“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17)
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)
Starting to get the idea yet, are you beginning to see who we are really at war with, at least who is at the forefront of every battle we enter into?
Why would devils attack someone when the battle is already in array? Your flesh is not your fingers and toes, it is not the skin upon the ligaments and muscles, it is your mind, it is the sinful nature that resides within every born-again believer, and do not let anyone tell you that there is going to be any reprieve from it in this life. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
I believe that the majority of those who claim Christ as Lord simply attempt to suppress that old man inside of them, they try to keep the sinful nature buried deep within them, for to allow him to surface, at least in their minds, would possibly begin a cycle of corruption, of unrighteousness that they would eventually fall prey to. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
Those temptations are the initializer, if you will, of our mind, our flesh, that desires that which is not pleasing in the sight of the Lord, and therefore by us suppressed, when instead they should be brought to the forefront of our thoughts, and then laid at the feet of Jesus Christ. He may or may not relieve you of them permanently, that is His decision, He may say to you, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) And then, as Paul and so many countless others have over the centuries have said, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
There is the pain of the flesh, those items and sensations that cause anguish of the body because the nerve endings are damaged, but here we speak of the mind, that which we are to keep under subjection, and I believe many who have been crucified with Christ would agree with me, the pain of the flesh can be tolerated to a degree, the one of the mind must be fought against. And as stated, you may be allowed to face that battle for the entirety of your life.
In fact, it is a guarantee, for until you are glorified, you will be in this battle.
The attacks of the enemy, as we may call it, may be altered, one sinful desire may be replaced with another, and here is of course where our adversary comes into play. This world is his for the moment, it is not necessary for him to notice you and set a specific trap just for you, every step you take on this planet affords the opportunity to fall into one of them. This is not to say that he does not notice those whom the Lord has chosen to use mightily for His glory, and I am quite sure that they receive “special” attention, if you will.
Think here on the children of Israel as they wandered through the wilderness for forty years, who did Satan pay the most attention to, Moses, Aaron and some who were seen as the leaders, or the nameless ones in the crowd?
The closer the Lord Jesus Christ draws a man to Himself, the more ferocious the battle becomes, yet the more strength we find in Him. And so those sinful desires may abate, or even be removed completely, but they may not, they may be brought to the forefront of our thoughts nearly continuously, and we must not attempt to suppress them, we must offer them up to the Lord, asking Him to bless us with His lite yoke, asking Him for the strength by the power of His Holy Spirit to continue in the battle.
We are at war, with the world and all of its evil devices and influences, with ourselves and that sinful nature that despises all that God is. The sooner you come to the truth of this realization, the sooner you will release all to Christ, and fight as one called by the Almighty for His glory.