Most of our inner turmoil is a result of the battle within each of us. Like it or not, we all have a bit of the flesh in us. The part of us that just wants to have everything go our way, that doesn’t care that much about others, and is not sure God is really looking out for us (or that this is His exclusive role). The flesh fights to make us god, the center of the world.

On the other hand, we also have within us the image of God. The spirit. The part of us that wants to participate in something greater than ourselves, needs and values community, appreciates the unique joy of others, and trusts in the mystery of God.

We are not just one of these things. They both exist within us. We can never be fully rid of either. And this internal wrestling match spills out and affects the way we interact with others. Our external battles are often projections of our internal battle; flesh versus spirit.

For as long as we are human, both of these internal desires will exist, to some degree, within us. The great opportunity of a human soul is the ability to choose between the two. We get to decide, over and over, moment by moment, which to give heedance to and which to relegate into captivity. 

The more we choose the spirit, the easier it becomes to do so. The flesh will adapt and always try to speak up, but we can develop a pattern of righteousness just as easily as we can develop patterns of wickedness. 

It all begins by sorting through our desires, sifting and separating what is from the flesh and what is from the spirit. As we choose the spirit within ourselves, we will more readily see and appreciate it in others.

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”
– James 4:1