I have decided to make my flesh my slave. Paul spoke of making his body his slave, of “buffeting his body”. Having talked recently about discipline, and why it is necessary for me to engage myself in it, I felt it was also necessary to begin this journey of killing my flesh’ ability to enslave me.
There are so many things we become enslaved by, not all of them “physical” things. But make no mistake about this, the flesh, and for that matter, the mind, will either be controlled, or these things will control us. From here on in this post, when I speak of the flesh, I am also speaking of the mind and human will as well. It’s simpler to label it all flesh, since that is what it is.
There might be some trepidation over this if I did not know what freedom I have. Well, fear not, I am not engaging in discipline to earn God’s favor. I am not engaging in the Atkin’s diet (I did it two years ago and lost twenty-five pounds) to look better. I am not engaging in a scheduled reading time, or scheduling my writing because I can please God by doing any of this. I am not scheduling forty minutes nightly to learn Greek in order to become more "sin-free".
Rather, I am doing these things because I can. I am making my flesh my slave because I no longer desire to go where my flesh would pull me. I no longer am willing to allow my mind to run wherever it wills. I am free, and because I am, I will enslave my body to do my bidding.
So, will any of this earn me any merit with God? No, absolutely, it will not. It’s not even about God, as far as I can tell, although the knowledge that I am both free, and able to do this comes from Him. And a part of me, I am sure, will extend my heart toward Him all the more in thankfulness for showing me how to be free of my flesh.
But in the end, the things I do to enslave my flesh will not be about goodness, or salvation. They will be about freedom. I was given freedom five years ago. I think it’s time to live as though I was, and since this is my flesh, I will be master of it, not mastered by it.
My legalism was already crucified, but this, this discipline which I embark on, will not be crucified. It is not legalism, it is simply me buffeting my flesh, to make it my slave.
I do not think this is going to be easy. Then again, Jesus never said life and freedom would be easy. He said we could come to Him and find rest. There is no rest so long as we act like we are slaves to our flesh. There is only guilt that has no business being in a follower of Christ’s life.