The Spirit Filled Believer
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"The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41).

There is a real study in contrasts in the words willing and weak. One describes a forwardness, the other a backwardness. One denotes eagerness, the other reticence. One is forthright and aggressive, suggesting taking the initiative; the other is reluctant and apathetic, implying indecisiveness or a lack of ability.

Let's take a closer look at each word individually:

The Greek word translated willing in this verse is prothumos (proth'-oo-mos). The Greek prefix pro means "in front of" or "ahead of." Thumos refers to passion, ardor, enthusiasm, hard breathing. Thus, prothumos is a description of the spirit of man activated and energized by the Holy Spirit. In that case we could say, "The spirit indeed is ready, alert, forward, eager, prompt, willing; the flesh is not."

The flesh is a good description of human nature or the qualities man inherited from Adam. You would think that with all his other improvements, man would have learned to sharpen his spiritual capacities. Not so. In John 6:63, Jesus says: "The flesh (human nature) profits nothing; it is the spirit that quickens and makes alive." Paul tell us in Galatians 5:7 that the fleshly man and the spirit man are at war with each other.

The word translated weak is asthenes (as-then-ace'), meaning "impotent" or "powerless." It is very close to the Greek word asthma, "shortness of breath." We could read this verse: "The spiritual man is breathing hard, eager and ready for action while the natural man is out of breath and unable to participate."

To resolve this dilemma, we are told by Paul to walk in the spirit, and then we will not fulfill the tendencies of the flesh.

Source: The Spirit-Filled Believer's Daily Devotional by Dick Mills
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

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