True inner freedom says NO to our flesh. It is called self-denial. It comes up constantly in our journey of progressive sanctification. Matthew 16:24 says, “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Following in Jesus’ footsteps looks like Psalm 85:13. It says, “Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.” That does not leave any room for our flesh. It is a narrow path.
In Genesis 4:7 God instructed Cain. We do well to heed His words. It says, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
We were given dominion. That means that we are not to allow anyone or anything to rule over us. Years ago I heard a definition of the Jezebel spirit: controlling another through a spirit other than the Holy Spirit. What did Jezebel do? She took away Naboth’s inheritance through her witchcraft (1 Kings 21:1-16).
1 Samuel 15:23 says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…” The devil is crafty. He looks for those he can use against another. His goal is to permeate the body of Christ and bring division.
We each have a holy calling. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” The Holy Spirit within us is our Leader. When we follow Him, we will be equipped to do the work the Lord has called us to do.
Beware, lest anyone try to usurp His place. We sin against God when we allow someone or something to take dominion. This pops up in interpersonal relationships in our families and within our local church.
False teaching can creep in and lead us astray. In my lifetime, there have been numerous high profile men who created a dominated following through false doctrine. Matthew 15:8-9 says, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me,
And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.” Verse 6 says, “…Thus you made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.” What tradition of man have you been sucked into? It makes me think of Tevye in “Fiddler On The Roof” singing, “Tradition!”
Remember the broken cisterns from Jeremiah 2:13? It is a great description of our flesh. It says, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
I recently read a book for a friend about narcissists. Their main goal is to control others through their self-centered demands. When we receive satan’s lies, we will be controlled by them. Remember, that he seeks to divide. He uses others’ fleshly desires to control our freedom of choice.
An authentic follower of Jesus seeks to be controlled only by the Holy Spirit. He is our Fruit Producer. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”