Too Much Flesh
Posted by Annette Burrell, June 7, 2023
As I looked around, I saw was a sea of umbrellas, cabanas, canopies, and tents. Once I settled into my chair, I took a deep breath and began to relax. I wish I could say the salt air smelled wonderful, but my sense of smell is limited, and I wasn’t smelling a thing. My sight and sound sensory, on the other hand, was quite good.
The beach at Hilton Head is one of the most wonderful places for children to play. The first morning we arrived, the tide was out, leaving lots of puddles and shallow pools for young children to pretend-swim in. The sound of squeals and laughter drew me to watch them as they lay in the water and built sandcastles: the hard-packed sand allured runners and bikers of all ages. One thing I will never get used to at the beach is the bikini bottoms that seem to get skimpier every year. I can remember a time when the flesh you saw around a female’s bottom was just a pair of legs. Now . . . let’s just say I saw way too much flesh.
You see it in Paul’s writings to the churches, and you see it in Peter as he grew in the grace and knowledge of God after he let go of his flesh. The flesh, as referred to in their writings, is
...that which is contrary to the spirit, or something that opposes God and seeks sinful gratification.
We can’t get around it; we all have a sinful nature. Jesus spoke of the weakness of our flesh when he said to Peter, James, and John in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark 14:37-38 says,
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Simon,’ he said to Peter, ‘are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
Yes, our flesh—our sinful nature—is weak.
If you ask a child what sin means, they might say it’s when you do something bad. That is a simplistic definition of sin, pointing us in the right direction. God loves us, but He hates the sin. In fact, He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten son as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could have everlasting life with Him.
In the Old Testament, we see David, a man after God’s own heart, commit a terrible sin, and he tries his best to cover it up. David has lust in his heart and sleeps with Bathsheba and then sends Bathsheba’s husband to the front line in the battle, where he is killed in an attempt to cover up David’s sin. We all know we can’t cover up our sin from God.
No matter how hard we try, He sees our flesh.
In 2 Samuel 12, God sends Nathan to David to rebuke him. 2 Samuel 12:1-7 says,
The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup, and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him. David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity. Then Nathan said to David, You are the man!
God uses people, circumstances, and “things” to get our attention and help us grow closer to Him.
In my case, seeing lots of flesh helped me look at my own flesh and see that I, too, show way too much flesh at times. By that, I mean I get wrapped up in things contrary to the Holy Spirit, and I am seeking my own gratification. Ouch, but so true.
Covering up my flesh may help me look blameless in the eyes of others. That’s not necessarily true. It doesn’t matter anyway. When all is said and done, God is the only one who sees all of me. All my flesh—covered or not. Thank God, He loves me and forgives me! And He loves and will forgive you too.
1 John 1:9 (NIV) says,
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Thank you, God, for always finding a way to reveal my own flesh to me. Thank you, God, for providing a way for my redemption. Thank you, God, for loving me. Help me in my weakness and strengthen my desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of your son Jesus Christ. Amen
Annette Burrell is an author, speaker, and singer/songwriter. Through Annette’s years of being a public servant, and her devotion to studying the Bible, God has equipped her to lead women into His presence, and share with them how they can grow in Christ. Her passion is learning, sharing about the Heavenly realms, and God’s plan of protection for us as believers.