29 Mar Him > Me
We all have a war going on inside of us. It’s a war between our spirit and our flesh. Between our sinful selves and Christ’s will for our lives. We have to make sure our flesh doesn’t win. And the way we do that is by feeding the side that we want to win the battle. In this episode I tell you how you can do just that!
Info from the Show
- Realize that you are in a spiritual battle
- Find out the deciding factor between winning and losing that battle
- Get a free gift to win the fight
Links and Resources
- Read through the Bible and keep track of your progress with this digital reading plan!
- Find Ashley on Facebook
- Find Ashley on Instagram
Welcome to the Graceful Life Podcast. I am your host Ashley Varner and I am excited for this episode. I have to tell you that this is definitely something that I am learning through experience and really just, it has really changed the way that I live and the growth that I’ve seen in my own relationship with the Lord, so I’m super excited to start.
Before I do though, I wanted to tell you to stay tuned to the end of this episode. I have a free gift for you. I’m so excited to share it with you and you will hear all about it. You can click on the show notes, also get the information, but as we listen to this episode at the very end I’m going to be sharing about that. So make sure that you stay tuned.
You are listening to episode nine of the Graceful Life Podcast. I have entitled this episode Him Over Me or Him Greater Than Me. All of March, we have been focusing on growing our relationship with the Lord. We have talked about staying filled. We have talked about learning how to be humble and imitating the humility of Christ and today I am. This is definitely not, it’s definitely a perfect example of last but not the least, because this is definitely a lesson that I’ve learned that I am excited to share with you today. So let’s just jump right in.
Mainly, this episode is based from John 3:30. It says, “He must increase, I must decrease.” Another version says, “He must become greater, I must become less.” I love this, because this is really what being a Christian is in a nutshell. It’s saying, “God, I’m choosing You over me. I want You to increase and because of that I must decrease.”
So I’m going to start by telling you a story. It’s the tale of two wolves and Cold Turkey is teaching his grandson about life. He’s telling at this boy, “A fight is going on inside me. It’s a terrible fight and it’s between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogant, self-pity, guilt, resentments, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” The Cold Turkey continued and says, “The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence. He is empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” He told his grandson the same fight is going on inside every other person, too. The grandson was quiet for a moment. He thought about it and then he asks his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The Cold Turkey’s replied, “The one that you feed.”
There is a spiritual battle going on inside each of us. Galatians 5:17 says, “For the flesh desires what’s contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what’s contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do what you want.” Now on our own, the flesh is going to win. That’s just the truth. We’re in a world where the flesh is just fed all the time. So on our own, that’s the result. Praise the Lord that we are made new in Christ and we’re not on our own. We are walking through this life hands in hand with Jesus. We can make choices to really let the flesh decrease so that our spirit and the Lord can increase in our lives.
So I’m going to talk to you today a little bit about what side you’re feeding. Are you feeding your flesh or your spirit? Because I hear a lot of ladies sometimes come to me and they say, “Ashley, I really want to grow in the Lord. I really want to see new heights in my relationship with Him, but I’m just hitting this brick wall and I can’t make it. It seems my flesh is just way too strong.” Many times what I tell them is, “Which side are you feeding? Are you feeding your flesh? Think about the way that you spend your time, the way that you spend your money, the way even that you think. That’s going to show you what side has a fighting chance.”
For an example, I started binge-watching the show that it started out fine, but progressively it just got worst and worst language. It was always trying to push the envelop and after a few days the language was even starting to come in to my dreams. I realized that unconsciously just by not being intentional about what I was watching, I had made a decision to feed the wrong side of me. I was hearing this words and then they just started come in to my mind and that’s the result. Whenever we feed that side of us, that’s what we’re always going to get back. So right then, I made a decision I quit watching that show Cold Turkey. I never watched it again and instead it wasn’t just enough for me to say, “I’m going to stop watching this.” I wanted to be on the offensive and say, “You know what? Not only am I not going to watch this, but I’m going to start feeding my spirit.”
