Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;1 Peter 2:11(KJV)
We are engaged in a spiritual war, and in order to gain an inner victory of the soul during our earthly walk, we are to abstain from fleshly lusts and carnal desires which war against the soul. But this requires us to be able to say NO to the continuous pull of the flesh and to resist the old sin nature, that constantly and consistently is at enmity with our new life in Christ, our new born-again spirit which was made alive by faith in Christ. And so we are called to "abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."
In order to do so and to have victory over our fleshly lusts, we have to say NO to all that is from the old sin nature. These fleshly lusts are the sinful cravings, passions, and desires that lurk deep within us, but are not under the control of the Holy Spirit.
The preeminent battle in the life of every believer is this ongoing fight against the lusts of our old, internal, sinful nature which, though severed at the Cross, is still rooted within our inner soul.
Temptations of the world and attacks from the devil are not the principle enemies of the soul, but the internal, fleshly lusts of our fallen nature. And we have a choice. We can either respond by faith or we can react in the flesh. For only in the power of the Spirit we can overcome external temptations and trials of life and do all that God desires of us.
It is by in His power (and not our own), that we conquer the ongoing internal lusts of the sin nature. We can grow in grace and mature in the faith when we choose to abstain from fleshly lusts, which can only be carried out in the power of His Spirit.
No wonder both Paul and Peter BESEECH us to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against our very life - our soul.
When we yield to the Spirit of life, we will be victorious. However, it is a choice that each believer has to make: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."
Lord, my new spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. Help me to make the right choices when I am confronted with the lusts and desires of the flesh, in the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.