Live by the Spirit, not the Flesh

Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV)

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

After all his talk about the Law and Grace, you would think that it is not necessary to now talk about all the sins of the flesh. But the works of the flesh are a continual battle for us. No matter how things seem, we still wage war on the works of the flesh. