“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:24-25
As Christians we are to strive to always walk in the spirit. However, to do this we must consciously crucify the flesh, but what does that mean really? Crucifixion was a term used to describe a method of putting something to death. The process was slow, persistent, and very painful to the body. In the Christian sense it was meant to cause us to see a parallel to the selflessness of Christ, who forsook His own will, desires, emotions, affections, comfort, and even His very life to honor and obey the will of God against the will of His own fleshes desire, and what should be our daily effort to do the same.
“And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup (the pain of crucifixion) from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” – Luke 22:41-42
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” -Luke 9:23
Again here we see this parallel of the cross, or crucifixion, being applied as a daily act of humble selfless sacrifice and obedience. A burden that can be difficult to bare at times? Yes. A painful process? Yes. One that takes endurance? Yes
“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;” – Hebrews 3:14
Yet when Christ chose to allow His flesh to be nailed to the cross in humble submission to God’s plan and will, God in turn raised His Spirit and exalted Him above all with power, dominion, authority, and might. By choosing to allow the flesh to be put to death against its own will and desire to do so, no matter how painful the process, the spirit comes alive and God’s favor and power (or grace) overtakes you.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” -Philippians 2:5-11
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of My this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:16-18
When we follow Christ’s lead and choose to crucify our flesh, it’s desires, lust, affections, and self will for the good of others, the saving of souls, and God’s will and plan for our lives above all, it won’t be easy, it won’t be pleasant, but it will be worth it. You see, the word translated to “crucify” in our opening text literally means “to impel on a cross” or “to subdue by staking down”. When we learn that we need to choose to put our foot down on sin, crucify the flesh no mater how unpleasant, and start the process of killing its control over us, we start walking in the Spirit and power of God, and the victory of His promises fulfilled. And when that flesh starts rising up again from the dead, put a stake in it! Kill it that your Spirit may live and God’s power may rule in your mortal body.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23