Summary: Can you have a Godly relationship in the flesh? Let’s discover how to overcome our flesh and obtain Godly relationships.
Are healthy relationships developed with selfish, self-centered people? So can we have Godly relationships when we live in our flesh? The answer is obvious, NO. We must change. But how?
One psychological test asks what animal would you like to be? Or what animal do you admire the most? After identifying with that animal the question is asked, “What traits do you admire the most?” This indicates either what you want to be, or what you already are. Here are the animals that I see most humans acting like. There is the pig that loves to roll around in the mud, wallow or “wallor” as we call it down south. Nothing suits this animal better than to become filthy. The thicker the mud and the muck the better the pig likes it. Or how about the catfish? It is a bottom dwelling fish. Again it enjoys the mud as well. It finds its food at the bottom of the lake. Let’s just say it isn’t the healthiest of foods. Neither of these animals wants life to be any better. They are satisfied with their “good life”. Humans are like that because we love to live fleshly lives. Lives that stay in the mud. Lives that wallor deeper and deeper into sin. If it feels good, then do it! You probably can see faces of people that you know as I am talking right now. I challenge you to first see your own. Yes, you are one of those animals, and so am I.
However, God has called and challenged us to become an eagle! To soar to mighty heights! When a storm approaches, an eagle uses the wind currents to rise even higher. As an eagle soars it’s vision improves. So how does a pig or a catfish turn into an eagle? If you will remember, last week we discovered the first key to Godly relationships. Obviously to have a Godly relationship you must start with God! This manifests itself by obedience to Christ! Therefore the first key is obedience. The second key is overcoming our flesh. How does a pig or a catfish become an eagle? They can’t! We must discover that we cannot change ourselves! However, “All things are possible with God.” Tell your neighbor, “all things!” “Christ, who has begun a good work in you will complete it!” Tell your neighbor, “Christ will complete me.” To become an eagle is a grace thing. We must depend on God to overcoming our flesh. We cannot do it, however, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” Let’s discover how Christ has EMPOWERED us to overcome our flesh and live in His Spirit!
To overcome our flesh we must have a:
I. Set our minds on Christ. (vs. 1-2) 1If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
The first step of this process is identifying with Christ. You cannot skip the first step. You must know Christ as your Savior. The words, “If you were raised” is asking a question that for all of us who can hear this could answer, “I am still alive.” Yes but to those who have been saved and baptized, this is what baptism symbolizes! Do you remember the saying with baptism, “Buried with Christ, risen…..”?????? If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, then you have died to self. You have identified yourself with Christ. That means that God sees Christ, His Son, in you.
This enables you to overcome your flesh by setting your mind on Christ. It all starts with your mind. How you think. Where you place your thoughts! That is why we need to filter what we allow to enter into our minds: Music, TV, language, gossip, lust, etc. Instead we should fill it with the word of God. In doing this we are not conformed to the world but are transformed by the “renewing of our minds”.
That is why we are commanded to “seek those things which are above… set your mind on things above, not on earth.” We are so easily deceived. When we focus on earthly things, we believe what we see. We must come to the realization that we are blind, and what we see is an apparition. What I mean by that is that what we see is real, but not necessarily true. Have you seen movies of people lost in a desert? What happens? They become thirsty, so thirsty that they imagine an Oasis. The Oasis is real to them, however, because of their circumstances they have bought a lie. Folks, that is your neighbor, or maybe you. People become so spiritual thirsty, that all Satan has to do is offer an appearance of something and we buy into it!