In the previous article, believers are said to be a peculiar people on earth because we carry in us the dynamic working power of God. This divine power is an attribute of divine life that we received at conversion.
The Bible, in Ephesians 3:20, reveals the process by which God wants believers to overcome obstacles and challenges on this side of eternity (Earth) – by the power resident in us. “Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” The life of God planted in believers is indomitable to outside forces, situations or mountains.
Unfortunately, very few believers are living in the consciousness of this dynamic power of God, which is in them. Believers who are not conscious of this inward power often approach issues, challenges, obstacles, etc, with a beggarly mindset. This anomaly is caused by a faulty spiritual foundation often laid during the believers’ orientation program.
The prevalent work of the flesh (love of the world) often displayed unashamedly by believers is due to ignorance of God’s power in them. Arguments by some Christians against consecration and holiness upheld by spiritual believers who are seeking a deeper walk with the Lord are signs that believers are not aware of their need to keep the resident fire of God’s power burning.
Interestingly, liberal believers are quick to celebrate manifestations of divine power in the life of spiritually dedicated believers as though the power of God was an exclusive preserve of a select few. Every believer in Christ Jesus received at conversion the uncreated life of God with potentials for exploits.
The goal of this article is to highlight hindrances to spiritual growth and, by extension, the manifestation of divine power through believers.
Even though God’s dynamic power in believers can overcome any obstacle or challenge that may confront us on earth, the Scripture makes it clear that divine life can be hindered by the flesh.
Paul, in Galatians 5:17 writes, “for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” This Scripture tells us about a power tussle between the flesh and the Spirit of God in believers and as a result, the believer cannot live victorious as he or she is required of God.
More often than not, believers get confused and perplexed by lack of results despite their “strong faith” and “trust” in God to achieve certain things. In the minds of many, they are conditioned that answers to their prayers or desires would come from above.
If the comment above describes you, it is time you adjust your mind and starts living in the light that most answers or solutions to PERSONAL requests or difficulties will come first and foremost through the inward life. So, whenever you pray to God, you should set your mind inward to the Holy Spirit. God is closer to you than you think.
The flesh is counterproductive to faith in God. See what Romans 8:8 says, “So they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” In another portion of the Bible, it is written: “But without faith, it is impossible to please him…” Hebrews 11:6.
So in effect, there are two scriptural conditions to please God: The believer must have faith, and the believer must not be in the flesh.
In the article Fundamentals of Faith, it is explained that faith does not start with our desire, but with a word from God about the situation, desire, or request. The word we need to overcome obstacles or challenges bordering on health, finance, relationships, or ministry will not come from heaven. The source of that word (Holy Spirit) is resident in us believers.
From the foregoing it is clear that flesh is the only hindrance to the manifestation of God’s power in believers.
What is Flesh?
Scriptures give a lot of references to the word “flesh” but this article is not a theological treatise to discuss in detail the subject of flesh. The goal is to highlight hindrances to the flow and work of divine power in believers.
The Lord Jesus remarks in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” and in John 3:6, He says “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. …” to differentiate flesh from the Spirit.
Furthermore, Galatians 5:19-21 tells us about the works of the flesh. It in this light we want to discuss various aspects of flesh.
There are three dimensions to the flesh. Any of these dimensions can hinder the work and flow of divine power in believers.
Dimensions of Flesh
The first dimension of the flesh is known as sins. This aspect is easily recognized by us. Many believers who have a close walk with the Lord always become restless when sin is committed. Certain sins require temptations before they are committed such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc, while other sinful acts are committed effortlessly.
This aspect of the flesh is the most pleasurable to man. The bait used by this dimension of the flesh is a pleasurable experience and in some cases, the promise of pleasure. The effect of sin(s) is most devastating to believers’ spiritual life because, in exchange for pleasure, believers instantly experience a breakdown in fellowship with God. The inward man is dealt a great blow.
After every act of sin, many believers often become restless until they cry out for forgiveness. In some cases, some believers become despair of their sinful state and may fall into depression.
Despite a fatal blow that sins can deal to the spiritual life, it is unfortunate that the adversary has succeeded in creating many Christian movements to downplay the effect of sin. The mission of these movements is to highlight God’s love and the promise of eternal security to professors of faith in Christ.
This article is not written to debate the truth of God’s willingness to forgive and restore erring believers; the goal is to alert believers to untold damages that sins unleash on the inward man. People who live in sin(s) will have a hard time enjoying the power of God. Satanic power is within their reach, though.
“He who commits sin is of the devil…” 1 John 3:8.
The second dimension of the flesh is known as weights.
Weights are conducts that compel believers to act against their wishes. There is a love-hate relationship between believers and weights. Examples of weights are overeating (gluttony), talkativeness, masturbation, oversleeping, gossips, hatred, unforgiveness, or any other compulsive behavior.
Since the inception of Church, compulsive habits that dissipate spiritual life are the most debated subjects. The question often asked by believers is, “is it a sin?”
Weights are worse than outright sins because their effects are not easily felt or experienced in practical ways, so believers often allow this aspect of flesh to linger. Weights are the devil’s ropes tied around believers’ necks to hinder them from enjoying uninterrupted fellowship with God.
Weights are also the gateway used by evil spirits to strengthen their hold on targeted believers. Evil spirits are aware that the potency of believers’ prayer lies in the condition of their inward man; hence they employ several methods to keep believers bound to compulsive habits.
Different manipulations are carried out against believers in the dream state, which may eventually play out in the real world. Compulsive habits are not limited to physical conduct. Eating in dreams, sexual intercourse with known and unknown persons in the dream, and several other eerie experiences that believers have in their dream state are indication of a weak spiritual life. (Overcoming Masturbation, Spiritual Weaknesses & Demonic Strongholds)
The uninteresting truth about weight is that a lot of believers do not discuss their problems openly due to shame.
The third dimension to the flesh is leaven.
Leaven is a serious problem to believers and the Body of Christ at large. While outright sins often lead believers to repentance, confession, and forgiveness; and weights make us cry out to God for freedom (deliverance); leaven, on the other hand, makes believers live in delusion.
This aspect of the flesh is the reason we believers go through difficulties and problems beyond our explanation. These challenges and difficulties often arise in our dealings with other people, believers included.
Examples of leaven are anger, pride, self, wrong belief system, royalty complex, traditions of men, hypocrisy, show off, etc.
There is no forgiveness for leaven. God does not deal kindly with leaven in believers. His method of getting rid of leaven is to allow unpleasant situations to befall believers. The resultant effects of unpleasant situations are humility, gentleness, meekness, restraints (self control), etc.
The type of sin found in Satan was leaven (pride). This type of sin is not open to forgiveness.
All the aforementioned aspects of the flesh are hindrances to spiritual growth, the flow, and manifestation of divine power in believers.