So I found a Bible audio and started playing it. It was one book of the Bible. It was John and it was a semi-dramatized version. You guys have heard we’ve talked about that before. I listen to it and I think it was probably maybe three hours long from beginning to end. I listen to it and then I listen to it again and then I played it again and again. It was every time I was in the shower I was listening to it. When I was driving in the car, I was listening to it. When I was getting dinner ready, I was listening to it. I found that maze such a huge difference. The words that were heading come in to my mind from that old show were gone. I was listening to God’s word. I was filling my heart with it. I was feeding my spirit with it. Not only that, but I found podcasts that were uplifting. I would go on to YouTube and watch different videos and stuff. I could definitely see a difference in myself listening to maybe entrepreneur videos or anything else.
Whenever you choose to listen to a Christian version of something versus a secular site, you’re going to see a difference in your heart. So I found podcasts that were really uplifting in my life. I put worship music on just all the time and it made a huge difference. My spirit got stronger and my flesh got weaker. So the things that I started filling my mind with and spending my time on made a huge difference in what side was going to win for me.
Another area that sometimes we end up feeding the flesh more than the spirit is the friends that we spend time with. It’s been said that we’re the average of the five people that we spend the most time with. There’s a perfect example of something that came up in my life recently. I was at a meeting where I was surrounded with women who were all striding to serve the Lord. We’re in ministry together. We’re reaching our world together. I left that meeting feeling so uplifted, having a new sense of purpose, having a new expectation for what God was going to do this year because I have been spending time with women who were like-minded and like-carded in that.
I remember driving home and thinking that this is incredible that I have thing opportunity to serve my district in this way. I remember thinking about all the relationships with the women that I had there. These friendships that had been cultivated, some for years, a decade and some brand new, and thinking, “The Lord put these women in my life so that they can spur me forward to really reach my world for Him and to really grow in my relationship with Him.”
Now I want you to put that experience in contrasts to another experience that I had recently. My husband and I sat down to dinner with some old friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time. These friends weren’t, they aren’t serving the Lord. They don’t know Him. As we sat and chatted with them, I found, you’re hearing language that you normally don’t hear or you’re hearing conversations and opinions that you might not normally hear. I found myself feeling more and more down as we were talking to them. It had nothing to do with their personalities or anything like that. It just was whenever you spend time with people that there’s just such a huge difference between spending time with people who are on fire for the Lord, who are serving Him, who are actively growing in their relationship with Him versus people who don’t know the Lord at all. Now you need both relationships in your life. You need people who are going to spur you forward. You need to be a person who spurs other people forward in their walk with the Lord.
I realize that whenever you are the way that you spend your time impacts your flesh and your spirit. It is going to cause one to be stronger and one to be weaker. So really be intentional whenever you spend time with people who don’t know the Lord. Remember who you are and be secure and confident in your relationship with the Lord. Then choose not to really let them, and this is going to sound harsh, but really don’t let them speak into your life if they’re not coming from a place where they want to uplift your spirit more than they want to lift up your flesh. So be thinking about that.
Another area that we can be feeding our flesh or our spirit and sometimes doing it without even thinking about it is in the thoughts that we’re actually thinking. It’s time to think about what you’re thinking about. Many times we get this false impression that we can’t decide what we think about to that we don’t have any control over the thoughts that come in. Partially that’s true, but we do have a choice whether they stay in.
There’s a quote by Martin Luther. He said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” I love that because what that saying is we might not have too much control over the thoughts that might fly into our minds, but we have a choice whether or not we entertain those thoughts, whether we let them fester in our minds. We have responsibility to say, “You know what? I’m going to make my thoughts obedient to the Lord.” So whenever you are thinking about this idea of feeding your flesh or your spirit, really think about what you’re thinking about. You can have a thought come into your mind. You have the choice to let that thoughts run wild in your mind, let that thought just completely consume your day or you have the ability to make that thoughts come under obedience to the Lord and under the truth of God’s word.
We do have that power. Sometimes we forget that that whenever we are thinking something, we can choose not to think it. There’s a perfect example of this right before I came to record this podcast episode. I ran to the grocery store after dropping off my kids at school. Every time I go in in the morning to the grocery store, which is not that often, but whenever I go in the morning it always seems they put the donuts that are brand new right out of the oven, pretty and frosted and all that right by the door. I don’t know why they do it. Well, I’m sure I know why; they tempt us to sell it. Right away I thought I would love to have one of those.
