By Clayton Adams The old movies, It's A Wonderful Life and Meet John Doe are two of my favorite. Both movies are about men who (in different ways) come to realize how their lives impacted the lives of others. The new movie Darkest Hour, about Winston Churchill at the beginning of World War II is similar to the others and to me is a new classic.
In each movie, a man faces new opportunities and struggles to live and work through. Is this not our struggle too? Do we not struggle with the same issues of life, death, work, pleasure, family, relationships, money, position, power, war, unfulfilled dreams, new and dangerous circumstances, disappointments and hardships presented? In the midst of all these challenges we discover we are imperfect people having to make perfect decisions.
Throughout human history; from one generation to another we keep relearning important lessons and many times we forget the lessons learned in previous generations. With all the human knowledge gained, we sink deeper into depravity and certainly our culture sinks deeper into ruin. Human knowledge and wisdom are not our saviors. (Multiple generations in the book of Judges prove this truth) Failure is one of the many things each person struggles with. Failure to achieve a goal or dream can catapult one to become smarter, better, faster, stronger even wiser. Failure can also move one to despair and depression, (Elijah is one example in 1 Kings 19). I am working through a few failures in my life and realizing some of my dreams will never be reality because I failed to prepare and be ready when an opportunity came my way. Too, not rising above foolish and misleading human emotions minimize my impact on others. Perhaps you are working through your failures as well.
Failures and struggles are part of the DNA of the human nature. It is what we do with our failures and struggles that molds and shapes us. Allowing the Bible to mold us and shape us and teach us how to deal with our failures, we read; “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:16-25) Without Christ in my life I participate in the “deeds of the flesh”; with Christ in my life I produce the “fruit of the Spirit.” And so this is the fight of faith, or as I think of it, the F & F (Faith & Flesh) fight. This fight is between my flesh, my selfish desires and my desires to be more like Christ. Boy, what a fight it is!
This fight between Faith & Flesh impacts others even though I may not know to what depth or degree. My faith and failures impacts others. There are no secret sins we “get away” with, someone always pays a price for my sin. Someone always pays for your sin too. Your faith and your failures impact others too always.
In Paul Simon's hit song, The Boxer the last verse states; “In the clearing stands a boxer And a fighter by his trade And he carries the reminders Of ev'ry glove that laid him down Or cut him till he cried out In his anger and his shame, “I am leaving, I am leaving” but the fighter still remains…” That fighting human spirit needs to be tamed, formed, molded and channeled to focus on the divine qualities of love, grace, mercy, kindness, compassion, sacrifice and forgiveness. If that human spirit is not tamed, we will pay the price in eternity.
How is the Faith and Flesh fight going in your life?
Clayton Adams is pastor at Earle First Assembly of God. You can e- mail him at cpalaa@ yahoo. com, or find Earle First Assembly on Facebook.
‘AWord from the Pastor’