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Cruella and The Flesh
By Zelda Dominguez
In 101 Dalmatians, the villainess Cruella De Vil is obsessed and idolizes fur, doing anything to get it. In a rage, she yells at her minions, “I want the job done tonight! Anyway you like. Poison them, drown them, bash them in the head. I don’t care how you kill the little beasts, but do it and do it now!”
As I pondered this story, a deeper message came to me. I focused on Cruella. I noticed she was rude, demeaning, materialistic, covetous, selfish, short-tempered, deceitful, argumentative, hateful, and envious. That’s not even all her attributes, and that is a pretty sad description. Would you be proud of an introduction like that?
Galatians 5: 19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are revealed, which are these: adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, selfishness, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I previously warned you, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Who does that sound like? Cruella had characteristics of what the bible describes as the works of the flesh. Living for the flesh, we simply mean a person that lives according to one’s desires. Further, when we say that someone lives according to their flesh, we often use in terms of the most carnal of impulses.
A related turn of phrase identifies certain sins as “carnal” sins, from Latin caro, carnis, meaning “flesh.” But the definition of this word flesh in the Greek is sarx, and denotes the early nature of men and women apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God.
You see, we all have this lower nature. Picture this: as ugly natured, mean spirited, self-centered, deceitful, relentless and vicious, as Cruella was, we too have some form of her in us figuratively. Man, woman, all of us, because of the Fall of Man.
From when I was very young, I remember being a good kid. At the same time, I see now, baby Cruella lived with me also. Smiling, “Yes I will mom,” but secretly doing the opposite. I remember enjoying doing something to get my brother in trouble and not be discovered. My evil twin would act like I was crying, even real tears. My mother would appear, “What did you do to her?” Id fake cry louder with my face grimaced, then turn around when my mom couldn’t see, Id smile with a big grin at him! “Look, see she’s faking!,” as he pointed to me. It always worked; he got in trouble, and I never got caught. At this point, I knew the power of my roommate Cruella.
Even when I didn’t want to do wrong I’d hear the flesh rise in me and as I grew, there were bigger actions, temptations and cravings. There is this dance battle with Ms. De Vil going on inside.
Paul knew what I’m talking about. Listen to what he says in Romans 7; 21-23, “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.”
It is the battle of the self-life and the Christ-life. We are Body, Soul (thoughts, emotions, reason, will), and Spirit (where Holy Spirit takes residence and comes alive thru salvation). Prior to that, my Cruella sat ruling over these areas. She still will try to call the shots. We’ve given Jesus complete control over our spirit, but must also invite him into the other areas of our life.
Our lower nature wars against our soul, and attacks without warning. It will not stop until the flesh is dethroned, allowing the Spirit of God access to rule our entire lives.
We laugh at the Cruella analogy and even see humor in movies/TV, and real life where the flesh takes control. Madea goes to Jail, Fried Green Tomatoes and Malcom in the Middle have funny parking lot scenes with over the top revenge taken.
But don’t we see that real life drama on social media or the news? I experienced a Cruella driver with road rage the other day. Who knows what she was irate about, but she but passed me on the left side and then suddenly stopped in order for me to hit her. I had to slam on my brakes as not to. She pulled away and smiled, waving her middle finger.
- We need to be alert. Don’t get into a false sense of security.
“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall”
– 1 Corinthians 10:12
- You can’t trust your flesh. I hear follow your heart or do what feels good, and the recent chant YOLO. Look at it this way. Like the visual of two dogs fighting. One is the flesh, one is the spirit. Whichever dog we feed the most will grow, gain strength, and win. The one we starve will weaken and die.
“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reaps corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
– Galatians 6:8
- Your flesh does not fear God (this was a mind blower). What do you mean? I love God! Cruella takes over in the story and is ruthless, so is our flesh. Our flesh doesn’t look at God’s judgment, care who you are, or is afraid of what God says. It says, I’m going to do what I want, and is sneaky. The flesh looks for our weaknesses, wars against our soul, opposes God. And it isn’t just always predictable in a dark disguise, but it can pop up in church setting or where you least expect.
How can we fight this? We can’t through our own strength, discipline, knowledge, technique, or determination.
“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
– Romans 7:25a
“Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”
– Galatians 5:16
Through yielding to His Holy Spirit, we have victory. The struggle is real, but you can have an ongoing transformation. God promises to finish what he begins. If we ignore or do nothing, our raging sidekick will take her place. Choose and believe the work of the Cross was enough to pay for freedom from sin for us. Come to Christ for the cure; then daily relinquishing control of our entire life. It’s ours for the asking.