One major way the devil tries to deceive us is by provoking us to stay busy doing what the Bible calls “works of the flesh.” Works of the flesh refer to our efforts to try to make something happen without leaning on God for help. God doesn’t do everything for us, but neither can we do anything without Him.
The apostle Paul writes at length in his Epistles about works of the flesh and how useless they are. These activities keep us busy, frustrated and disappointed because they are not effective. We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus and not by any works we have done (see Ephesians 2:8-9). And the way we are saved is the same way we must learn to live our daily lives.
For instance, worry is a work of our flesh that attempts to solve our own problems. As we learn to fill our minds with the truth that our battles belong to the Lord, we will be able to let God fight our battles for us and realize that worry is something we no longer have to do. As a matter of fact, God’s Word teaches that when we give our cares to Him, He will take care of us (see 1 Peter 5:7). The more we lean and rely on God, the more He helps us!
Trying to change people is also a work of the flesh. Only God can change people. We can and should pray for them, but we cannot change them. True and lasting change must come from the inside out, and only God can change a person’s heart. We should love people as they are rather than how we want them to be.
Learning to recognize when we are doing “works of the flesh” is very important. Anytime I start trying to make something happen on my own or try to force something that God doesn’t approve of, I become frustrated, disappointed and worn-out. I have learned that works of the flesh produce struggle, whereas faith in God produces rest!
Pray: Thank You, Father, for Your grace and strength to live my life and do things I could never do on my own. Forgive me for the times I have left You out of the equation. Help me to lean on You more and more with my worries, plans, dreams, day-to-day life…everything. I know that apart from You, I can do nothing (see John 15:5). In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Adapted from the book Your Battles Belong to the Lordby Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2019 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
You were never meant to do it alone! Joyce teaches how you can take the pressure off yourself and learn how to trust God to change what needs to be changed in your life. Watch now!