What’s the difference between living in the flesh and living in spirit?

This is one of those concepts we hear discussed at church services from time to time and references are often made about the evil needs of the flesh, but few people understand what it really means.

We are a body made up of bone, organs, tissues and a brain. That is the flesh. We also have a soul, a spirit residing inside our flesh.

As we grow we only know the needs of the flesh — hunger, cold, pain and need for sleep. Babies begin their journey in life responding to these needs to survive.

As we age and begin to develop intellectually we begin to realize we have an innate desire to become important to those around us. To achieve and become significant in this world is — whether we know it or not — a spiritual force in all of our lives.

Here is where it gets tricky; we live in a physical world where certain things are valued over others. Human beings are in control of running and creating the tangible things in the world… beyond what was already created when we arrived.

Rhonda Sexton

We are taught by our fleshly influences from birth to value comfort, instant gratification and we learn to focus on what we feel both in our physical body and our mental emotions. Power, wealth, beauty, perfection and the acquiring of material possessions become our goals.

There is also a spiritual realm on earth which is controlled by the creator of the universe. However, this spirit world is not visible and by no means necessary to survival. It can only be acquired by asking for it. It often takes on the opposite approach than the physical world and goes against our personal comfort.

The spiritual world teaches that we are to put aside our ego, to go through life not seeking the world’s spotlight but to always be in service of others. Many times requesting we meet another’s needs before our own.

Spirit teaches that we must not push for what we want, but to ask God to send to us what we need. Spirit doesn’t care how we feel physically because our flesh body is secondary to Spirit, under the command of the spirit.

Sickness and pain will flee at the command of spirit. Spirit doesn’t care about our feelings. Emotions are controlled and under the command of the spirit, we have the power to press on in spite of how we feel and the spirit will remove those negative emotions if we prove ourselves willing.

There is only so much that we can achieve when controlled by flesh. It is only the power of me, myself and I. While many people are very talented and can find themselves in positions of leadership, wealth or success by self-effort… eventually it comes up empty. We find ourselves asking the age-old question, “Is this as good as it gets?”

That’s why as a society we seem to be wanting for more. Working through the flesh does not produce lasting happiness and joy.

Romans 8:4 says, “God used Christ to allow humans the ability to obey the spirit instead of fleshly desires.” Verse 6 goes on to promise, “If our minds are ruled by the spirit we will have abundant life and peace.”

I hope this makes the difference more clear to you; to me this realization was a life changer.

I was brought into church at a young age and have been a born again believer for most of my life. I never heard this taught in a way that got through to my heart.

When I really understood the difference of flesh and spirit, I finally knew what to begin asking God. I began to see why I was unfulfilled and it all started to make sense.

The blessings started showing up from the Creator of the universe instead of from the power of me, and I’m here to tell you His blessings are so much better, beyond compare.

I hope you are moved to ask God to begin making the same shift from flesh to spirit in your life.

It won’t be easy and may take some time, but if your want to experience life as it was intended, by God you will never be sorry.

(Rhonda is a staff writer for The News-Dispatch. She can be reached at rhonda@sextonmediagroup.com or 451-3798.)


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