What does it mean to crucify my flesh? Can I enjoy earthly things?


(Tabitha Gallman) #1

I am currently reading Genesis and in a commentary I was reading it was suggested that it’s possible that God could have judged the earth at some time between verses 1 and 2 and wiped the slate clean before Adam and Eve. I understand about the need for judgement because God is righteous and Holy, but that seems to be why so many people don’t want to accept Christianity as a way of life. People think our God is too harsh. I understand that Jesus paid the price for my sins, so that my sins have been paid for, and I daily make it a choice to die more to my fleshly desires. My question is how do I know when I’m becoming “too spiritual to be any earthly good”? lol, and what does it look like to die daily to sin? I just had 4 sugar cookies and it’s not even the weekend yet? I love all the Marvel movies and my daughter and I binge watch those movies from time to time. I could go on and on, but I’m sure I’m normal, but I do feel guilty for enjoying so many earthly things so often.


(SeanO) #2

@tabby68 That is an excellent question. If we look at the Bible from beginning to end God gave us this world to enjoy. Adam and Eve were given food, profitable work and one another. In Deuteronomy 28 we we see the Israelites were promised earthly abundance if they obeyed - lots of children, wine and good food to eat. And we see Jesus rejoicing at the wedding feast in Cana and providing the wine (John 2:1-12). But how do we avoid feeling guilty and how do we avoid excess?

Here are two resources I found helpful. The first is from John Piper, based on teaching from Jonathan Edwards, and offers good advice on how Christians actually enjoy earthly things more than pagans. I will not put them all here, but here is some of the advice on how to enjoy earthly things. It basically says we practice moderation and experience God’s love through His provision, while not fearing losing these things because we know we have eternity even if we lose our life.

  • By encouraging gratification of our senses
  • By instilling moderation
  • By adding peace to the pleasure
  • By seeing the love of God behind them

What does it mean to crucify the flesh?

The ‘works of the flesh’ are listed in Galatians 5 and contrasted to Walking in the Spirit. Crucifying the flesh is to avoid the works of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16-26 - So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Hope those are helpful. The Lord grant you wisdom as you grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. Ask more questions if you still have them :slight_smile:


(Tabitha Gallman) #3

Thanks Sean. These are great articles. God made us so complex with all our senses. This part in the first article: "“Thank you Lord for your blessings which I receive through my senses as evidence of your love, and return to you with praises for your love.” Another reason to be thankful for those sugar cookies, as well as the food we eat for sustenance. And of course Galatians 5:23 wouldn’t be there if we had no need for self-control. I had never thought of self-control being on the “good side” or on the fruit of the Spirit side, lol. These are very helpful.


(SeanO) #4

@tabby68 Glad you found them helpful :slight_smile: Yes, it is always a relief to be able to thank God for His good gifts - sugar cookies and eggs and bacon and music and dance - and to live a life of moderation so that we are a slave to none of those things. We enjoy God’s good creation without becoming a slave to it - as servants of Christ and rulers over the good world He gave us.


(John J Stanley ) #5

Tabby,

Balance is the key to life. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done.” He also told us to “seek first the kingdom of God.” I try to do that every day. I also watch the Marvel movies and have read almost everything by Stephen King. I am currently reading Spymaster by Brad Thor, a thriller, and The Moment of Truth, a book on understanding God’s truth in a world that’s turned away from it by Dr. Steven Lawson. That’s in addition to my daily Bible reading, with McGee commentary, and listening to the daily message from Ligonier ministry by the late RC Sproul.

The question is: what are you doing today to advance the kingdom of God? Both internally and externally? That does not mean your every waking moment is on this, but some of it each day certainly should be. Don’t let the lies of the enemy beat you up. Let go of your guilt. If you are living a balanced life, you are doing well. Most Christians don’t even ask themselves the questions you are. That alone should tell you that you are moving in the correct direction.

John


(Tabitha Gallman) #6

I totally agree that balance is key. I read just today in a magazine that a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology discovered that people experienced a rise in self-control when they thought about their larger goals. I have to always remember that my treasure and home is in heaven. Thanks John. I am going to put “The Moment of Truth” on my wish list.