“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”
with its passions
Paul describes “flesh” in terms of “passions and desires” seeking gratification independent from God. These are the byproducts of the flesh. Jesus gained the victory over passions and desires on the cross. A “passion” is an attitude with a propensity to violate the character of God.
“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death” (Romans 7:5).
Our position in Christ’s death provides for us the facility to conquer passions and desires. A “desire” is a craving or longing. It actively reaches out to find gratification.
The flesh always manifests itself first in attitudes then in action.
The moment we placed our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, a mighty transaction took place in the offices of heaven. God declared us as right as Jesus is right in His eyes the split second we were born again. Our life took on meaning, point and purpose. As far as God is concerned, everything that we were in our unregenerate state died at that moment. From that moment, we have new privileges and status with God.
Then we made an awful discovery – we still have the capacity to violate God. Our flesh cannot produce anything right in God’s eyes so God always bypasses it. God never attempts to refine our sin capacity. He never saves it. He never educates it. God always bypasses it for another option.
Some of us try to get ahead of others at their expense. That is an unholy passion or desire. If our desire is to be thought well of no matter the motive, then that is an evil ambition or craving.
The byproducts of the flesh are “passions and desires.” When envy, resentment and jealousy crop up, God’s place for them is the cross. That surge of temper and desire to thrust ourselves forward or to make ourselves seen and heard belong on the cross. These things do not come from God. They are unadulterated flesh.
People who walk in the Spirit want to please Jesus. They have no time for pettiness. They take no notice if people snub them. People can overlook them and set their advice aside but they still please the Lord, “I am going to be a blessing, not a cursing. I will not expect anything but I will give everything.” That is victory. This spirituality carries us beyond the petty, little things that sidetrack so many Christians.