“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17, NKJV).
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24, NKJV). To please God, we must be foolish for God.
What is the flesh in this context? It is that old human nature that lusts to get satisfaction from worldly pleasures and desires. The flesh by nature is arrogant and wants to be independent. The flesh is more interested in pride and prestige, and always in search of recognition, “A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart” (Prov. 18:2, NKJV).
We cannot please God in the flesh (Rom. 8:8), and any such attempt would make us more religious and carnal, producing desires that are totally at variance with the desires produced by the spirit. When we live according to the dictates of the flesh, spiritual death is inevitable (Rom. 8:13). We must learn not to lean on our own understanding (the flesh) but trust in the Lord with all our heart (Prov. 3:5).
To do otherwise, we would end up frustrating the grace of God, for when we believe that righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain (Gal. 2:21), “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. But he who heeds counsel is wise” (Prov. 12:15, NKJV).
The word of God has transformative power. There is power in God’s word. The word of God is spirit and life (John 6:63). We must learn to receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save our souls (James 1:21) having recognized that there is nothing good in our flesh (Rom. 7:18).
It is only by studying and obeying the word of God that we can do His will. God is building a Kingdom and He needs serious minded believers He can use to expand and extend His Kingdom here on earth. God has no use for carnal believers, who trusts Christ for their salvation but still relies on their own energy and effort to live this Christian life.