Live by the spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the spirit, and what the spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other to prevent you from doing what you want.
Does this speak to anyone's experience other than mine? Or we might go to Romans 7:
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate... But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right but I cannot do it.Here again we're talking about two different agendas at play. "I" (my spirit/soul that has been regenerated) want to do what's right, but this flesh that is also "me" seems to want other stuff that conflicts. Paul goes so far as to say that it is not "I" that do the bad stuff, but the sin dwelling in my flesh.
This is tough stuff to explain unless we have recourse to the actual, physical flesh that has become habituated in certain ways. Remembering that our brains are part of that, and that the neural pathways that have been formed govern (they don't dictate completely except in extreme situations) my thoughts, attitudes, emotions, etc. Here, then, is why spiritual formation must pay attention to our fleshly existence.