I recently went to China with colleagues from Insight for Living. What a vast and beautiful country—and so much potential for ministry. While there, several of us got to visit the Great Wall.
(Photo: By Hao Wei from China. Flickr. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
I was amazed at how vigilant the wall builders were to ensure the safety of their country against potential enemies. (See some of my pictures below from my Instagram Feed.) Of course, history reveals that a guard allowed the enemy to enter through a gate and compromise the wall’s security. 1500 miles of wall compromised by one traitor in the gate.
In our spiritual lives, we have that same traitor.
(Photo: Standing on the Great Wall of China)
The Traitor in the Gates—the Flesh
The flesh, or sinful nature, still exists within each of us who are Christians. True, God has declared us righteous through Christ, but He will only make us righteous when we die or Jesus returns for us. Until then, we struggle with the flesh (Romans 7:15). A simple warning: don’t underestimate the deceitfulness of the traitor in the gate.
Dr. Bill Lawrence said it better than I can:
The flesh is the traitor in the gates . . . that claims to assist the believer in righteousness but is actually sold to sin and will resist God at every turn. Because of this treachery the flesh is the most dangerous enemy the believer faces—the deceptive, destructive fifth column that opens the door to the world and the devil and destroys every effort at righteousness. . . . Only the Holy Spirit frees the believer from the flesh, and this happens only when the believer faces the flesh directly, assumes responsibility for its deviousness, and denies its control through walking by the Spirit. All believers must choose between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. —Dr. Bill Lawrence
We may erect a great wall around our lives and hearts—a barrier intended to protect us from falling. But when we think we’re strong enough to stay faithful on our own, we have handed the flesh the gate keys.
Here are some of my pictures from China.