This terrifies the flesh! Through the years we each have built little "safe houses" that we retreat to when circumstances are out of our control (as if they are ever under our control!). These are places we go where the flesh feels comfortable and "safe" for a while. All of our addictions fall into this category--addiction to alcohol, food, sex, television, shopping--all are "safe houses" that dull the senses for a time. They all have undesirable consequences, but immediate relief from the present circumstances seems worth the high cost.
The Holy Spirit comes with the scalpel of the Word of God & exposes the futility of our "safe houses". Romans 8 says that the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus makes us free from the law of sin and death--its constant accusations and morbid fear of uncontrollable circumstances. The Spirit of God works in our inner man to take away our dependence on our "flesh havens". He brings Truth to bear and and exposes the lie and futility of our escapes. Oh, but how our world/flesh/devil trained flesh rebels. It is terrified! This new "freedom" that the Spirit speaks of, initially feels more terrifying than free. Believe the Word of the Invisible God in the face of my visible real circumstantial difficulty??? Oh how the flesh strains and sometimes succeeds to return to the old "safe houses", but the resulting emptiness & aloneness is greater than any momentary relief. That is because the Spirit of Life dwells in us & has given us a taste of life and the old death is now just frustrating & empty. "The body is dead because of sin."
The flesh has had years of training! It's two "drinking buddies", the world & the devil are going all out to keep their companion in the flesh fold. But again, our Loving God has made provision for this battle. "For if you live after the flesh, you will die, but if you THROUGH THE SPIRIT do put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live." Romans 8:13 And what does the Spirit do in the midst of our "flesh/spirit" battle? He strengthens our inner man (the new man) by making Christ to dwell in our hearts BY FAITH. (Ephesians 3:16-17) He convinces us in increasing measure that Christ Jesus is our only Righteousness, and He is our continual access to our Loving Heavenly Father Who Is All our Security and Peace! He convinces us that we are to live constantly at the Throne of Mercy and Grace. And bit by bit, the Truth of the Word of God begins to make inroads upon the fear and anxiety of our circumstantial existence. It is all about believing the Word of the Invisible God. May we all grow into the understanding of my mother, a dear tested and tried saint. Her words (which drove me crazy at the time) were, "God Said it, I believe it, and that settles it."