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   The Flesh - Win the Battle for Your Mind

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The Battle for Your Mind is Fought on the Battlefield of Faith
Discover New Spiritual Warfare

The Natural Man

Lesson 2 of 12

To win the battle of the mind it will be important to understand that the flesh is also regarded as the natural man, the carnal mind, the old man, and the brute beast. The natural man wants to shed his carnality; to put it off, to completely remove it from him, but he cannot cast off the carnal mind. There is a due process that must be observed for the old man to die and the new man in Christ to emerge.
 
To help the natural man cast off the carnal mind we need to first define the flesh that the mind is captive to.
 
The natural man
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” 1 Corinthians 2:14.
 
The carnal mind
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Romans 8:4.
 
The old man
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” Ephesians 4:22.
 
The brute beast
“But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves,” Jude 1:10.
 
The flesh is enmity (abomination) with God because it follows the course of this world.
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” Ephesians 2:2.
 
It is this natural man that we are called upon to die to: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:6)
 
To put to death the old man means to cease taking confidence in the natural man to give life to the soul, to cease defining life by the appetite of the natural man, and to cease pursuing our peace and security by the natural man.
 
The natural man has a carnal mind. The carnal mind is the habit of man’s thinking, how his perception was shaped by false knowledge, upon which he places his confidence. The carnal mind pursues his peace and security by projecting with the imagination solutions and outcomes that sooth his chaffed imagination. The carnal mind is angry that his imagination is not chosen by God for honor. The carnal mind is angry that God did not choose his logic for faith.
 
The natural man is called the “old” man because the Adamic nature identifies us with the fallen condition we inherited by our first birth into this world. The old man continues to rule over a Christian when they are weak in the knowledge of covenant faith, but the old man passes away when a Christian becomes strong in covenant faith.
 
The brute beast is God’s way of describing man when he lives by instinct rather than faith. The instinct of man has to do with his natural response to the senses of his flesh. God, however, makes a distinction between man and beast. Beasts live by instinct, but man is to live by God’s word and walk uprightly with his Maker.
 
To Win the Battle of the Mind we Must Put to Death the Old Man
 
The Bible says that to win the battle of the mind we must put to death the old man. Putting to death the old man makes us a “man slayer”. The revenger of blood (the devil) is angry and will pursue us to take vengeance, but we are commanded of God to flee to the city of refuge (the covenant) where the High Priest (Jesus Christ) will give us safe haven. This is what the Lord teaches us from Numbers chapter 35.
 
Wait a minute—Let’s back up for a second. Let’s look a little deeper at why God says there is a need to put the natural man to death. The natural man desires the Exodus victories. Moses provided a lot of eye candy victories for the people. The heathen heard about everything God did for the Hebrews slaves, from the plagues of Egypt, to the parting of the Red Sea, to the destruction of Pharaoh’s armies in the sea.
 
In contrast, this Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified on a cross, seems weak and despised. When hearing this gospel the Gentiles were looking for the eye candy. The Gentiles would look at the Jewish nation still in servitude to the Romans and the lowly estate of the apostles and asked, “Why aren’t you reigning as a king? You offer to us a begging Messiah in your lifestyle. Why isn’t your king ruling and conquering your enemies as Alexander the Great?”
 
Christians began to fret against this contradiction. Paul, when writing 2 Corinthians 10:5 is wrestling with the image that Satan put in the minds of believers. Paul would draw upon the examples of the Bible: Samson’s strength, David’s love for God, Ruth’s faithfulness, Solomon’s prayer…And Christians would say, “Yes! That is the kind of God we want. A God that will do all these things for us!”
 
Get Your Mind Off the History
 
Paul would have to wrestle with their imagination: Get your mind off the history. The history is true, but your application of it is in error. You are using the history to create a boast for your faith, not as a building tool. Do you see what the natural man does with his imagination? And so Paul wrote, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
 
So Paul sets in order the paradox Satan built of Christ. Satan uses Moses to shame the gospel of Christ. How cleaver Satan is to remove the record of our enduring faith to a glorious conquering hero.
 
The Gentiles were taught to flow with the boast of their imagination, to work with the boast of the heroes of their mind to achieve their aspirations. The natural man, as a brute beast, follows the instincts of the imagination. He built a fortification in his imagination about his honor and his imagination is dictating to him…this is honorable! The natural man seeks to live out this mindset.
 
