You Can’t Cast Out The Flesh

“You Can’t Just Cast Out The Flesh” as tempting an idea it may be at times.

In the ministry of Jesus, often times, He cast out demons from people and it set them free from the control and side effects of those unclean spirits. Being set free of unclean spirits brought to some, good health and healing instantly. The minds of some were sent in proper order so that they stopped physically hurting themselves once the fowl spirits were expelled from their human body.

Today, someone may even have an unclean spirit affecting them in sinful desires or habits they know is wrong and know is separating them from God but they “kinda like that little slip every once in awhile.” They don’t protest it too much or seriously desire deliverance from it because their flesh does find it enjoyable and satisfying. Derek Prince once said, “Deliverance from unclean spirits is to set you free from your enemies, NOT your friends. Don’t bother asking God to set you free from a spirit you are enjoying having around every now and then. When you are serious about this come back and talk to me.”

We can’t assume or lazily determine that all of our woes are the cause of the works of the enemy or of any of his minions. In the 70’s a popular comedian, “Flip Wilson” had a saying that went “viral” before going viral was discovered, “The devil made me do it.” If the truth be told, we more often bare most of the responsibility for “the conditions and situations” we are dealing with.

While the “microwave thinking” approach, “just cast out that demon” to instantly get rid of our faults, failures and addictive habits is appealing, it may not be the cure for all that ails us. We have our own fallen and sinful nature in us to deal with at every turn of life and even minute by minute in our decision making. What can you do with that problem, because YOU CAN’T Cast Out The FLESH.

Jesus’ answer to that was to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. In other words, “crucify our flesh, daily” because every day it will wake up seeking a way to satisfy its self. Think about every diet or attempt to work seriously on our physical or mental fitness and you know how  “self, the flesh” will not want to give up its habits or comforts easily or willingly unless it’s a matter of life or death. Even at that point you can see that “self, the flesh” has its own self interest at heart.

This morning as I prayed when I first woke up and before getting out of bed I asked God to help me to truly live a consecrated life towards Him. I thought of the verse I read yesterday in Psalm 20:4 May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose” and the prayer that I’ve prayed often from Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart” except with a twist. My version of Psalm 37:4 is “Lord, place in my heart the desires You want me to have, make them my own desires.” I know it’s so easy to “say” I am consecrated to God’s Will for my life but be so easily distracted by a multitude of things that are vying for my heart, mind and body’s attention, with if at all possible the goal of becoming an obsession.

Once I got out of bed and started to read through the 3 daily Bible verses and a devotional I follow every day, I didn’t get even past the first one before I was reading through some commentaries about it. This is the verse from “You Version” Bible app,

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

https://bible.com/bible/114/mat.22.37-39.NKJV

Right off the bat, the 3ness of Jesus’ statement got my attention. The “heart, soul and mind” that is being pointed out to us by Jesus as our “triune nature” that we need to deal with daily. I won’t say much more and instead let the commentaries speak for themselves. They are simply stated so that even a child could understand and have related verses for someone interested in pursuing this idea further.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
(37) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.—In St. Mark’s report (Mark 12:29) our Lord’s answer begins with the Creed of Israel (“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord”), and so the truth is in its right position as the foundation of the duty. It is significant (1) that the answer comes from the same chapter (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) which supplied our Lord with two out of His three answers to the Tempter (see Notes on Matthew 4:4; Matthew 4:7); and (2) that He does but repeat the answer that had been given before by the “certain lawyer” who stood up tempting Him, in Luke 10:25. In their ethical teaching the Pharisees had grasped the truth intellectually, though they did not realise it in their lives, and our Lord did not shrink, therefore, so far, from identifying His teaching with theirs. Truth was truth, even though it was held by the Pharisees and coupled with hypocrisy.

