Spirit Or Flesh?

Updated: Oct 18


As we go on our journey with Christ, we are called to not only know Him but represent Him on the earth. In Ephesians, we read:-


 Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as his beloved sons and daughters. 2 And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration—a sweet healing fragrance. Ephesians 5:1-2


Our journey then is one where we are surrendered to the "extravagant" love of Christ. As we live in relationship with Him and learn to walk in His love, we do what He has called us to do. This is to surrender our life as a sacrifice to Him. This sacrifice is both the death of our flesh and learning to walk in the Spirit. Another way of looking at it is saying our Spirit si in control of our flesh or soul. In Colossians 1:13 (He has rescued us completely from the tyrannical rule of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom realm of his beloved Son.) we find the central missions of Jesus. This is to rescue us from the rule of darkness, or the flesh, and to convey, translate or move us in a position where we are living in total submission to Jesus, the king of the Kingdom of God. As a result, we become citizens of this new kingdom. Our journey, therefore, is moving from living to please or satisfy our flesh to be motivated and led totally by His Spirit.


One of the most powerful chapters of the Bible is Romans 8. The chapter explains how we live in the power of the Holy Spirit. There are a number of key things that we can learn in this chapter:-


Life and Death


5 Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities.6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set controlled by the Spirit finds life and peace. Ephesians 8:5-6


1.Living in the flesh leads to a selfish life - When we live in the flesh, we are only motivated by things that we personally benefit from. This ultimately brings death.


2. Living in the Spirit leads to Spiritual realities becoming our goals - As we live in the Spirit we have a mindset controlled by the Spirit that brings life and peace. Our focus becomes what God wants and our spirit overrules our flesh to determine how we are going to live.


Pleasing God and Being Of God


7 In fact, the mind-set focused on the flesh fights God’s plan and refuses to submit to his direction, because it cannot! 8 For no matter how hard they try, God finds no pleasure with those who are controlled by the flesh. 9 But when the Spirit of Christ empowers your life, you are not dominated by the flesh but by the Spirit. And if you are not joined to the Spirit of the Anointed One, you are not of him. Romans 8:7-9


1, Our flesh actually fights God's plans - When we live a life where our flesh rules, we find that we cannot enact or live in God's plan for His world, for His body and even us.


2. God finds no pleasure in those living in the flesh - This is quite a big statement. As we are living controlled by our flesh we are in rebellion to God and He finds no pleasure in us.


3. Living by the flesh means we are not of God - If we do not allow God's Spirit to empower us and allow our flesh to rule, then we are not joined to him and therefore we are not of Him. This is very clear and a real warning.


4. When the Spirit empowers us, we have control over our flesh - Our lives, when living in the Spirit, are characterised by the flesh being controlled by our spirit. Addictions, dependencies on others, hate, fear and so on are no longer evident and behind how we think and how we act.


We Are No Longer Controlled By The Flesh


12 So then, beloved ones, the flesh has no claims on us at all, and we have no further obligation to live in obedience to it. 13 For when you live controlled by the flesh, you are about to die. But if the life of the Spirit puts to death the corrupt ways of the flesh, we then taste his abundant life. Romans 8:12-13 TPT


  1. Stop obeying your flesh - As we walk with God, we no longer pander to our flesh and obey it. If we do not bring our flesh into submission this leads to death.

  2. Spiritual living brings abundant life - God's Spirit causes the corruption of the flesh to be destroyed bringing abundant life.

How Mature Christians Walk


14 The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 TPT


Very simply, if we are mature in our walk with God, we are spiritually aware. This comes through having put to death our flesh and living a life where we hear, obey and walk in what the Spirit calls us to do.


Rewards of Living In The Spirit


16 For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”

17 And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has. We will experience being co-glorified with him provided that we accept his sufferings as our own. Romans 8:16-17 TPT


  1. We can call God, Father - Living through the spirit allows us to hear God whispering to us and speaking to us as a father to a child. He tells us what he thinks of us. We are His children and we are greatly loved!

  2. We have an amazing inheritance - as we are His true children when we walk in the Spirit, we inherit all Christ has.

  3. If we suffer with Christ we will receive glory - as God's children, we follow Christ and must suffer before we are glorified.

Christians Demonstrate Their Faith Through Their Actions


6 Don’t be fooled by those who speak their empty words and deceptive teachings telling you otherwise. This is what brings God’s anger upon the rebellious! 7 Don’t listen to them or live like them at all. 8 Once your life was full of sin’s darkness, but now you have the very light of our Lord shining through you because of your union with him. Your mission is to live as children flooded with his revelation-light! 9 And the supernatural fruits of his light[c] will be seen in you—goodness, righteousness, and truth. 10 Then you will learn to choose what is beautiful to our Lord. Ephesians 5:6-10


  1. Be careful of those who do not demonstrate what they teach - If we know what God's Word says and we do not obey it then we are rebellious. Have nothing to do with them.

  2. Our Mission - Live out what He has called us to do .

  3. The Result - We will be good, righteous and always tell the truth. Living out the Word means we are people that please the Lord.



God is calling us to stop trying to please God but live lives where our flesh is in charge. This higher calling actually involves dying to our flesh and learning to walk in a way that represents our Father. Living in the Spirit brings life while living in the flesh brings death. Living in the Spirit pleases God and actually means we are joined with God, live out for God's plans and are empowered to control our flesh. Mature Christians are spiritually aware and hear and obey God. The rewards of doing this are incomprehensible. We can then call God our Father, our inheritance is all the Father has and through our suffering, like Christ, we actually become glorified. As we live in the Spirit we avoid those who do not live what they teach and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. By doing this, God will be pleased. For me, I want to please my Heavenly Father!


Further Reading:

  1. Put Your Spirit In Charge - https://events.rhema.org/put-spirit-charge/

  2. Man's Body and Soul (And Spirit) - https://www.biblesprout.com/articles/bible/creation/soul-vs-spirit/

  3. What is the difference between the soul and spirit of man? https://www.gotquestions.org/soul-spirit.html

  4. Difference Between Soul and Spirit - Bible Verses. https://www.openbible.info/topics/difference_between_soul_and_spirit

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He has rescued us completely from the tyrannical rule of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom realm of his beloved Son. Colossians 1:13. (TPT)

©2018 by Timothy Peden.