The Devil or the Flesh?

Rhema TeamAugust 2019 WOF2 Comments


Much of what believers attribute to the devil is not directly the work of an evil spirit. Sometimes you hear preachers who want to cast this demon or that demon out of believers when
demons aren’t the cause of the trouble at all—it’s human nature at work.

What people often call “works of the devil,” the Bible calls “works of the flesh.” Galatians 5:19–21 lists these as “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.”

In Ephesians 4:22–32, Paul lists some of the traits of the “old man” (the human nature without God): lying, stealing, corrupt communication, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice. He also describes some of the traits of the “new man” in Christ (our human nature after becoming born again): kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness.

Put Off the Old

The Bible tells us how to deal with the body and soul. We are to “put off” the old man with its fleshly lusts. And we are to “put on” the new man in Christ.

Ephesians 4:22–24

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Who is supposed to put off the nature of the old man? You are. God won’t do it for you. You will have to put off envy, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking. You aren’t dealing with evil spirits when you put off these tendencies. You are just dealing with your flesh.

Too often believers try to take the easy way out and blame everything on Satan. That’s one side of the ditch. On the other side of the ditch, they can’t lay everything off on the Holy Spirit either. The Holy Spirit prompts us and gently leads us, but we have to yield to Him and respond to His instructions. We still choose to do what is right or wrong. When we decide to do wrong, that’s not the devil making the choice. Ultimately, we determine to whom we yield—Satan or the Holy Spirit.

The only way you can put on “the new man” is to renew your mind with the Word of God. Kenneth E. Hagin

Put On the New

The only way you can put on “the new man” is to renew your mind with the Word of God. As you “put on” Christ, you will walk in the Spirit of God and not in the flesh where you are easy prey for Satan.

If you didn’t have your flesh and its carnal nature to deal with, you wouldn’t be human. As long as you are alive, you will have your carnal nature to contend with. I am persuaded that Christians have more trouble with their flesh than they do with the devil!

A fellow came to me one time and said, “Brother Hagin, I want you to pray that I won’t have any more trouble with the devil.” I asked, “Do you want me to pray that you will die? The only way not to be troubled by the devil is to die and leave this world!” A lot of the trouble this man thought was coming from the devil was nothing more than his flesh. He had not learned to distinguish the difference.

The flesh—our unredeemed nature—has never been born again. The lusts of the flesh have nothing to do with a “spirit” of lust. The flesh has its own appetites or “fleshly cravings.”

1 Peter 2:11

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

If you allow your flesh to dominate you, you will always have trouble in your soul—your mind, will, and emotions. And that will give Satan an open door.

James 1:13–15

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

If an evil spirit is trying to work through your flesh, you have authority over it! The devil and evil spirits have no dominion over you as long as you’re walking in line with the Word and are doing what you’re supposed to do with your flesh.

Way of Escape

Every Christian has the same way of escape from falling prey to the devil through the lusts of their flesh. But not every Christian takes the path provided, which is crucifying their flesh. Why? Because it hurts to deny the flesh. And no one can do anything about your flesh for you. You have to mortify or crucify it yourself (Gal. 5:24; Col. 3:5).

People who are always trying to cast out a devil want the easy way out. It’s easier to get someone to try and cast a demon out of you than it is to “kill, put to death, or subdue” your flesh with its lusts and affections. It hurts to do that! But you can’t cast the flesh out. You have to crucify the deeds of the flesh.

The promises in God’s Word are given to us so we can escape the corruption of worldly lust. Keep full of the Word and full of the Holy Spirit!

2 Peter 1:4

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The greatest “war” we will ever engage in is not with the devil but rather between our flesh and spirit. We ultimately decide to yield to the Holy Spirit and walk in line with the Word.


Fortify Yourself

Here’s a list of additional scriptures to study!

Matthew 5:29–30

John 17:16–18

Romans 1:24–28;
5:5–8, 12–14; 6:6–7, 11–16, 19; 12:1–2

1 Corinthians 9:27

2 Corinthians 6:16–17; 12:21

Galatians 5:16–17

Ephesians 2:1–3

Philippians 2:13; 4:5

Colossians 3:8, 12–14

1 Thessalonians 4:1, 3–7

James 4:1–4

[Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from Kenneth E. Hagin’s book The Triumphant Church.]

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Kenneth E. Hagin

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