Is Your Flesh Weak or Strong?

Yeshua said of His Talmudim (Disciples), when they couldn’t stay awake with Him as He prayed that night after the Seder, that their spirit was willing but their flesh was weak.

I wonder if, with all due respect to Yeshua, He didn’t get that backwards.

I know that there are many times my spirit (actually, His spirit within me) tells me the correct thing to do, but my flesh outweighs it and I do something else. In that case, isn’t the flesh stronger than the spirit? Doesn’t Shaul say, in Romans, that he does what he doesn’t want to do, and doesn’t do that which he wants to? Is his spirit strong and willing and his flesh weak? It seems to be the other way around, doesn’t it?

We are creatures of the flesh- we have to be. We are born into the flesh, we live in the flesh, and we will be flesh until we die and are resurrected in new bodies which will be born of the spirit. Until then, we are flesh and the flesh is powerful.

When we have the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) within us, we are guided by that spirit to do what is right in God’s eyes and we are comforted by His presence, which that spirit brings. But we are still flesh, and when my spirit says to go get some food for a person who is asking for help, it is my flesh that makes excuses for not doing so: I am in a rush, I don’t have any small change, the cafe is all the way across the street, whatever. It is the flesh that says to do what I am doing and not care for that person in need, even when both the spirit and flesh say it will only take 5 minutes. The difference is that the spirit says, “Oh, come on- this will only take 5 minutes” and the flesh says, “You’re late- you don’t have even 5 minutes to spare.”

The spirit is right and the flesh is wrong, but the spirit requires discipline to follow and the flesh is always the easy way out. That’s the problem, isn’t it? When we are flesh, in a world controlled by flesh, the flesh is the easy way and the spirit is the hard way.

So the only thing to do is exercise your spirit until it is stronger than your flesh. Pray, force yourself to help others, make sure you get some time with other Believers and listen to their stories of how they have strengthened their spirit, and decide for yourself who is going to rule you. Yeshua said we are all slaves to something, so decide: will you be a slave to your flesh, or a slave to God’s spirit?

For me it is an easy decision: I want to do what God wants me to do. Yet, as much as I want to, it is a hard thing to actually do. Maybe that’s why so many are called but few actually get to the end. In fact, we are all called because God says (check it out in Ezekiel) that He is not happy with the death of any sinner; He would rather we all turn from our sin and live.  That means we are all called.

It’s only those who can exercise their spirit to be stronger than their flesh that will make it. Just saying you believe isn’t enough- even the Enemy and every one of his demons believe. It is the ones who believe, have turned from their sin and produced fruit (the offering of good works that we need to present to God at Judgement Day) whose spirit has been strong enough to win out over their flesh.

Are you exercising your spirit? If not, you had better hit the bricks, get on the bike, and start doing a few spiritual push-ups every morning. Only God knows how much longer you have, so don’t delay because He isn’t likely to give you any notice.


  1. Steven R. Bruck
    tjustincomer April 17, 2015 at 09:46

    I’m not sure that Yeshua was incorrect. I think that what he was getting at was the disciples lack of ability to stay awake. In that sense, their flesh (only meaning their bodies) were unable to overpower the drive to sleep. In the sense of the “war” of flesh against spirit, I think that it is definitely true that we put to death the sinful nature, and therefore are to live by the Spirit. In the case of Gethsemane, it seems to me that the flesh being spoken of is merely their physical bodies, and the spirit being spoken of their drive and desire to do that which pleases their Rabbi.
    Chen vashalom b’haMessiah, achi (Grace and peace in Messiah my brother)

    • Steven R. Bruck
      Steven R. Bruck April 17, 2015 at 11:14

      Of course I agree that the p’shat (plain meaning of the words) indicates that being full of lamb, matzoh and wine it was, indeed, difficult to stay awake. My drash, as a drash should be, was looking to the hidden, underlying meaning, which I see as the (as you put it so well) battle of the flesh and the spirit. But thank you for commenting, and for your taking time to read this blog-ministry.

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