Someone referred me to a passage of Scripture recently, that speaks to the heart and heart focus. The passage says those who live by the flesh focus their hearts on the things of the flesh, and those who live by the Spirit focus their hearts on the things of the Spirit. The flesh brings death, and the Spirit brings life.
Normally, when I had considered this passage in the past, I thought that someone focused his heart on the flesh in order to gratify it. But what about focusing our hearts on the flesh so we can tame it?
That is what a lot of us do. Focus our hearts on avoiding sin, resisting temptation, presenting a positive image of God, and living victoriously. But are we still focusing our hearts on the flesh? Is this what “walking in our own strength” really means?
If our hearts are focused on “doing stuff”, then we are not abiding. Our hearts are not focused on Jesus, the Father and the Spirit. We are not drawing on his grace, we are drawing on our strength. And our strength is based on the flesh, a person’s nature that is not controlled by Christ, or, or one person defines it, “the techniques we use to try and meet our needs, independent of Jesus Christ.”
Focusing our hearts on “doing stuff” – whether it is being victorious, living in abundance, or being fruitful – we will never succeed in the long run. We may succeed in the short term, but we will eventually fail. Then, we may find ourselves in the yo-yo existence of: fail, repent, resolve to try harder, succeed for a while, and fail again.
We are never going to be 100% perfect in this life. But Jesus died, and sent his Spirit into our hearts to create us new – to re-program our spiritual DNA – so we live new. The re-programming is already done. The goal now is to practice what God has put into existence.