24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
…for a lifetime.
Crucifying the flesh is a life-time process. Its a long obedience, not a switch, a pill, a trick, or a special kind of self-improvement knowledge.
The Spirit of God creates a new desire in us to be like Jesus and to live always in response to His love. Maturing in Christ, requires us to keep in step with the Spirit of God AND to crucify the flesh.
Paul does not mean for us to climb up on a cross. Instead we bring figuratively and in prayer our flesh, our old nature, with its own passions and desires to the Cross of Jesus. Paul says these are in conflict with what the Spirit of God desires in us.
The flesh will not be managed with new rules. It is in constant conflict with the Spirit of God. It must regularly be submitted to Christ Jesus our Lord.
The flesh must be mortified. The Spirit of God desires to create an environment in us suitable for the fruit of the Spirit and not the works of the flesh. Below are some of the conditions in which “the flesh” cannot thrive.
When we consider the Cross of Jesus and the love of God shown us as He paid the penalty of our sin and made forgiveness accessible to all.
When we delight in our identity as His, since now in Christ we belong to HIm.
When we call sin what it is, identifying attitudes and actions that “miss the mark” moving us away and independent of God.
When we confess our sin and repent of it, turning away and changing our mind about it.
When we starve our fleshy desires by refusing to feed thoughts, memories, habits contrary to the grace Jesus has shown us.
Early in our walk with Jesus and in different seasons of life this process may be a struggle. At other seasons it may come to us with ease. This is not a process attempted in our own worked up guilt, shame or fear; these do not produce the freedom God desires. Rather, crucifying the flesh is a faith response to Jesus’ grace and truth empowered by His Spirit.