Resist the Passions of the Flesh
The Elevation of Human Nature
Christians are no longer slaves but are free. We are not subject to the Law, but to love. But, how are we free?
Freedom for the Christian is something you can grow in. We are not free in that we have multiple options, but we are free in that we follow Christ and fulfill our nature. In so doing we are free because we are our own agents, not subject to the corruptions of our nature. This is why a major part of the spiritual life is to no longer be subject to the passions of the flesh.
After the fall the flesh became disordered, and this is primarily done in the passions. What are the passions? They are our internal drives. These are good in themselves, but because our nature has been corrupted, they have been distorted. For example, food is a source of nourishment and pleasure, but in our disorder we overeat, or anger is a proper response to pain or injustice, but it can be wild and untamed and lash out.
This is why we cannot trust our passions to drive us. The flesh is opposed to the spirit in that the flesh is driven by the passions. The spirit, on the other hand, is able to see God and comprehend Him and His Law. We may not be subject to the old Law, but we are only truly free when we follow God’s wisdom, as His wisdom leads us to life, as our life reaches its fullness. The wisdom of God is the life of man because the wisdom of God is in line with our nature.
So, this all sounds philosophical and abstract, and it can be, but we must apply these abstracts to our own lives. Learn the passions of the flesh, and learn how they are to be ordered. The best way to do this is to learn the virtues or good habits. The cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude are the driving forces of all people of virtue. To elevate them we can subjugate them to grace in the theological virtues of faith, hope and love.
So, go and tame the flesh, and live by the spirit, so that you may live in eternity with the spirit and the flesh in sync and fullness, as this is the life of heaven and the saints.