The Christian always lives in opposition to the influences of devil, world, and flesh.  We are tempted to underestimate our own flesh, that nature we’re born with which opposes God.    The fact that we must die demonstrates the severity of our flesh’s opposition.

Then comes the big surprise.   God has established a foothold by the Spirit of Christ right in the midst of our opposition. Christ calls that foothold faith.   Faith recognizes before God that the flesh works in our thoughts, words, and behavior to undermine our confidence in Christ.   We acknowledge that we neither love God with our whole heart nor our neighbors as ourselves, justly deserving God’s temporal and eternal punishment.  Our faith confesses this, not our flesh.   Every time faith confesses our unworthiness in the light of Christ’s love for us, the flesh dies a little.     

Faith knows it cannot convert our flesh from its adamant opposition to God.     Faith also knows it cannot destroy the flesh.  But, last and best of all, faith knows that by his dying and rising Christ has overcome that opposition, and that’s what matters!  

Of course, our flesh can roll over and play dead, appearing to give way to Christ by being religious, attending church services, becoming a church member, teaching right and wrong to one’s children and striving to be a good and upright person.   It looks like what every Christian strives for.   But the flesh insists on using these behaviors to justify oneself to God.  Because it measures how well one is doing before God, it’s the way of the LAW, the way of the flesh. 

On the other hand, living in the confidence that God accepts one for the sake of Christ, faith freely responds to the neighbor’s need with Christ’s love. 

We take seriously the opposition of our flesh to Christ.  But we take more seriously that Christ trumps all the opposition of our flesh and frees us to serve like him.  We may complain about the problems and messes in our lives due to the flesh, but with Christ we live nevertheless in hope!