“… those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)
Paul is talking about what it looks like to be a child of God: Led by the Spirit. Putting to death the deeds of the body. Suffering for Jesus’ sake. Setting our minds on the things of the Spirit.
The opposite is true for those who are in the flesh. Their focus is on “self”: Self-confidence, self-gratification, self-acceptance, self-love. They are led by the things that benefit themselves without a thought of what benefits the Kingdom of God.
Or are they?
Can’t a Christian have a tiny bit of “self” and still be ok? Does God really insist I lose my identity?
I don’t see Paul making provisions for anything other than total submission. It seems he is telling us we are either led by the Spirit, or we’re not.
Oh God, I don’t want any of me left in this body. I want you to fill me, to transform me, to live in and through me. I want to look like You, talk like You, live like You lived while you were here on earth. I want to see people like You see them, love them like You love them. Forgive me for the times when I allow myself to be led by anything other than your Spirit, even if those things sound good. I want to please YOU alone. Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.