The Bible lists for us many works of the flesh that fill this world with evil (Romans 1:28-32; 1 Corinthians 6.9-10; Galatians 5:19-21). Such things as sexual sins, worshipping false gods, witchcraft, hatred, jealousy, anger, selfishness, drunkenness, greed, lying and other immoral activities corrupt our world and lead many people into damnation. Jesus taught us that such corruptions come from within man (Matthew 15:18-20), and James explained to us that sin is the result of man allowing his desires and passions to rule him (James 1:13-15). When we allow our lower desires and hungers to control us, we sink into the very deep hole of darkness and immorality. This lack of self control can cause the spoiling of our homes, jobs, friendships, nation and eternal loss of our soul.
See how common some of these problems are:
1. Lying -- The Bible teaches us the eternal value of truth--"The truth shall make you free" (John 8:32), and God always exhorts us to speak truth, not lies (Ephesians 4:25; 6:14; Leviticus 19:11). Yet we see the world is full of people who always speak lies. Why do we want to tell lies? To protect ourselves? The truth is our best defense. To gain something? If we gain something by lies we are thieves. To appear to be some great person? Truth is always known in the end. Lying does no good thing. If we tell lies, our hearts become hardened and we soon cannot speak truth. We will live in fear that our lies will be uncovered. When we start down the road of lies, we begin a very terrible journey because every lie has a brother. What do I mean? When we tell one lie, we must also tell a second and a third and a fourth to cover our first lie. Every lie has a brother. My friend, do not speak lies, for a lying tongue is something that God hates (Proverbs 6:17), and when we lie we make ourselves children of the Evil One (John 8:44). If telling the truth will cause you to suffer, then tell the truth. In the end you will be blessed.
2. Stealing -- We all know the Word of God teaches us not to steal or destroy other people's possessions (Exodus 20:15; Ephesians 4:28; Titus 2:10). When a thief is caught in the market, come and see what will happen! Severe beating, often resulting in death. No man likes a thief, but there are many ways to steal. Many people would never steal another's money, clothes or food, but what do we often do at our worksites? When we have a job to do for someone, we tell him to "go and come," forcing him to pay money before we do our job. This is stealing. Read Proverbs 3:27-28. See the Word of God: "Do not say 'go and come' when it is in your power to do." Many people freely take government property or company goods and sell in the market. They say, "Any man's goods are every man's goods." My friend, to take government property or any property that is not for you and sell it or misuse it is thievery. Oh, what a pitiful condition we put ourselves into because of our immoral weaknesses. We should learn to trust in God, not ourselves. We must learn to seek God and He will provide our needs (Matthew 6:33-34).
3. Greed -- So many people have given themselves to chasing worldly goods. The desire to have fine things and to be "big men" has caused many people to lose their souls. This is a hunger that can never be satisfied. Those who begin to chase money and worldly pleasure will find themselves in the midst of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10), and will be suffering many hurtful things. When men decide to do anything for money, then everything evil comes. l am sure that Satan sits and laughs at us when he sees us trying only to get worldly goods. He knows we will only die and leave everything. I heard of a man who was so rich and powerful that he planned to be buried with bags of gold in his hands. He said that surely he could buy his way into heaven because he had bought everything in this world. He died and they buried him with bags of money in his hands, pieces of gold in his teeth and gold on his hands. When his soul stood before God, he was naked and empty handed. My friend, do not chase money.
4. Sexual Sins -- Sometimes it seems people have forgotten that they are human. Excuse me to say, some people act like animals. This is clearly seen in the way people use their bodies to commit sexual sins. The Bible teaches us that our bodies are for the Lord, not for sin, and that we must keep our bodies pure (1 Corinthians 6:13; 2 Corinthians 7:1). The great sin of Sodom was a sexual sin (Genesis 19:1-11). Paul discussed the evils of the Gentiles and he spoke very freely of their terrible sexual sins (Romans 1:24, 26-27). When we give ourselves over to sexual sins, we are using our bodies as tools of sin (2 Corinthians 6:18) and we are allowing the fleshly desires to control us. Many diseases, unnecessary pregnancies, murders (abortions), broken marriages and other evils result from sexual sins. In some places as many as 35% of all mental patients are the result of sexual diseases. AIDS is spreading around the world--the result of sexual sins. We have another tract entitled "Are Sexual Sins Troubling You?" Perhaps you would like to read more about this dangerous sin.
There are many other immoral activities that not only are sin, but also bring terrible suffering to us--drinking, smoking, cursing, etc. My friend, this life is too short for us to waste it following things of the flesh that lead only to brief pleasure in the flesh and final separation from God. The story is told of a man who spent many years making a great fortune of wealth and power. Finally, he planned and built a great house for his wives, cars, money, videos, fine dresses, drinks and so many possessions. He stood before the house admiring its beauty and greatness on the day it was completed. Then he stepped onto the street to go toward the house and was knocked down by a truck. He died and all of his labors and desires were useless. Let us not be like such a man.
What other life is there? Life in the Spirit--a life that follows spiritual values, eternal values, good and pure things. The Bible teaches us that walking after the Holy Spirit is the way of life and eternal reward (Romans 8:1-6). This life is a struggle between flesh and spirit (Galatians 5:16-17), but if we will put away the lusts of the flesh and follow the way of the Spirit, we shall have eternal victory in Jesus and deliverance from the sufferings of the flesh. Let us consider Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
If you cut an orange with a knife, you can see all the different things that make the one fruit--seeds, pulp, skin, juice. One fruit is made up of different parts. So is the fruit of the Spirit. The Christian life is the fruit of the Spirit, and this fruit is made up of several different parts--love, joy, peace, patience, humility, kindness and self control. All of these good virtues combined make the Christian life.
If you could choose today what would be written and said at your funeral, what would it be? Do you want people to remember you as a thief, liar, fornicator, drunkard or greedy? Do you want people to be happy you have died? Will this nation be a better place when you are dead? My friend, face the question and answer! Do you want people to speak of your righteousness and goodness? Your wisdom and generosity? How do you want to be remembered? More importantly, how do you want to face God--in the Spirit or in the flesh?
The Christian life is a beautiful life of service made pure by God's grace and kept holy through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:5-10). Christians make mistakes and even commit sin, but they do not live in those sins; they repent and do righteousness. Christians may receive much persecution, but it is only Christianity--pure New Testament Christianity--that leads man to his highest achievements of honor and dignity. It is only life in Christ that will make your life meaningful and give you eternal hope. As stone is to sand, so is the Christian life to a life of flesh. (Matthew 7.24-27).
My friend, we would encourage you to learn more about life in the Spirit--about being a Christian only. The world is full of many religious societies, but we want to be Christians only. Will you not also learn more about God's way that by His grace Jesus has paid the price that you might be free (Romans 5:1-11). We want to study with you that we all might see how to live in the Spirit:
To be fleshly minded is death, To be Spirit minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6Grasp the sand, hold it tightly, squeeze it and watch it fall away. So is life in the flesh. Do you want stone or sand?