There is a war going on inside each of us. The flesh and the spirit. Mortal enemies in every sense of the word. Day after day, round after round, they wage a battle inside of us, fighting for our very souls.

Popular culture sometimes depicts this as an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, each whispering in alternate ears. But sometimes it feels more like a boxing match happening within our hearts and minds.

Each fighter is seasoned and prepared. Ready to attack and defend. A strategy (complete with adjustments along the way) flows through each of them. The match can feel back and forth, jostling, confusing, sometimes difficult to watch. Or rather, to feel.

But there is a critical aspect of this epic battle raging within us we often miss. There is one other character in the ring. The referee. The ref decides the winner of each round. The rules. What is allowed and what isn’t.

The referee in the battle between the flesh and the spirit is us. We get to choose the winner. We decide the victor of each round. 

One of the flesh’s favorite tricks is to convince us there is no referee. In fact, to convince us that we and the flesh are one, and we are deciding how much to give in to the demanding Spirit, who wants to spoil our fun.

Choosing a true perspective about ourselves is one of the most important choices we make, and often determines the winner of these battles. All of the flesh’s victories are by forfeit. If we fight to know the truth and choose the truth, then we will win. The choice about who we serve and how we live lies with the referee.

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
– Romans 8:13