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The Impulses of the Flesh

A sudden strong and unreflective urge doesn’t wait for an invitation. Like an itch that doesn’t go away, impulses tend to feed on moments of weakness. Whether this is a compulsive desire to raid your fridge for food in the middle of the night or an urge to buy whatever you see, impulses of the flesh are hard to control or tame. The more you feed these cravings, the hungrier your flesh becomes. Addictions, bad habits and poor decisions are merely byproducts of out of control impulses.

Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind, Ephesians 2:3.

In the lyrics of their song Slow Fade, Casting Crowns eludes to the impulses of the flesh. Using the expression “the second glance,” this opens the door for enticement to consume human souls. One of Jesus’ disciples refers to this as the lust of the eyes in 1 John 2:16. If the eyes are the lamp of the body, Matthew 6:22-23, as soon as eyes convince your mind to act, the impulses of the flesh take over. This may explain the apostle Paul’s confession in Romans 7:19, “I can’t control myself.”

But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. 16 Do not be misled, my beloved brethren, James 1:14-16.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consumed by the agony of defeat, the apostle Paul does provide a solution in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Like an athlete going into strict training, extinguishing the impulses of the flesh requires complete concentration. The includes discipline, focus, and the will power to regain control of your body. Essentially, you need to exchange the impulses of the flesh with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This process is made complete by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

Again and Again

Again is an adverb, the act of returning to a previous condition or position.  Synonyms include also, besides, furthermore and moreover.  Again could be a sign of consistency, a positive trait for those who are diligent, focused and poised for success.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, again may refer to addiction, bad habits or downward spirals which ensnare troubled souls.

This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:22-23.

If you examine life from a spiritual perspective, again and again highlights the inability of human beings to continually do that which is right.  The apostle Paul declares in the passage above that no one in the world is righteous.  Although you may possess good intentions and seek to do the right thing, sooner or later you will gratify the desires of your flesh.  This natural inclination convinces minds using justification and rationalization to bend the rules every now and then.

For sin, seizing its opportunity through the commandment, beguiled and completely deceived me, and using it as a weapon killed me [separating me from God], Romans 7:11.

If you ask any drug addict, breaking free from using a specific substance requires extreme measures.  You have to purge yourself from the atmosphere, climate and any traces that will tempt you to give in.  Unfortunately, only a small portion of addicts are able to remain clean.  Appetites, cravings and dependence is so strong, few have the will power to resist.  Subsequently, again and again, lines are crossed to indulge in forbidden fruit.  If this blog finds you held hostage to sin, may the Holy Spirit send godly mentors into your life to hold you accountable and escape the unhealthy patterns of your past.

by Jay Mankus

 

What’s Missing From this Picture?

Regardless of how intelligent or talented you are, everyone goes through periods of slumps, where you are not as productive as usual.  The baseball player can’t get buy a hit.  The running back can’t seem to hold on to the ball anymore.  The jump shooter turns into a brick layer and the goalie treats each opponent like its Christmas.  Likewise, the doctor struggles to diagnose a cold, the engineer wrestles to find a quick solution and the teacher babbles away period after period.  When these circumstances find you, what’s the missing answer, ingredient or piece to your dilemma?

Deep within the pages of the Bible, I think I have unearthed a principle that might just be the missing link.  In Acts 16:22-24, Paul, Silas and Luke find themselves in an awkward predicament, imprisoned for freeing a slave girl.  Instead of arguing, bickering and complaining, somehow they are led to fulfill the words of Psalm 150.  Embracing their situation, Paul and Silas begin a worship service in prison.  This spirit of praise moves God to unleash a violent earthquake, likely 6.0 or higher on the Richter scale.  This natural disaster opens a door for ministry, setting the scene for a spiritual breakthrough.

From a personal perspective, I think I have become too worldly to experience a Pauline like miracle.  However, if I dedicated myself to fasting, prayer and worship, opportunities to share my faith would be plentiful.  Like losing weight, the only remaining question is, do you have the discipline and will power to change.  The apostle Paul went to extreme measures to insure a Christ-like behavior in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  Therefore, if a slump resides in your soul, struggling to find meaning and purpose in life, why not apply Psalm 150:6.  Maybe this is the only thing preventing you from getting over the hump.  May this be the last piece you are searching for.

by Jay Mankus

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