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The Flesh and the Cross

While talking with Israel the other day, the topic of desire came up. He has been wanting to play a video game that I have said “no” to, and like all boys, he insists that it would be a lot of fun and make him happy. This is probably true, but I wanted to teach him a principle to explain my reason more clearly. I wanted him to know that it wasn’t about me not wanting him to have fun or wanting to keep him from his friends; my reason was based on the rating of the game. Sure, the game would probably be a lot of fun, and all his friends are playing it, but the erosion of standards once lost is hard to build back, especially with children. I explained to him that what makes you happy is based on interest, and if he learns this now, it will save him down the road with more significant decisions. I explained that now he is fighting for a game that will fulfill his desire, but when he is older, his interest will change to girls, and what will he choose then? If he makes choices based on desire, when the interest changes, the desire stays the same.

We always desire to please our flesh; this only is removed once we hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” So, here we are, battling the desire to please our flesh and remaining faithful; the decision is up to us. Will we resist the desire, or will we choose the game? I explained I stay loyal to his mom because I love her and I decide what is right over the pleasure of only pleasing myself; I do not go to the bar and get drunk because I choose my family over my flesh, and I decide to restrict harmful video games because his future is my main concern and holding a Godly standard is my job as a father. This is true with everyone. We all have the desire, only different interests. Paul says we are to crucify our flesh daily, but this boils down to our choice. Jesus did not choose the cross from the place of desire but of love. I choose love.

Romans 8:12–15 (NASB95): 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—

13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Pastor Benaiah Snider


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