“Empowering the abused woman to recover with God's truth"
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:15-18, emphasis in Scripture (underlining) is Andrew’s but I linked and bolded the Scripture title). Paul knew that the Spirit of Christ indwelt his born-again spirit. Therefore, he couldn’t be technically correct and say, “In me…dwelleth no good thing” without the clarifying statement “(That is, in my flesh,).” Paul acknowledged his born-again spirit, but declared, “There is no good thing in my flesh—my unrenewed mind and physical body, all the external parts of me functioning independent from Christ. There’s nothing good about that! I’m going to have to lay this flesh down and receive a new body and a new soul, which are completely renewed and think exactly like God.”
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:18-23). Sounds a lot like what he wrote in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Romans 7:24 summarizes Paul’s dismal dilemma, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
My associate, Don Krow, has an excellent message from this passage entitled “USDA Choice Flesh.” He goes into much more detail than I will here. Don preached it at a Ministers’ Conference and literally changed people’s entire attitude toward what these scriptures are really communicating. I encourage you to get ahold of it!
Without Supernatural Assistance
Romans 7 doesn’t teach that Paul was constantly trying and failing to do the right thing. He wasn’t describing his present Christian life and saying that this is the way that it is. Paul wasn’t confessing that after all those years, he was still struggling with lust, sexual sin, anger, and bitterness. Neither was he saying, “You have this flesh, and try as you might, but you can never beat it.” Paul was simply describing the inability of the flesh—your physical ability, natural mind, emotions, and actions all independent from Christ—to please God.
You cannot overcome your flesh on your own; you have to start living from who you are in Christ. Your spirit man is completely changed and infused with the life of God. You can only please Him through living by your spirit!
The Christian life isn’t just difficult to live—it’s impossible! In your flesh, you can’t do what the Lord has told you to do. He’s commanded you to just bear it when someone insults you. If they slap you on the face, you’re to turn the other cheek. If they sue you and take away your coat, you’re to give them your cloak as well. If someone forces you to carry their burden one mile against your will, go two miles (Matt. 5:39-41). Your natural self, independent of God, just won’t do things like that!
It’s natural to be self-serving, self-seeking, and self-promoting! If somebody slaps you on the cheek, you want to hit both of theirs. If someone takes something from you through a lawsuit, you want to hire the best lawyer to sue them back. But the Lord’s told you, “Do the opposite.” Without supernatural assistance, it’s impossible to do what Jesus commands! That’s why Paul declared, “It’s no longer me that lives but Christ who lives through me” (Gal.2:20).
There’s a tremendous amount of liberty that comes with recognizing and releasing Christ in you. You don’t have to say in the flesh “Well, I will to love you” and turn the other cheek through gritted teeth. It’s much better to pray, “Father, in myself, I’d like to knock their block off. My flesh cannot do this,” (Paul described this in Romans 7), “but in my spirit, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have the same spirit that Jesus had when He hung on the cross and forgave the very people who crucified Him.” (You’ve read that in God’s Word and believed it.) “Father, I don’t feel like it right now, but I know my spirit is the same one that enabled Jesus to extend mercy to those who mocked Him. In the natural, I can’t do this. Father, please live through me now. Give me a supernatural compassion for this person so I can love them!”
Peter thought he was being very generous when he asked, “How many times should I forgive my brother—up to seven times a day?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times but seventy times seven!” That’s 490 times in one day! This was His way of communicating that there shouldn’t be a limit on your forgiveness (Matt. 18:21-22).
The Lord wants you to forgive totally—as much and as many times as it takes! In your flesh, you might be able to forgive a person for some minor things once, twice, or even seven times in a day (Peter thought he might be able to do that). But what Jesus asked goes far beyond your human ability. The only way you can forgive like that is by saying, “Father, I can’t do it, but You can. Lord, please love them through me.” When you humble yourself, turning away from your own natural ability and to God and His divine ability, you’ll discover a supernatural strength flowing through you!
You have an unlimited supply of God’s kind of love in your spirit. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1Cor. 13:4-7). His love never fails (verse 8)!
In your spirit, you have an unlimited ability to forgive, endure, believe, and hope! If you catch yourself remarking “I can’t put up with this person anymore. I just can’t take it. I’m at the end of my rope!” what you’re really saying is, “I’ve come to the end of my flesh!” That’s good! Now let your spirit take over!
You Can Too!
Pray, “God, I’m sorry! I’ve been trying this in myself, which is why I’m burned out, frustrated, and angry. Forgive me and live Your life through me. I believe Your Word. In the spirit, I am a brand-new person. If I would walk in the spirit, I won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Then, start meditating on who you are and what you have in Christ.) “By faith, this is who I choose to believe I am.”
That’s renewing your mind and releasing the supernatural life of God out of your spirit into your soul and body. When your physical mind comes into agreement with your spiritual mind, you can literally begin to hope, endure, and believe in things that you couldn’t have done by your natural self!
I’ve been able to love the many different people who have come out against me. A guy I was witnessing to spat in my face. People have tried to physically assault me. Some other well-known ministers publicly called me a “cult leader” and “of the devil.” A guy stole $20,000 from our ministry. I’ve even been kidnapped and had threats on my life! But in all of this (and more), I can truthfully tell you that I have nothing against any of these people. I harbor no evil thoughts and never spend any time even thinking about them. I’ve completely forgiven each and every one. How? I renewed my mind to God’s Word and released the love and forgiveness that’s in my spirit. You can do it too!
Releasing Your True Identity
You can’t please God if you’re in the flesh! Romans 7 describes living by your own natural, carnal ability. That’s why the results are defeat, failure, and an inability to do the desired good (Rom. 7:19). In your flesh, you can’t overcome, turn the other cheek, or forgive an unlimited number of times. That’s why Paul said of his flesh, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). In other words, Paul asked, “Who will deliver me from this flesh?”