Now I have an issue with gluten. I can’t eat it. I was diagnosed a while back with celiac disease and so eating a donut would definitely damage my body. There’s nothing wrong with the donut. Don’t get me wrong, but I knew that that was not something that I wanted to put in my body. So for a minute I thought, “Man, that would really taste good.” Then I thought, “You know what? I am not going to let this thought fester in my mind. I am going to walk past it. I’m going to go and pick up the things that are on my list.” I left the store with only the things that were on my list.
That is by the grace of God, ladies. We don’t have to do this on our own. We can choose to make our thoughts obedient to Christ by the grace of Jesus Christ. You guys have heard when we say this before. We have been given the power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is living in us. So as we start to walk in that and as we grow our spirit, that becomes easier and easier. I know it seems a really silly example with this donut example, but every thought that comes into your mind you have the choice to say, “I’m going to keep thinking this thought or I’m going to choose not to think it at all.” Many times it just boils down to moving forward with what you were doing before that thought came into your mind. So if you have a list to get at the grocery store, just keep going on with what you are doing and letting the thought go away.
The opposite of this is just letting your thoughts run wild. One area that I’ve seen this over and over is in self-esteem and the idea of looks, because it can be easy to say, “I’m ugly,” or, “I can’t do anything right,” or, “I’m just not capable of doing what God wants me to do.” You can let those thoughts run wild or you can line them up to the truth of God’s word and say, “I am not going to accept. This is truth, because I know what the Bible says about me. I know that it says I am called. I know it says that I am [inaudible 14:51] Christ. So as you line up your thoughts with the truth of God’s word, you have the ability to say, “This doesn’t line up. This isn’t true and I’m not going to believe it.” As we do that, we are feeding our spirit and really making out flesh weaker and weaker.
Now I told you guys at the beginning of this episode that I was going to be giving you all a free gift. It is something that I believe if you want to feed your spirits and you want to make your flesh weak, the truth is that you have to seek the Lord and you have to get into His word, because knowing the truth of God’s word, knowing and reading it is going to feed your spirit more than anything else ever could. So the gift that I want to give you guys I am definitely somebody who I love making everything digital, so my calendar is digital, my to-do list is digital. I created a digital Bible reading plan. It’s one year and each day it gives you what you need to read, what chapters that you need to read. It figures to about three chapters a day, which it obviously depends on how fast you read, but for me I might have taken 15 minutes each day depending on the chapter.
As you read through it, you can have the Bible app on your phone. You click on it. Once you’re done with that section, you just click on and it marks it off for you. Whenever you are reading God’s word, you are feeding your spirit. In consequence, you are making your flesh weaker and weaker. So if this is something that you really you feel your flesh is always winning and you feel your spirit is never strong enough to say no, then you need to get into God’s word. I want to help you do that so I’m going to leave a link in the show notes to enroll in this free Bible reading plan.
Now you do have to enroll, because you have to set up kind of an account. That way it keeps track of what verses and what chapters that you’ve already read. You don’t need to put in a credit card number or anything like that. It’s completely free. You just have to enroll so that you set it up and know where you’re at in the chapter. So I’m going to leave a link to that and I really hope that you’ll grab it, because it is something that will make it easier and just more convenient to read your Bible whether you’re in the car or you’re riding the bus. Whatever you’re doing, you can have it right there on your phone. You know exactly what you need to read for that day and then you just click on to your Bible app and read it that way.
You can be intentional about reading God’s word. You can be intentional about feeding your spirits and you will see growth in your relationship with the Lord whenever you do this. I guarantee it, because God’s word will never come back void. His word is powerful and whenever we apply it to our lives, we’re going to be living in that power as well. So I hope you guys have a great day. I will see you next week. I hope that you guys grab that digital reading plan and I will see you next time.
Thanks for joining me!
Thanks so much for joining me! I’m so excited to get to know you through your comments and I hope you’ll join the conversation in the Girl of Grace Group!
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