I believe that the Christian says and does what his flesh would not want to do because the Christian embraces the spirit. The Christian’s spirit overcomes the desires of the flesh. The Christian manifests the spirit over the flesh. Scripture says, “for the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17).
Now, it appears that the flesh has mastery over the spirit. The flesh appears so powerful that it “keeps a person from doing the things that he or she wants to do.”
So are we, again, to give in to sin? Are we to take this as a warning of defeat? Are we to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) with our knowledge that we will lose? Am I to go on a journey of speaking the words of God with my knowing that profanity will spew out of my mouth?
Absurd! The world makes, as it does most of the time, a scapegoat for sin (Leviticus 16). The world thinks by giving the power to sin itself it is safe from blame. “If the flesh has so much power,” the world contends, “I am not to blame.” “How can I do what I want if my flesh is constantly at war with my spirit and keeps me from doing good?” the world asks.
How the world seems to ask such earnest questions. But this question does not inquire; it excuses one from his or her sinful actions.
The world says “the devil made me sin.” “Sinning is a part of human nature.” “Everyone,” the world claims, “curses, slanders, backbites, gossips, and complains.” How the world fails at quantifying everyone!
It is higher to think the spirit has mastery over the flesh, to put the spirit over the flesh. Otherwise, what makes the human better than a beast or animal if the flesh has mastery over the spirit or soul?
That is to say that one should credit the spirit of the human—that is, the righteous spirit of the man or woman—with more power than the flesh. Otherwise, what makes us different from monkeys? So we read that “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).
So we read that, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). And we read that, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). Despite what the devil says, sin does not give a prize at the end of the race, only death.
Jesus wants us to race for righteousness, to receive the prize of eternal life. Jesus is not saying, “I know you will lose to sin but race anyhow.” No. This statement and perspective, more than anything, cancel out sin and the personal responsibility to live righteously. Such a perspective does not want to accept that truth and righteousness is the goal!
Our knowing that we have not won the race yet and giving up in the race are two entirely different things. The spirit (the righteous mind of Jesus Christ, which is contrary to the flesh) is the part of the human that desires to win against sin. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Jesus came to earth to defeat sin. This same mind is in the Christian, making it impossible to give up the fight against sin.
The Christian knows that “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways” (Psalm 119:1-3)! The Christian also knows that God “commanded his precepts to be kept diligently” (Psalm 119:4).
The Christian knows that we do not give the victory to the enemy and that there is no excuse or scapegoat for wickedness or losing. Christianity says, “a race is not worth running in if there is not the hope for victory.” One should desire to overcome the wicked desires of the flesh with the Christian spirit, which is the very mind of Jesus Christ. If one does not have the mind of Jesus Christ, he or she cannot “accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolish to him or her, and he or she cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
The world cannot possibly think of behaving Godly (spiritually), so the world makes scapegoats and excuses for its sinful behavior.
Therefore, although the spirit (or righteous mind of Jesus Christ) has the power to defeat the sinful flesh, the world ignores the power of Christ and, instead, gives power to the idol of flesh.