The Jewish tradition teaches that every child is shaped by competing influences: the yetserha-ra, the selfish or evil urge, and the yester tov, the inclination to do good. But by the time the boy turns 13 or a girl 12, the ages by which Jews believe children become accountable, the yetser tov should control the child's yetser ha-ra. The ancient sage Rabbi Isaac said of the evil yetser: "At first, it is a wayfarer and a lodger. At last, it becomes the master of the house!"
In Proverbs 29:21, we read, "He who pampers his servant from childhood, will have him as a son in the end." Some writers have applied this proverb to the pampering of "the flesh." It is supposed to be dealt with through self-denial, and brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. However, if gratified and unrestrained, it gets the upper hand, and, like a spoiled servant, dictates and controls. A veteran pastor wisely wrote, " The delight of life is to be led by the Spirit, not driven by the flesh."
Galatians 5:17 reveals, "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish."
D. L. Moody acknowledged, "When I was converted, I made this mistake: I thought the battle was already mine, the victory already won, the crown already in my grasp. I thought the old things had passed away, that all things had become new, and that my old, corrupt nature, the old life, was gone. But I found out, after serving Christ for a few months, that conversion was only like enlisting in the army - that there was a battle at hand."
Martin Luther's co-worker, Melancthon, once wrote, "Old Adam is too strong for Melancthon!"
One woman stated to her friend, "Betty, your lawn is full of Creeping Charlie. It's coming right under your fence from your neighbors. It will soon flower and ruin your yard!" Betty confessed, "I had gone to my yard every morning, but I went to look at the roses. Now I took another look, and there it was - a dark purple plague running close to the ground. I called the lawn spraying service, and the man said, 'Not even spraying kills Creeping Charlie. You have to get down on your hands and knees and pull it out'!"
Galatians 5:24, "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey, Florida, 34654