For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to one another, so that you do not do what you want. Galatians 5:17
The yoke of the flesh is to live for myself. It is going in whatever direction gives me the most pleasure, attention, and exaltation. The sobering thing is that its choices can range from the worst debauchery to pursuing the pastorate. This is what makes it so insidious. Sins of the flesh can be obvious and they can also be hidden. Someone in ministry can be as driven to satisfy the flesh as the one engaged in blatant immorality.
If I turn 1 Corinthians 10:31 on its end, the yoke of the flesh is described perfectly. Whatever you do, do all to the glory of self.
I Corinthians 10:31, as it is written, describes the life of one who is yoked to Jesus. Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31 Life is lived according to what makes God look great.
To be driven by my flesh, in its most innocuous appearances, means that I believe that I have the talent and the skill set to make my life successful. To others, it might look like I’m succeeding. I make a good living, people like to follow my leadership, my ventures bring about good numbers, I advance in popularity, my talents dazzle those around me, and most importantly, my flesh is satisfied. Let all this be true in the confines of ministry and I can fool others and myself indefinitely. When my life here is over, I will stand before God and see my mountain of productions burn in the fire.
I can also be God’s child and sin blatantly, right in God’s face. I engage in the fleshly desires Jesus died to save me from. Put to death, therefore, the components of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5 One of John Piper’s famous series is one he preached out of Romans called, How To Kill Sin.
Here’s one of his comments:
“If we died to sin by being united with Jesus in his death, we can’t stay married to sin. The faith that unites us to Christ disunites from his competitors. The faith that makes peace with God makes war on our sin. If you are not at odds with sin, you are not at home with Jesus, not because being at odds with sin makes you at home with Jesus, but because being at home with Jesus makes you at odds with sin.”
How can I find freedom from the yoke of the flesh? I repent of self-exaltation, of wanting what I want whether it’s a license to sin or to create my own kingdom for self-glorification. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63
Give us victory, Jesus, for every way we are bound to our own desires. Purify us for your coming. Amen