In this world in which we live, we can certainly relate to the rest of the apostle's instruction, in which he writes of 'the flesh'. with 'its passions and desires'. If one were to enter into a study of the Eastern religions, such as Buddhism & the like, one would likely find much the same sort of language, instructing us to transcend ( not to ignore ) our passions & desires. Passions & desires, while completely natural ( NOT sinful, though we SHOULD take great care in their exercise ), should be nourished & indeed transcended, or 'crucified' because, while they ARE an integral part of 'us', we are more than our passions & desires & thus rather than being 'ruled' ( to use biblical language again-Genesis 4:7 ) by them, we should rather 'rule over' them, enjoying them, instead of using them to manipulate & control!
'How then', you might ask, 'does one go about this 'crucifying the 'flesh'?' Should we, like many who have gone before, deny our passions & desires, even to the point of mutilation, as a literal interpretation of the apostle's language might lead to? No, that would be akin to making the same mistake that Nicodemus made when he wondered if one would have to re-enter his or her mother's womb in order to be 'born again' ( John 3:4 ). To 'crucify the flesh', whether following the apostle's instruction, or adhering to a more Eastern tradition, one must simply rise above those passions & desires, realizing that they are only 'flesh' & not what truly motivates us. As Spirit, though we inhabit 'the flesh', we are NOT that 'flesh' & so must naturally use that 'flesh' ( biology ) to further spiritual awareness, rather than using our spiritual awareness to further our knowledge ( lust ) of the passions & desires of our 'flesh'!
The magickal practice of meditation can help us to transcend 'the flesh', from which come our passions & desires. By following, for example, the divine instruction found in the Hebrew Scriptures ( Psalm 46:10 ), 'Be still, and know that I [ am ] God', we become accustomed to our divine nature & rather than living for our passions & desires, we find that they instead pale in comparison to the Glory that we ARE! Now, before one accuses me of teaching that we are equal to the Source of All ( Life ), as Jesus Himself was accused of claiming, understand that while we most certainly ARE, in our divine nature, a part of that Source, we cannot, or should not, rather, teach that we ARE that Source: as I like to say, 'I didn't put that mountain there; did you?!'
We are most certainly the masters of our own destiny, but ours alone; no one else's! Only WE can 'crucify the flesh, with its passions & desires'. When we endeavor to force others, through whatever means, to 'crucify' their flesh, that is but a sign that we have yet to 'crucify' our own! It is not up to us to make sure that everyone around us follows in our footsteps: like Jesus, we must simply set an example by following in His exalted footsteps. When those around us realize the futility of following after their passions & desires, finding instead that while these are most certainly to be nourished & enjoyed, they should NEVER 'rule' us: our divine nature naturally reveals its ascendancy. I say 'our' because IT is one & the same, neither ours nor theirs!
Jesus, as the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, was most certainly the 'only begotten Son' ( John 3:16, I John 4:9 ( Hebrews 11:17? ) of God ( Hebrew 'Elohim', Greek 'Theos' )! His Father, however, is One & the same as the ( spiritual ) 'Father' that we as Christians ( 'little Christs' ) claim, so is it truly blasphemy to claim, as Jesus did, equality with that 'Father', which is, after all, simply a personification ( perception? ) of that which IS? The Source of All Life, of which we are a manifestation, or part, is the Energy of which the Universe is made & of which the Jewish Messiah came, some 2,000 years ago, to set the example, not just for the Jews & Gentiles to follow, but for the entire world to emulate. Though what some call 'centering', we may realize this our true ( divine ) nature; that we ARE to our 'world' what Jesus was to His & that although we may not perfectly ( ? ) emulate Him: knowing our true nature & thus our divine capabilities, we thus are enabled to accomplish, as He Himself said, 'greater [ works ]' ( than He did-John 14:12 ). Is this to say that, by doing thusly, we ARE greater than Jesus? By no means! We are simply Sons & Daughters of God, able to accomplish these 'greater' [works ], though certainly, the choice is up to us ( individually ) & obviously, not all choose to manifest their Divinity!
Charles Haddon Shank