Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:1-5)
Satan told Eve that she could be more like God if she just ate from the God told them not to eat from. He was appealing to her self-nature by implying that God had held something back from her. Eve lived in a perfect world and God had supplied all of her and Adam’s needs. God even walked with them every day, but Satan still found a weakness he could exploit. The world was perfect and there were no storms or natural disaster. Eve had been given no reason to believe that God had held anything back, but Satan’s suggestion planted a seed of doubt in her mind. The first temptation was based on Adam and Eve’s needs and Satan was able to use their self-nature against them. This resulted in the fall of mankind! Every one of us started out completely focused on self and it seems that many remain focused on self throughout their lives. It is our selfishness that keeps us focused in on what other people say about us and it is our self-nature that is so easily offended.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)
Paul tells us that we know a person who has given themselves to Christ by the fact that they have crucified their flesh. Let’s think about this for a moment. Jesus was alive when He went to the cross but only a corpse when His body was taken off. A person who has been crucified is dead. If we were to spit on a corpse will it jump us and come after us? No! It is dead and would not even be aware that we had spit on it! We could kick it, slap it, or even call the corpse names but it would not react because it is dead. People talk about us or they mistreat us, and we react because we have not crucified our flesh. Dying to self means that we have crucified our flesh by presenting ourselves as living sacrifices to be consumed by the presence of God.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The writer of Hebrews compares us as running a race with a great cloud of heavenly witnesses cheering us on. Runners are focused while running and do not take notice if someone calls them names or boos them if they want to win. They do not stop running to confront the people booing them from the stands if they want to win. This may sound like common sense so why do we stop running our races to confront people who talk about us or call us names? If we are going to discover and follow the plan of God for our lives, then we are going to crucify our flesh and stay on the path He set before us to run. This will require us to crucify our flesh!
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