Word in your practical living. This crucifixion of the flesh must be a reality to you. For example, you should not lie that you are dead to lust when you still struggle with it. This death to sin comes by faith in the Word of God and by prayer. Be warned! The flesh is stubborn and proud. The flesh does not want to die easily. There must be a fight. You need to be filled with Holy Spirit to be lead into the victory Christ has purchased for you at the Cross! Even after you have given the flesh a mortal blow, like a headless chicken, the flesh will still ‘jump up and down’. But after sometime, it will die and you shall have peace from trying to please this ‘flesh that profits nothing’ (Jn 6:63). Once the flesh is dead to self, spiritual progress begins and ministry to others is possible.
One of the ways the devil is attacking the minds of the believers is by telling them to be alive to both the flesh and the Spirit. This causes confusion because each has its needs and dreams, and these are contrary to one another. For example, the flesh desires to boast about self and the Spirit wants to boast about God. But you cannot do both! One has to die and the other will live!
This is the truth: The flesh and the Spirit cannot be reconciled, cannot become friends. They hate each other. They are ‘mortal enemies’. There is a war going on within you. If this war is not ‘disturbing’ you, it means that you are not born again. This is also the truth: you cannot kill your flesh. That is called ‘spiritual suicide’. It is not possible. It is only the Holy Spirit who is able to kill ‘the old man’. But this is good news: Once you are dead to the flesh, you have ‘solved’ half of your problems in this life. This death to sin is not an imagination or a poem (romantic poets be careful!). It is reality. It is the work of the Holy Spirit! It is Christianity that works! Glory of God!
This is my testimony: After a long and hard battle with myself, helped and empowered by the Holy Spirit, I finally died to sin, to self, to the devil and to the world. I remember the place and the hour. Words cannot properly describe well this holy event. I can testify that the old me is not found on this earth anymore. It was nailed with Christ on the Cross. It is buried with Christ. I no longer desire to meet the old me on the street. I hate the old me!!! That foolish woman, the old Lia, can never be my friend. She is dead to me and I am dead to her. I am not sitting here dreaming about fulfilling a dead woman’s desires. My interest now is this new me. I am still studying this miracle new me. I wonder at God’s design and destiny for my life. My identity is now found buried in the fruitful soil of amazing grace. To my greatest surprise my new me is extremely lovely and fruitful. Most of the time you will not find me walking on the streets of this world. You will find me on my knees, digging deep into the mines of God’s approved gold.
My ‘work’ now is to study the Word of God and to apply it to the new me. This is holy experiment of the highest order. I dream God’s dreams now. My life is much easier and wonderful too! My new life is simple with the simplicity of Christ . I have time to enjoy myself as a person, as a wife, mother, grandmother, pastor and friend. I am truly happy. And because I have very few personal needs to pray about, I am able to impart into others this Niagara like overflow of life pouring from above into my thirsty soul. I received much. I can give much. I received freely, I give out freely. All the glory goes to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And now, please, praise the Lord with me!