There has always been a struggle between the spirit and the flesh. Well, there has always been that struggle for those who do something other than just let the flesh take control. In that case, there’s no struggle. Maybe a whimper of conscience now and then, some dying gasp of the spirit. For these, perhaps, there is still a notion of better choice from time to time, a barely perceptible twitch of the needle on the moral compass.
But for those who desire to walk on a higher plane, who know that there is a realm beyond this crumbling world, who believe that the things most real are the things unseen, there is that struggle. The things that please the flesh are not the things that please the spirit and the things that please the spirit are not the things that please the flesh.
Like most things given the discipline of exercise, the more often used, the stronger the spirit becomes. A continual pattern of deliberately following after the Spirit increases the hold of heaven on one’s life. The opposite is equally true for following after the flesh.
When this becomes most treacherous, most deceptive, and in some ways, most destructive, is when we try to follow the flesh in spiritual matters. When we devise or allow the contraptions of human in religion, we immediately and ultimately damn our religion. It becomes a means of power, of control, of ambition, of selfishness. It can then neither fulfill the intent of heaven or the desire of the soul because it has been subverted to fulfill the desires of the flesh.
When the moving of the Spirit becomes subject to ratification by our written rules or our unspoken codes, we cannot achieve spirituality. Not as individuals, nor congregations, denominations or other organizations. Either we suspend or re-write our personal and corporate mandates, or we quench the Spirit.