Crucify the flesh, deny yourself and put on the righteousness of Christ. It all sounds wonderful, but as a Christian woman, have you ever stopped to consider what that means? How do you crucify the flesh?
First of all, t
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 1For 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.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, 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.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such
thingsthere is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-26 (NIV)
Why Can’t I Crucify The Flesh?
But, if we’re honest, we all have one or two little
And, when we give into one of these temptations, shame and guilt are there to remind us of how horrible we truely are. Suddenly we are painfully aware of our wretchedness and we feel very very far from God.When we give into temptation, shame and guilt are there to remind us of our wretchedness and we feel very far from God, but it's a lie. Click To Tweet
At this point, many Christian women turn violent. Not to anyone else, but towards themselves. They beat themselves up with abusive thoughts. They crucify the flesh.
I should have been stronger… what’s wrong with me?… I’m never going to be able to stop this… I can’t overcome this… I’m so ashamed
And, if this shame and blame was effective then I’d say no problem. Let’s feel bad and stop doing it. But, the truth is, it doesn’t work.
Despite the internal beating, the sin remains. The pain and shame don’t do any good. And that’s why I want to encourage you to STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP.
How To Crucify The Flesh
Want to know the first step to crucifying the flesh? … Love Yourself!
Now, I know that this is hard for most Christian women to wrap their heads around. We’ve been told our whole lives that we must give up our lives for Christ. We must deny ourselves, pick up our cross and go.
They say that there’s only room for one on the throne so it’s either you or Christ. And I agree… BUT…
The Bible tells me:
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.”John 3:16
Explain this; If God loves me, why do I have to hate myself?
Think about this with me; If God loves and I am supposed to love what God loves and hate what God hates, why am I beating myself up?
God doesn’t hate you!
He hates sin. But, there’s an important difference between who you are and what you do. He overcame sin by the blood of the lamb. And, He did it so that He can freely love you. So why are we still destroying ourselves?
Stop Destroying Yourself!
So, here’s the thing;
Hate has no power over sin. You can’t hate yourself enough to overcome any temptation. You can’t hate yourself enough to do the will of God.
But LOVE… love has power.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out1 John 4:18
fear,because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. “
So my dear,
I hope you’ll reconsider the way you’re trying to deal with the sin and temptation in your life.
Loving youself does not mean that you’re accepting sin. It means that recognizing that Jesus’s sacrafice on the cross was sufficient to take away the wrath of God.
I know that you feel terribly aware of your sin. It’s nice that God is able to forget about it, but you’re not there yet. You “know” how filthy you are. It’s painfully obvious to you.
Recognize Your Righteousness
But when was the last time you recognized your righteousness?
Are you conciously aware of the righteousness of God in you? Because if you’re not, then you’re focusing on the wrong thing.Are you consciously aware of the righteousness of God in you? Because if you're not, then you're focusing on the wrong thing. Click To Tweet
So, I want you to know that you absoulety can overcome any temptation and sin, but it has to happen from a place of love.
Because here’s the truth…
You don’t have to crucify the flesh.
That work was already done.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Do you see that? It’s in the past tense. If you belong to Christ, that action of receiving Him as your Lord and S
You Have Already Crucified The Flesh
So, if you have accepted Christ you HAVE crucified the flesh. That act of salvation is done once and for all.If you have accepted Christ you HAVE crucified the flesh. That act of salvation is done once and for all. Click To Tweet
I know that this is a hard concept for some Christians to wrap their heads around. Some people will continue to crucify the flesh daily for the rest of their lives. I get it, I struggled with this issue too. For years!
Listen, I too am well acquainted with many kinds of temptations, and I still struggle. But one thing that I’ve been working really hard on is not letting hate, anger, fear, and rejection pollute my thoughts.
Yes, I’m a sinner.
Yes, I’m a sinner, but I am saved and I focus on my righteousness through Christ. When I sin, I try to immidately aknowledge that I made the wrong choice, but then I boldly declare that I am still loved by God and I have the power within me to overcome sin.
Why are we giving the flesh this daily resurection power?
The Holy Spirit didn’t come so that we can continually crucify the flesh, but it did come so that we can practice self-control. And there is an important distinction. Self-control is about using the mind of Christ within you and it allows you to be disciplined, growing and thriving, becoming Christ-like.The Holy Spirit didn't come so that we can continually crucify the flesh, but it did come so that we can practice self-control. Click To Tweet
What would happen if instead of beating yourself up, you focused on the goodness, kindness, and mercy of God… One thing that happens… is the devil starts talking and tells you that you must think sin is okay. The devil tells a lot of lies. It’s okay to tell him to shut up!
Let’s try doing this differently.
Here’s a little challenge I’d love you to take on.
For the following week:
When you commit a sin (big or small) stop, take a deep breath and say “It’s okay, God still loves me”.
BUT PASTOR LILY! HOW CAN WE SAY THAT SIN IS OKAY???
Please here me when I say this; sin is not okay. But I want you to stop giving that sin so much power. Sin does not have the power to seperate you from the love of God. Nothing has that power.
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
Look, God clearly still loves you. So let’s focus on that. He has provided the atonement. You’re not going to get right with God by being miserable, full of shame, or hurting yourself.
In fact, a lot of those behaviours are manipulative attention seeking behaviours that God does not buy into. Do not hold your life ransom. Christ died for your freedom. You have a responsibility to go live.
Finally, I want to know what you think. Are you willing to stop beating yourself up when you sin? What would your life look if you were kind to yourself in spite of your weaknesses?
Have you tried to crucify the flesh, what was the outcome?
Let’s discuss this in the comments below, because I think it’s a really important converstation that we need to have. What benefit are you getting from your self inflicted wounds? Would attack other people with the words you use inside your own head against yourself?
Or, if you’re already practicing kindness towards yourself and you agree with what I’m suggesting, let’s talk about why? Many women will benefit from your experience and so I hope you’ll share a little bit about how you apply these ideas in your own life.