Benson Commentary
Matthew 22:37-40. Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart — Concerning this first and great commandment, and the words wherewith Moses prefaced it, see note on Deuteronomy 6:5; and for the elucidation of this whole paragraph, see the notes on Mark 12:28-34, where the conversation which our Lord had with this scribe is related more at large. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets — That is, they contain the substance or abridgment of all the religious and moral duties contained in the law and the prophets, which therefore may be all said to hang or depend on them. The expression, says Dr. Whitby, is a metaphor taken from a custom mentioned by Tertullian of hanging up their laws in a public place to be seen of all men; and it imports that in these precepts is compendiously contained all that the law and prophets require, in reference to our duty to God and man; for though there be some precepts of temperance which we owe to ourselves, yet are they such as we may be moved to perform from the true love of God and of our neighbour; whom if we truly love we cannot be wanting in them. For the love of God will make us humble and contented with our lot; it will preserve us from all intemperance, impatience, and unholy desires; it will make us watchful over ourselves, that we may keep a good conscience, and solicitous for our eternal welfare. And the love of our neighbour will free us from all angry passions, envy, malice, revenge, and other unkind tempers: so that both taken together will introduce into us the whole mind that was in Christ, and cause us to walk as he walked.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
22:34-40 An interpreter of the law asked our Lord a question, to try, not so much his knowledge, as his judgment. The love of God is the first and great commandment, and the sum of all the commands of the first table. Our love of God must be sincere, not in word and tongue only. All our love is too little to bestow upon him, therefore all the powers of the soul must be engaged for him, and carried out toward him. To love our neighbour as ourselves, is the second great commandment. There is a self-love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a self-love which is the rule of the greatest duty: we must have a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we must love our neighbour as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of others. By these two commandments let our hearts be formed as by a mould.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Jesus said unto him … – Mark says that he introduced this by referring to the doctrine of the unity of God “Hear, O Israel! the Lord thy God is one Lord” – taken from Deuteronomy 6:4. This was said, probably, because all true obedience depends on the correct knowledge of God. None can keep his commandments who are not acquainted with his nature, his perfections, and his right to command,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart – The meaning of this is, thou shalt love him with all thy faculties or powers. Thou shalt love him supremely, more than all other beings and things, and with all the ardor possible. To love him with all the heart is to fix the affections supremely on him, more strongly than on anything else, and to be willing to give up all that we hold dear at his command,

With all thy soul – Or, with all thy “life.” This means, to be willing to give up the life to him, and to devote it all to his service; to live to him, and to be willing to die at his command,

With all thy mind – To submit the “intellect” to his will. To love his law and gospel more than we do the decisions of our own minds. To be willing to submit all our faculties to his teaching and guidance, and to devote to him all our intellectual attainments and all the results of our intellectual efforts.

“With all thy strength” (Mark). With all the faculties of soul and body. To labor and toil for his glory, and to make that the great object of all our efforts.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Jesus said unto him,…. Directly, without taking time to think of it; and though he knew with what design it was put to him, yet, as an answer to it might be useful and instructive to the people, as well as silence and confound his adversaries, he thought fit to give one; and is as follows, being what is expressed in Deuteronomy 6:5.

thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; that is, with all the powers and faculties of the soul, the will, the understanding, and the affections; in the most sincere, upright, and perfect manner, without any dissimulation and hypocrisy, and above all objects whatever, for this the law requires; and which man, in his state of innocence, was capable of, though now fallen, he is utterly unable to perform; so far from it, that without the grace of God, he has no true love at all to God, in his heart, soul and mind, but all the reverse; his carnal mind is enmity against God, and everything that is divine and good, or that belongs unto him: and though this is now the case of man, yet his obligation to love the Lord in this manner is still the same; and when the Spirit of God does produce the grace and fruit of love in his soul, he does love the Lord sincerely; because of the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands, and because of the blessings of grace bestowed, and especially for Christ, the unspeakable gift of his love; and most affectionately does he love him, when he is most sensible of his everlasting and unchangeable love to him, and when that is shed abroad by the Spirit; “for we love him, because he first loved us”, 1 John 4:19 instead of, “with all thy mind”, as here, in Deuteronomy 6:5 it is read, “with all thy might”; and which clause is here added by the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, as it is in

Mark 12:30. The Hebrew phrase seems to denote the vehemency of affections, with which God is to be beloved. Though the Jewish writers (s) paraphrase and interpret it, “with all thy substance”, or “money”; and in the Misna (t), the following interpretation is given of the whole,

“”with all thy heart”, with thy imaginations, with the good imagination, and with the evil imagination; and “with all thy soul”, even if he should take away thy soul; and “with all thy strength”, with all thy “mammon”, or riches; or otherwise, “with all thy might”, with every measure he measures unto thee, do thou measure unto him;

that is, as one of the commentators says (u), whether it be good or evil; or, as another (w), in every case that happens give thanks to God, and praise him. And certain it is, that as God is to be loved in the strongest manner we are capable of, and with all we have, and are; so always, at all times, under all dispensations of his providence, and upon all accounts, and for all he does towards, in, upon, and for us,

(s) Targum Onk. & Jarchi in Deut. vi. 5. (t) Beracot, c. 9. sect. 5. Vid. Targum Jon. in Dent. vi. 5. (u) Bartenora in Misn. ib. (w) Maimon. in ib.

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