It is interesting how easy it is to fall back to gnostic dichotomous views in our life. At least in my life I find that when things go wrong, when I am struggling with sin I find that I equate the sin nature with the flesh, as in the physical, to fight sin it can almost be easy to see asceticism as the answer. In scripture when we read “flesh” it is usually the Greek word σάρξ/σαρκός and it does refer to the physical, but it can also refer to other things. One is the psychological human nature, our sin nature. When we are to no live according to the flesh, it is this nature, our sin nature that is not to be followed. In struggles with sin and faith we can not turn to asceticism, in any of its common modern day forms, to give us strength in the battle (unless God calls us to fast or do something of the like). Doing those things that our physical bodies require (sleeping, eating, etc.) are vital to living a healthy life, and depending on how we view our constitutional nature will actually have a negative effect on our spiritual life. If we accept a conditional unity(as opposed to trichotomy or dichotomy) view of our nature, or one of the similar views, we see that our immaterial and material natures are unified in our current state and the neglect of either will have a resounding effect on the other. To afflict our physical bodies in the name of conquering sin is to actually, in most cases, set ourselves back.


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