Chicken Parmesan

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would (want to do).

Galatians 5:17

A friend of ours organized an escape room activity with some other couples from church. While I was looking forward to the company, I am not too savvy when it comes to these games and I was not super excited to fail yet another escape room attempt. We played men vs. women, and the women escaped their room first while us men looked for a way to turn the lights back on because they had turned them off on us. The men took the loss, but we decided we would all win by getting something to eat at one of my favorite spots. My friend, Ben, also loves this spot, and we have even discussed hosting a podcast from this location.

We arrived at the restaurant and I wanted to try something different, so I asked the waitress for some suggestions. She smiled wide and told me that I needed to try the Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti. She seemed pretty enthusiastic, so I decided to give it a try. I usually cave in to the chicken wings, but I wanted to shake some things up. A little while later, I saw a large dish coming out of the kitchen and I realized with excitement that it was my order. The dish was piled high with ziti, cheese, and chicken. I have a personal policy of not taking leftovers home, but this policy was at serious risk as the portion was huge.

I vigorously attacked my dish, my fork at the ready and my elbows out. I was at it for while, but it seemed as though I barely put a dent in that mountain of food. After a short pause, I resumed my work on it until I noticed a set of eyes on me. I don’t think Rebekah was meaning to stare me down, but I could feel her eyes look at my dish and then look at me. 21 years of marriage provides one with enough experience to know what the other person is thinking before they even say it. I could hear her words loud and clear, even though she was not saying anything. The silent words went something like this: “Are you going to eat all of that?!” I begrudgingly gave up my fork and waved the white flag. I put my head down in shame and asked the waitress for a box with about half of my food still on my plate.

I know that if Rebekah was not there, I would have trucked through that pasta dish like a fat kid on chocolate cake. I was no longer hungry, but the food tasted so good and there was still plenty left on my plate. It is often the same way when our flesh wars against the Spirit. God is all we need, but we desire to please our flesh and succumb to the lies of the devil. If we obey the Spirit, then we will resist the flesh, but if we are walking in the flesh, then we will have no chance of saying no to eating the whole plate of “pasta”. Galatians 5:16 states, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” More important than Rebekah watching me, God is watching me, and the Spirit indwells me and sees and knows all that I do. I must walk in the Spirit and be surrendered to God’s will or I cannot do the things I know are right.

Where are you today, friend? Are you struggling with your flesh? Are you feeding your flesh more than you feed your spirit? Do you look around to see who is watching, or do you pray and ask God to guide your steps and for His help to take advantage of the strength He has already given you? He has given us all we need to obey Him, even in a world that rivals Pleasure Island. Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” May we take the strength God gives us and find true freedom that lasts.

Stay in the Fight!

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