For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, Romans 8:13 (NIV)
It is encouraging to me when a counselee tells me they are struggling with the flesh. It is a primary indication that she is truly regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Those who are not regenerated will have no fight within them for righteousness and purity of heart.
Christians are called to a life of self-denial. We are constantly presented with choices to fulfill our fleshly desires or to deny our fleshly desires. In the Greek, “to deny” means, “to refuse to associate with.”
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, Titus 2:11-12 (NASB)
We are to refuse to associate with ungodliness and worldly desires any longer. My goal is to help her to see that she must refuse to associate with her old self anymore. She is to turn her back on who she once was (and still is in the flesh) and put it to death by the grace of God and the intention of her will through the power of the Holy Spirit.
From the Scriptures we know that God is holy and that we are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). This demands a total life transformation in the life of a Believer in Christ because when we came to Christ we were anything but holy and all of our lives reflected that in one way or another. Our flesh ruled us and what we thought about, what we believed, what we desired and how we acted out all of those things was evidence of that fact.
This is why it is so critical to put to death those fleshly deeds done in the body, and why the death must begin by the transforming of the mind.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)
The body is to be a living, breathing representation of the grace of God displayed in our redemption. Our fleshly tent is to reveal on the outside what has taken place on the inside. We are to consider ourselves as subjects of the King to be used in whatever way He decides. For this to be possible, we must be living daily what we possess eternally. Not out of fear or terror of judgment or punishment, but instead as the Scripture says, we are to put to death the deeds of the flesh as our spiritual service of worship! Have you ever considered the death of the flesh, the intention to stop indulging your sinful self, as an act of worship?
I am amazed at how many people look upon secession of sin as some horrible punishment, rather than looking at it as a merciful blessing. The ability to stop indulging the flesh is a wonderful thing available only to those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit for only we have the power of God within us.