Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions (Galatians 5:19–20 ESV)
Paul gives us an extensive, yet not an exhaustive list of the works of the flesh in the famous passage above in Gal. 5:19-21. It is an awesome list of manifestations of carnality. Please take a look at some of the works that flesh produces in the verse above. But what are the works of the flesh?
There are two words in this phrase that need to be considered separately and then together to fully understand what the works of the flesh really means. The first is “works”. It is used in this context with the fruit of the Spirit. Both works and fruit here simply mean behavior or character traits. Your thoughts, feelings, desires, words and actions are all fruits you are bearing or works you are producing. Notice that “anger”, which is an emotion, is also included in the “works” mentioned above; implying works that we do in our hearts and what we do outwardly.
The second word is “flesh”. A common mistake we often make here is to take flesh to mean the body as a biologic physical entity. No! Flesh here refers to the entire human being, that is, you and me! The works of the flesh simply means the behavior that we produce purely out of our human nature. When we yield to the Spirit, the behavior is different and called the fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, etc.
What are the works of the flesh from what has been explained above? What is the meaning of flesh as used in this passage?
APPLY THE WORD
We can easily tell whether the flesh or the Spirit are at work in your life at any time. We often will not need a prophet. Just look at the works and you will know. The works of the flesh are evident. And they are looking for whoever will cooperate. Do not let that be you. Rather, operate with the Spirit.
Ask the Spirit to help you yield or surrender to His control rather than that of the flesh.