The very next verse contains the answer! “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:25). Deliverance from the flesh comes through living by who you are in the spirit! From here, Paul launches right into Romans 8 with “There is therefore.” “Therefore” refers back to what has previously been said, which is that the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 7). Therefore, you must walk after the Spirit (Rom. 8).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). Your spirit is the only part of you in Christ Jesus. If you are in the spirit, there is no condemnation to you whatsoever. That’s good news!
Romans 8 is one of the most victorious chapters in the whole Bible! Why? It’s written from the perspective of your born-again spirit. The frustration of living after the flesh described in Romans 7 is not the typical Christian life. Romans 7 speaks of a person trying to please God through their own natural effort. “O God, I’m trying to do better. I want to do better, but I just can’t!” Why? It’s impossible to serve God in the flesh. The word “spirit” is only used once in Romans 7. In contrast, it’s used 21 times in Romans 8. It’s Romans 8 that describes the typical Christian life. You’ve got to get over into the spirit!
This revelation of spirit, soul, and body unlocks so much of the Christian life! How can you live in the spirit if you don’t know that it was your spirit that changed? When you understand that, you can begin comprehending that who you are and what you have in Christ doesn’t fluctuate based on your performance. How can you release something you don’t know or don’t believe you have? Once you do believe, you must reject the flesh and walk by who you are in the spirit. Cultivate a good image of who you are in Christ and let that become the real you. It’s just a matter of discovering and releasing your true identity!
An Extroverted Introvert
Through this, God’s done a miracle in my life! I was extremely introverted before being turned on to the Lord. Because of nervousness and self-consciousness, I couldn’t look someone in the face and talk without stammering. Now, God has me speaking to millions of people daily through television and radio. I’ve ministered to people face to face in meetings all around the world, sometimes up to five thousand at once. Yet, I’m not afraid because it doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m focused on who I am in the spirit!
My flesh is the same as it always was. I still have a tendency to be introverted. In fact, when I’m not focused on the Lord and someone catches me in the flesh, I still want to withdraw, not exert myself, and just go sit in the background. This natural part of me hasn’t changed.
Most people think they’re improving their flesh when they’re born again. That’s simply not true! You don’t improve your natural self through the Christian life, you just become better at denying it. The improvement comes by choosing to recognize your new identity in Christ and letting those thoughts and actions manifest from your spirit.
When I take personality tests now, I always score the maximum in every category for extroverts. That’s who I’ve chosen to be and who I’ve become in Christ. It’s who my born-again spirit is. If you could somehow test me apart from my godly reactions, you’d find I’m still an introvert in my flesh.
Living from the Spirit
The Christian life isn’t your natural flesh becoming stronger in godliness so that you don’t need the Holy Spirit as much as when you first began. Rather, it’s growing stronger in the spirit and weaker in the flesh. The flesh’s dominance steadily diminishes as you learn to consistently depend on and draw out more of what’s in your spirit.
Focus on who you are in the spirit by meditating on God’s Word, and your flesh will bow the knee to the spirit’s rule and reign. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. 5:16-17). You’ll break the control of the flesh as you base your identity and potential on what the Word says about who you are in Christ. Instead of being controlled by your old carnal self, your spirit man will begin to dominate.
My flesh is still basically timid and shy, but my spirit is as bold as a lion (Prov. 28:1)! Some people who travel on airlines push their way up to the counter and make demands whenever something goes wrong. I’m quite the opposite. I actually set my travel agent cards aside because the ticket agents almost never grant me any of those discounts. I’m just not a pushy guy! Yet, I can be very bold and assertive when it comes to spiritual matters, or anything else of value to me. People have challenged me in services before. It’s like the spirit of might comes upon me, and I just take care of it (Is. 11:2). That’s because I’ve learned how to live more from my spirit than my flesh.
(END OF ANDREW’S QUOTES FOR CHAPTER 17)
Are you ready to change your life? If so, here is the link to start – you can study on your own, by clicking here to go to the teaching of, “Spirit, Soul, Body,” on Andrew’s website. Once on the site, you can choose if you want to listen via audio or watch the videos. Or study with a group, like I am doing, by going to this link, creating an account, and finding an online or local study – the materials are furnished for you – there is an outline teaching, questions, and Scriptures, on the website, that you download after logging in and finding your study.
Here is the link for the group I am in – you can go to the link and register, but to download your class materials, you must create an account, and sign in (the material information is on top of the page). Then contact the Leader, Dennis Kerr, and let him know you just signed up for the class and ask him to send you the Zoom link for the class (although Dennis will receive your registration, I would contact him also). We currently meet on Tuesdays at 4:00pm EST (Dennis is in Arizona and his local time would be at 2:00pm MST for the study) – this Chapter 17, “The Impossible Life,” is the current chapter for the week of April 26, 2022, according to the “Spirit, Soul, Body” book.
However, our lesson in the study guide for April 26, 2022, was Lesson 17, “Empowerment Required,” from the “Spirit, Soul, Body” book’s Chapter 15, which has the same title, “Empowerment Required” – this was our seventeenth meeting.
Click the link below to review all study materials, which is the same as the first link on Andrew’s website, for “Spirit, Soul, Body:” All “Spirit, Soul, Body” Resources
NOTE: Wherever there is bolding in this document and is not specified that Andrew did it, it was added by me. Also, highlighting, underlining, and Scriptures were bolded and linked to the text by me.
God’s BLESSINGS to you all and your families!!
A child of God,
Rev. Dr. Dorothy E. Hooks, PsyD