“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:16, 26 / ESV)
Living each moment in submission to the Holy Spirit helps us overcome our sinful habits and desires.
Hello – please allow me to introduce myself as the world’s most impatient person. With many places to go and much to do, you’ll usually find me walking fast, driving fast, and generally being in a hurry. That said, if I come up behind someone in a store with a slower pace than mine or a driver who actually obeys the speed limit (who does that?), my impatience can quickly evolve into brief angry thoughts. “C’mon, man – I don’t want to celebrate two birthdays while you absentmindedly meander through the store! Move! Slower traffic, use the right lane – only Mach 2 drivers are allowed in the left lane!”
Though seldom expressed verbally, my response sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Aside from being a selfish human reaction, it’s also a deplorable characteristic for a follower of Christ. Rest assured, the Spirit of God constantly convicts me about this failure. He reminds me of His patience with me and exposes my proud and selfish attitude as the basis for my impatience. As I consciously yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit, He reveals more of Himself to me.
As humans, our carnal desires assail us every day. Impatience, anger, pride, lust, jealousy, rebellion, covetousness, sexual impurity – all are impulses that wage war against what the Holy Spirit is trying to do in our lives. When we gratify such sinful passions, we reject the Spirit and impede our own spiritual growth. But when we recognize such traits as sinful, we awaken to God’s truth regarding spiritual warfare. Most of the time, our battle isn’t against demons as much as it is against our own carnal nature.
Paul says the secret to overcoming our sinful desires and passions is to “walk by the Spirit.” With our old nature crucified with Christ, let’s approach each moment as alive in and yielded to Him. We’ll know we’re accomplishing this when the fruit of the Spirit is genuinely and consistently exhibited in our lives. Remember, God’s true children eventually take on His family resemblance.
Now, if you’ll excuse me – I’m in a hurry and gotta go. Just kidding!
- About which sinful desire or passion is God convicting you?
- Which do you see more in your life – the works of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit?
- How much of God’s family resemblance does the lost world see in you?