When the flesh is weak we have two choices: Give it to God or give in to the devil.
Recently, I broke out in a persistent case of hives for the first time. I knew I was having an allergic reaction to an unknown allergen, but I wasn’t sure that my reaction were in fact hives.
I took over the counter medicine and used topical ointments, all to no avail. Nothing satisfied my tremendously itching skin.
But what I did realize was that steamy hot showers gave me an incredible amount of instantaneous relief. The hotter the shower, the better my hives felt in the moment–until I got out of the shower.
After I would come out of the shower, not only were my hives reddened and agitated, my healthy skin was also now irritated from the heat.
As I did my research on hives, and after a few consultations with doctors, the piece of advice that was consistent was: avoid hot showers at all costs. Oops. Cool compresses, and cool showers is ultimately what brings true relief for hives, even though it does not feel like it in the moment.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
The worst part? Even after I knew better. Even after I learned that hot showers and baths should have been avoided, still, I was tempted to take them anyway. Because they felt so good against my itchy body I gave into temptation religiously as I took steamy baths, simply because my flesh got weak.
I was convicted. God used that simple experience to speak to me about the sin in my life that rears its ugly head occasionally.
So many times, the temptation that seemingly satisfies my flesh, no matter how small I make it out to be and gratifying in the moment it is, actually harms me.
It is so hard to conceptualize the consequences of our sin in the moment – when the flesh is weak. But after the flesh is satisfied, we realize just how anemic our spirit is.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
The very things that produce righteousness in us, sometimes do not seem as though they are producing healing in the moment–but take heart, because they are. They are working for our ultimate good.
And just like with my itchy hives, when temptation to gratify our flesh, in the forms of over-eating, or staying angry, or giving in to sexual immorality or dishonesty–whatever your vice is, comes, may we remember that what appears to be pleasing in the moment, in reality may be causing us to back-track.
When the flesh is weak, let’s be encouraged to persist in practices and behaviors that strengthen our spirit and tame our flesh.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Your grace that covers me. Your love truly does cover a multitude of my sin. I don’t want to take advantage of Your graciousness.
When my flesh gets weak, You promise to be my faithful strength. Equip me to not give into temptation, as You strengthen my spirit.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.