(If you haven’t read Galatians 5:19-22 before now, I think you should do so before reading this so you can understand what I mean by ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’).
How does a baby grow? Adequate nutrition. Same goes for a plant. So nature has basically taught us that the way to grow a living thing is to feed it.
Now, that someone is being fed physically doesn’t necessarily mean that they are being fed well. One can choose to eat balanced meals, or burger and chips from Monday to Sunday. Both will fill you up. Both will give the appearance of growth. Where the difference will probably begin to get clear is in the long run. Someone who eats junk 24/7 will have a higher risk of have some form of chronic disease later on in life, as compared to a healthy eater.
The same goes for our spirits. We can allow snippets of either good or bad information fill our spirits. I believe that the little drops is what makes the ocean. Good and Godly ‘food’ will definitely build us up, slowly and surely. Bad and ungodly/unprofitable ‘food’ will destroy also, slowly and surely.
In Medicine there are certain disease conditions that have what is known as predisposing factors. This means that once one or more of these factors are present in an individual, the risk of developing that disease is increased. Likewise there are activities and environments that can predispose us to both doing good or bad. For example, there are two certain people who have decided to stop having premarital sex. Person A then goes on to join a nearby Bible study group, deletes all the nude pictures on his phone, ‘cleanses’ his social media, and starts hanging out with people of like mindset. Person B still continues to look at those nudes on his phone, goes out to the club twice a month with the guys, and he doesn’t go 5 seconds on his Twitter feed without seeing erotic pictures/videos. Both pray for grace to stop premarital sex. Who do you think has a higher risk of falling back into it?
There are times that I have cried out to God, saying, “Take away this work of my flesh!” but then nothing ‘happened and I felt disappointed. God replied me one day, saying, “You are still feeding your flesh”. In that moment I realised that the reason I never got over those things was not because God did not answer my prayers, but because I went back to doing things that predisposed me to doing them. God can deliver, yes I know, but it’s up to us to actively desire in our hearts to stop doing those things that make us want to fulfill our flesh and ignore the spirit.
Whatever we read, watch, listen to, or allow to entertain us that make us more vulnerable to the works of the flesh have to be activelly avoided. However this has to be done from a place of understanding the reason why it’s important. The good news is we do not have to do this by our own strength. God gives us grace and strength to avoid doing anything that riles up the fleshly worldly desires in me. He gives us grace to do things that being us closer to him and help us grow and manifest the fruit of the Spirit if we allow Him. He works in us to give us the desire and power to do what pleases Him.
Even when you begin to cut off those predissposing factors, change does not happen imediately though. When you start watering a seed in the soil, it does not become a big tree the next day. The ground still looks bare . Gradually it begins to sprout, grow in height, produce some branches, and eventually brings forth fruit and flowers. The key word here is ‘eventually’. If you fall to temptation on the first day after you prayed, or even maybe a week after, don’t beat yourself up. A righteous man falls seven times and get up again. The important thing is that you don’t stay in the fall but get up and continue striding. People around you (Godly counsel) who can help cheer you on are also very helpful.
With God’s help and consistency, your desires can actually change. Your mind CAN be renewed. It is possible. Gradually your desires will shift and your focus will be readjusted.
Thank you for reading. Hope this helped.