I dropped off my son, JT, at West Point this week. It was an emotional time. The thing that is helping me through is this concept: when we deny our flesh, our spirit is strengthened. I need to focus on the greater good that will come from JT going through this grueling time. John Bevere, a Protestant best-selling author and speaker, said, “You can’t cast out the flesh. You have to crucify it.” If I followed my motherly sentiments, I could try to prevent my children from experiencing pain, but eventually they would have to carry their cross. There is a reason the Catholic church has times of fasting. In their wisdom, they know the importance of the flesh being crucified in order for us to grow spiritually stronger.
If we deny our flesh long enough, eventually it will begin to wither and die so that it has no strength and power over us. (Colossians 3:5) Isn’t that the goal? To be Spirit-led people? I want to have the fruits of the Spirit in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. That will only come if I don’t indulge my fleshly desires, but rather choose the way of the cross.
Bevere got in prayer one day that the Holy Spirit promised to do a work of holiness in him. Here is a summary from one of his chapters:
I was thrilled and told my wife, “I’m so excited! God’s going to take me to new levels.” But everything got worse, not better. I got so frustrated. When God spoke this to me, trials began to intensify. The following six months felt like everything was going wrong. I was angry at everyone, frequently yelling at my wife and child. Finally, I turned to God and prayed, “I’ve never behaved like this in my life.” I inquired to know what I needed to bind or cast out. God simply responded, “You can’t bind flesh; you have to kill it.”
That was a light bulb moment. God then instructed me to consider my gold ring. He shared, “If you melt it down, the impurities that were hidden the whole time come to the surface and become visible.”
Refining brings to the surface what has always been visible to God yet concealed from us. We can take responsibility for this and get free or continue to blame everyone else and stay stuck in the process.
**John Bevere is founder of Messenger International. He has many fabulous books and audio courses that I’ve benefitted from. https://www.messengercourses.com/