Easter Message: Things of the Flesh vs Things of the Spirit

Now that Easter is upon us and we see the physical signs of renewal and rebirth, it naturally makes us want to give ourselves a little “spring cleaning” on a spiritual level. Let’s take a moment to reflect on what it means to be reborn to our true nature, to connect with Spirit, and to achieve eternal life. That might sound a little intimidating and we might doubt our ability to actually be worthy of all that, but just as the flowers bloom from below the dirt, so can we. Consider this scripture reading from the book of Romans:

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8: 5-8, NIV

The Apostle Paul writes a letter to the Roman government describing the virtues of Christianity, so he can spread the teachings of Christ throughout the ancient world. In this letter, he speaks about the things of the flesh vs the things of the spirit, and that we should live in the Spirit rather than the flesh. And if anyone knew about the things of the flesh, believe me, it was the Romans.

So we must sacrifice the things of the flesh in order to fully live in the Spirit and receive the gift of life beyond death.  

During the period of Lent we practice sacrifice. When I was growing up we were told to give up chocolate for Lent. I never really understood what chocolate had to do with the Resurrection of Jesus, and then was further confused by receiving a huge basket of it on Easter morning. Talk about mixed messages!

Why the sacrifice? It’s not about the chocolate, but it’s about learning inner awareness and self control. Becoming aware of the things that we attach ourselves to and identify with. 

These things of the flesh that dominate us – gossip, hatred, bitterness, cheating, lying, coveting, self-smugness, laziness, overindulgence, having to have better bling, having to have a better refrigerator or a new vehicle, fearing you’re going to miss out on a great night out …these things of the flesh weigh on us. 

There is a sense of feeling like we’re not good enough without our accessories, labels, titles, gear. We fear that we aren’t good enough when we’re stripped down on that cross with all our sins on display. And when all of our sins are exposed, aren’t we really afraid that God won’t love us? The one whose approval we are truly seeking, is the one who sees right through the whole facade. 

It’s fine. You don’t have to go sell your purses and trucks and nice things and go live as a monk. Severe austerity can be just as harmful to our spirit, as we can use that to create an air of superiority, and a false identity as well. So giving up everything is not the way. 

You can have things, experiences and a sense of importance in this world. But when that experience of the physical world overrides the things of Spirit, then we’re in trouble. If your identity becomes the thing, or is dependent upon the thing, then the thing has you, not the other way around.  

We are here in this physical world to experience the physical world, but not without also knowing things of the Spirit. In order to realign ourselves with the things of the Spirit, we must first acknowledge our attachments, sins, regrets, faults, and avowing to stop living by those impulses or thoughts. In order to be one with God, we must recognize and then sacrifice our need for “things of the flesh”.

So let me ask you, What things of the flesh need to die within you?  

Is it your anger, or your jealousy, is it your intolerance or lack of compassion, your fear of dying?

And more importantly, what is your reason for a Resurrection to things of the Spirit?

Let us remember that Resurrection is a transformation. Rising from the “grave” of our lower nature embodies the realization of awakening to Spirit. Easter invites us to die to every ego identification, so that we may strip away our false self and reveal our oneness in the universal Christ consciousness that always already IS. We get to tap into the unconditional love, the generosity, the passion and devotion that the Holy Spirit eternally offers us – no matter how much we have lived in the flesh. 

The imitation of Christ, then, is participating in the suffering and joys of the world, all the while seeing through them the radiance of the divine presence. And you’ll notice that you find divine presence in people, animals, nature – actual flesh rather than physical objects or abstract concepts. 

Christ calls upon us to direct our passion towards what has purpose and meaning for humanity here in the physical world – that is what we need to resurrect. Rather than pursuing that which pulls us deeper into our own Egos, put your energy, your mind, your heart into something that is of service and benefit to others. Put it into something that grows, that becomes love, that supports the things of the Spirit. 

Spring is the perfect time to shift our focus and realize that Spirit dwells within us all. As we watch for signs of emerging life, remember that we truly are one, connected through the Holy Spirit. That is the secret behind the sacrifice and resurrection. That is eternity. That is the Life beyond death.

Easter Message: Things of the Flesh vs Things of the Spirit

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