The true gospel of Jesus Christ puts us in a state of impoverishing the aspiration. The carnal mind must die, the natural man must die for us to live unto Christ.
When you come into covenant with God by Jesus Christ these self exalted feelings are being challenged and a person can almost feel in shock. We can see how the gospel of Jesus Christ is the proving of the will. It preaches to us the struggle (wrestling) with (to put to death) the imagination and the overcoming (walking out the new man in Christ).
 
Philosophical Jerichos
 
When Paul, speaking by the Spirit of the Lord, said that we are to cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the Lord, he was speaking of the philosophical Jerichos in the mind.  Just as the fallen Watches (angels) built Jericho to make man an abomination to God to provoke God to wrath, so also Satan builds many philosophies in the mind to fortify the soul against the true work of God’s grace, knowing that this will incur God’s wrath.
 
Satan’s knowledge is a token that he gave us to build the walls of pride after the philosophy of his kingdom. The token works with the imagination to neutralize our faith.
 
But now Christ has given us an ark (covenant) by which we find victory in faith, which is His new knowledge. We are to cast down the philosophical Jerichos that the soul can progress. And so, just as Jericho was fortified by a wall that was removed by angels, so does our faith remove the bricks of Satan’s philosophy one stone at a time.  
 
The Weapons of Our Warfare are not Carnal
 
2 Corinthians 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” The weapons of our warfare are the tokens of our priesthood. They are not carnal (not of the passion), but mighty (forceful, powerful), greater in force by the power of charity that proceeds from our lips as we serve God at the altar.
 
Why Are So Many Overcome with the Struggle?

If there remains to be such an importance about understanding the contrast between the Spirit and the flesh and the need for the natural man to die, why then, do we see the lack of this understanding manifest in most Christians today? If they say they walk by faith, why are they not an overcomer? Why do many people struggle with being overcome by self, Satan and the world? Why do they still struggle with condemnation? That is a different kind of struggle isn’t it? This is the struggle the soul faces because it is continually overcome of Satan.

We say that there is a lack of this understanding in the church today because we can see the evidence of this made manifest through the very testimonies of many Christians. Their lack of hope, their lack of confidence, and how their perspective is ruled by lack and loss. They are in constant struggle trying to find out what the will of God is, what direction the Spirit is taking, what movement are we in this season, or they simply struggle with the question why can’t I hear His voice. Why if I read my bible, pray and go to church does the Lord seem to not hear me?

We see the evidence of Christians walking after the flesh and not after the Spirit by the fruits that they manifest. By these testimonies we can identify the lack of a confident relationship with God.

We see it in the emergence of Christian psychology Gospel where Jesus is made the psychiatrists of all their hurts, misunderstandings, and abuses. We see it in the language that came from this movement, how that the work of Christ is set aside for cute clichés:

•    It is absolutely impossible to worry and live in peace at the same time.
•    I'm not where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be.
•    You can't see yourself "in yourself," you have to learn to see yourself in Christ.
•    Don’t mourn over your bad decisions just start overcoming them with good ones.
•    Real confidence is faith activated; it is faith taking a step against fear.
•    Worry is like a rocking chair. It is always in motion, but not going anywhere.
•    Growth requires facing where you’re at so you can go to the next level.
•    We never really know ourselves until we see how behave under pressure.
•    Learn the secret to casting out demons and defeating the devil.
•    Are you ready to leave your past behind and move into God's beyond?

I am reminded of what the Lord said through Jeremiah, “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14)

The Flesh Lusts Against the Spirit

Apostle Paul brings this out in Galatians 5:16-17, “This I say  then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” Apostle Paul goes on further to describe the contrast between the fruits of the Spirit and those of the flesh.

And in the book of Mathew 7:5 Jesus confirms this, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Now one of the first warning signs that we see in Christians and even in other religions is the fact that there is division and strife. There is an outward tolerance of one another, but no real unity. Agreeing to disagree is not unity!

Ephesians 4:1-6

1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5.  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

God instructs us to be of one mind and of one accord. He did not instruct us to each go his own way. He certainly did not give the commandment to scatter the Body of Christ into thousands of denominations.

Deuteronomy 4:23-24,  “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”

Romans 1:21-23, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools;
And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.”

These scriptures testify of the result of man denying stewardship. This is the evidence of the absence of the knowledge of the covenant, the knowledge that teaches man to be upright before God; the result of man walking after the flesh, walking after his carnal nature.

So, in other words we cannot mix the flesh with faith, for walking by faith requires walking after the Spirit and denying the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  

1 John 2:16-17, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.

Without faith it is impossible to please God, tells us that nothing of the flesh can bring us into agreement with God, which is why we need the covenant. The terms of our agreement with God were given to us when Jesus said that the true worshippers would worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

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