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Peeling Back the Flesh

Depending upon the species, onions can contain 8 to 13 layers. As someone who enjoys making homemade salsa each summer, I’m always amazed at the inner core of the onions that I cut. After removing the outer two layers, I carefully cut the remainder of the onion to avoid the amino acid sulfoxides that form sulphuric acid. Anytime you peel back an onion, you are at risk of having a burning sensation attack your eyes.

For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns]. 16 Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it, Romans 7:15-16.

According to the apostle Paul, when you peel back the layers of your own flesh spiritually, you may be shocked by what you found. In a letter to the church of Rome, Paul uses baffled, bewildered and disappointment to illustrate the lack of control over his own body. Despite having intentions to do and say the right thing, Paul’s flesh did the complete opposite. If a man of God fought a losing battle daily, imagine what it’s like for the addicted, mentally weak and undisciplined.

However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out,] Romans 7:17-18.

As I participate in an Esther Fast 3 days a week during the month of January, I am beginning to see how powerful my own flesh has become. Beside typical cravings for food, selfish desires lead me to daily withdraw, watching television or writing on my computer. While having hobbies is a normal part of life, controlling fleshly desires is a struggle. Good hearts can be persuaded by wandering minds. Meanwhile, good intentions can be ruined by apathy, idleness and laziness. The only good news comes at the end of Romans 7; verse 25 as Jesus saves us while we are still sinners.

by Jay Mankus

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