Week 16 — The Flesh (Human Nature)
"The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." —Matthew 26:41 (our translation)
"My point is that you should live in accord with the Spirit and you will not yield to the cravings of the flesh. The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; the two are directly opposed." —Gal 5:16-17
Jesus: Signs and wonders are present in the Bible and in today's Church. Sometimes the Spirit is stifled because some members give into the desires of the flesh.
Disciple: Jesus, I've tried all kinds of novelties to receive power. Maybe my life-style is draining me of life. May the Holy Spirit convict and guide me.
Repent; the kingdom of God is at hand (Mk 1:15).
"My brothers, remember that you have been called to live in freedom—but not a freedom that gives free rein to the flesh." —Gal 5:13
Jesus: I don't want My followers to be slaves of their desires. I offer you the only true freedom (Jn 8:36). Some of your desires are not serving you; you're serving them. If you remain a slave, My death for you and your life are in vain.
Disciple: "What a wretched man I am! Who can free me from this body under the power of death? All praise to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rm 7:24-25) I am under the spell of self. Deliver me.
Repent of accepting slavery.
"We are debtors, then, my brothers—but not to the flesh, so that we should live according to the flesh. If you live according to the flesh, you will die." —Rm 8:12-13
Jesus: "Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another" (Rm 13:8). You don't "owe it to yourself." You've never owed your flesh anything. I have paid all your debts by the price of My blood. You still have a slave-mentality although you have been born again free.
Disciple: Jesus, I give my life to You. I deny my very self (Lk 9:23). I renew my baptism and accept You as Lord and Liberator.
Repent of making provisions for the desires of the flesh (Rm 13:14).
"We know that the law is spiritual, whereas I am weak flesh sold into the slavery of sin." —Rm 7:14
Jesus: If you weren't baptized into My death, there would be no hope for you (Rm 6:3). "Flesh begets flesh" (Jn 3:6). You would be unable to live a life worth living. But now you are more than a conqueror (Rm 8:37).
Disciple: Jesus, thank You for new life, abundant life, eternal life.
Repent of not being eternally grateful.
"The flesh in its tendency is at enmity with God; it is not subject to God's law. Indeed, it cannot be: those who are in the flesh cannot please God." —Rm 8:7-8
Jesus: You've decided to stay out of hell. You've decided to obey the commandments and even pray. However, you haven't decided to live a life always pleasing to My Father (Col 1:10).
Disciple: Jesus, I'm concerned with pleasing myself and other people. I do this by indulging the desires of my flesh, but that prevents me from pleasing You.
Repent of not going to Confession frequently.
"It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless." —Jn 6:63
Jesus: Today I died on the cross for you. Today you can crucify your "flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24). Lay aside the old self, acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking (Eph 4:22-23).
Disciple: Jesus, thank You that I don't have to live "at the level of the flesh, following every whim and fancy, and so by nature" deserve "God's wrath like the rest" (Eph 2:3). Jesus, if it weren't for You...
Repent of digging up the old dead man.
"Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh." —Rm 13:14
Jesus: The desires of the flesh by their very nature wage war on the soul (1 Pt 2:11). Don't stifle the Spirit (1 Thes 5:19). Don't oppose the Spirit by lusting against it (Gal 5:17). "Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth" (Col 3:5). "Your own conduct was once of this sort, when these sins were your very life. You must put that aside now" (Col 3:7-8).
Disciple: Jesus, I have already devoted enough time to what the pagans enjoy. I will not spend what remains of my "earthly life on human desires but on the will of God" (1 Pt 4:2-3).
Repent of saddening the Spirit (Eph 4:30).
Excerpts from Scripture are taken from The New American Bible, copyright 1970 by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C., and are used by permission of the copyright holder. All rights reserved.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, July 13, 1995.
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati, July 25, 1995.
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