Part of the growth of Spiritual discernment within us is when we recognize we no longer have the desire to perform the deeds from our past that we now see as dishonoring to the Lord. Another sign within us would be disgust at the part of us that recalls them with desire.
This may seem oxymoronic to some, but it is summed up in the truth of Romans 7:25, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
The service of our flesh to sin does not necessarily necessitate an action, for Matthew 5:28 also stands as a truth, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
The reaction of our mind that serves Christ to the sinful desires of the flesh is, when those desires are seen as just that, detestable, a sign of Spiritual maturity. When the mind can control the flesh, we can say with the Holy Spirit as He spoke through Paul, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1st Cor. 9:27)
This is a point, in its own right, that we all should be attempting to reach and maintain, it reveals to us both of our natures, the sinful one, the old nature, and the mind of Christ within us, that transformation. There is no fulfillment though, no maturation of one over the other, not in this life, for another truth is revealed to us in the Scriptures, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1st John 1:8)
You have read this from me many times as of late, for I have been led to see how important it is, we are at war, and the enemy is ourselves.
Satan tempts the flesh, he can do little to the mind outside of doubt, the mind that serves Christ cares little for the things of this world, it holds no appeal to us, it draws no desire from us, but our flesh can be easily swayed.
Imagine a ravenous beast in a cage that you have the only key for, one that would never attack you, but if let loose, all it did would be blamed on you. The flesh does not care if the Lord Jesus Christ is dishonored, and so it will lie to you and say that no one will find out. It will not come out into the light, but it will do all it can to draw you into the darkness and will revel in joy as you fall. “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numb. 32:23)
That which we once were we still are, what one must contemplate is this question, who is keeping your flesh at bay, you or the Holy Spirit?
There are people today, good people, that were once quite evil. The world says they are done sowing their wild oats, that they have turned over a new leaf, that they have seen the error of their ways and turned from their evil deeds.
We say Christ has saved us. We say that sin no longer has power over us, that we are a new creation, not a modified person, but an entirely new creation in Christ.
A sign of Spiritual maturity in this area is the unmitigated knowledge of the truth of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” When we lose our patience, when we are dead tired, when nothing is going as planned and the frustrations in our lives reaches critical mass, the flesh has power. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1st John 4:4)
Be aware of those moments, use great caution when your mind begins to wander. “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)
The mind that serves Christ must be willing to submit to the will of God by the power of the Holy Spirit if the flesh is to be denied, and controlled, you cannot do it alone.
Stand in this battle, let Christ be victorious in your life.