Our Stand will get tested, and our flesh will become the greatest ‘enemy‘ we encounter. When something negative happens, our flesh will try to entertain certain lies: “You are better than this. You don’t deserve this. God doesn’t want you to suffer or to be treated like this,” so we can escape the pain and humiliation and stop subjecting ourselves to the never-ending battle.
Your flesh will do everything it can to create an escape plan and convince you to put yourself FIRST. It will cause you to take it personally, be on guard, defensive, to grab hold of the offense and not let go. It will pull in reinforcements to try and get you out of the will of God, contrary to the will of the Spirit. It will partner with selfishness, stubbornness, pride, self-pity, bitterness, and rebellion.
For the FLESH CRAVES what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit, what is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to each other so that you do not do what you want. Galatians 5:17 BSB
“Flesh” in this context means self-empowerment, independent from God, working against faith. (Strongs 4561) And “craves” means lust, sets the heart upon. (Strongs 1937)
Most of us have come into our Stand with this one thing in common: we have lived lives ruled by the flesh, never confronted with enough painful force to change. And that ALL changed when our one flesh stood against our union, and God asked us to humble ourselves, follow the spirit, deny and die to self.
Standing is the exact opposite of what our flesh wants, desires, needs, and directs us to do. This is a battle that will test even seasoned, lifelong Christians because nothing is more personal to a man or woman than when they get rejected by their one flesh spouse. NOTHING compares to this battle of being forsaken by a spouse. It’s natural when its a blood relative or child, BUT the one FLESH union is unique. Our lack of understanding of marriage, vows, covenant, and the way God created marriage produces this choice out of a world’s view, but did God design us to have an option to move on because we deserve or want something better? Let’s look at how that came about.
In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus said it was the HARD heart that caused men to desire the ability to put away and forsake their wives, and hand them a certificate of divorce without even needing to have a judge approve the dissolution of the marriage. And because God knew of man’s hard heart and rebellion, He allowed it, though it was never part of the original intent or design.
The flesh that talks a person into forsaking the Stander is the same flesh that will talk a Stander into abandoning the lost spouse. And the enemy doesn’t even have to do a thing. It’s ALL the carnality of man’s selfish, willful, prideful flesh.
But even knowing this, pride has a way of holding onto the personal offense and not letting go of the fact that they LEFT YOU and chose another. That sting is unbearable, and the more pride you have, the more of a fight with your flesh you will have. You may agree to stand, but on YOUR terms. Stand while never entirely forgiving. Stand while you go through the motions, but have no real care or desire to be restored. The miracle would be more for YOU to overcome your pride and hurt of being forsaken than for your spouse to want to come home.
Are you open to their wanting to reconnect, or are you resentful? Does it anger you when they finally start to take an interest in things that they forsook? Or if they are only willing to connect with certain things without really repenting for leaving you?
No one wants to hear “don’t take it personally,” or “it’s not about you,” because these two things are a bit misleading. You are responsible for the crucifixion of your flesh. That part is very much about you.
They left because of reasons that were not as much about you as you believe. And as much as you want them to know how much they damaged and hurt you, how much you have suffered at their hands, they just can’t hear this. They can’t hear how “it’s all about you.” I hated when I would pour my heart out to my spouse about how his choices were totally killing me, and he would say, “This is not about you, you are selfish.” What???
But it was true. My husband was in the biggest fight for his life. Beyond my pain and suffering, he was being hunted and pursued and overtaken by evil, and his flesh was agreeing even though his spirit was fighting. He was in constant turmoil, even though he seemed to be in perfect peace with his decisions. He seemed happy most of the time, which really sent my flesh into an uproar. My flesh wanted him just as miserable as I was. I didn’t see or understand any of his spiritual battles. I only saw a very selfish person having the time of their life while not caring about how much he was hurting his family or me. How could he not care that he was destroying our whole family? That is the danger of taking it personally. It blinds us; limits us. It deceives us into seeing only what we see with our eyes and prevents us from the truth. This is a battle for the soul!
Your flesh wants you to put YOU first: your pain, your escape, your empowerment, your protection, and your well being. It wants you to forget your spouse as being anything but purposely trying to hurt you, and it wants you to build up your pride so you won’t have to see them with compassion.
The number one reason I see Standers quit is that their flesh won, convincing them that God wanted them happy above all else and that He never wanted them to stand. Every day is a battle of the flesh. Dying to what we believe we deserve, what we want, or what we think we need.
Standing is about being transformed into the image of Christ and crucifying the flesh, so it no longer leads you, but through your spirit, you lead it!
Then Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 9:23
5 Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God.
9You, however, are controlled not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you. Romans 8:5-11
Read Galatians 5:16-25 for further study.
Standing with you,