Feeding the Flesh

“A companion of gluttons shames his father”Prov 28:7

The struggle between flesh and Spirit is becoming more clear to me. They are diametrically opposed. Flesh leads to death; Spirit leads to life and peace (Rom 8:5-8). But unlike the Buddhist philosophy, flesh does not refer to all that is physical from which one must strive to be detached. Flesh is the sinful nature, the tendency to make oneself god and his or her pleasure the ultimate end of all. I’m afraid that I still subtly serve my flesh.

As in this proverb, it can be as natural as eating, but it becomes gluttony. This is a perfect example of the distinction that must be made between flesh and the physical. There is nothing wrong with eating (physical), but we can make it an end and enjoyment above God (flesh). There is nothing wrong with the enjoying the pleasure of eating either. And while it seems ridiculous that a person could place it above God, it is quite possible. It is not a conscious choice of worship. It is the longing and drive of the heart. Anything that we live for that is not God is idolatry.

My own concern is not that something like eating motivates my life. My concern, though, is in exercising a certain level of carelessness in eating, such as eating too much of anything and especially that which is not good for me. Not only does this carelessness have definite physical consequences, but it also feeds my flesh. When we take the good things that God gives us and use them outside of the purpose and limits for which he has given them to us, then we are serving the flesh.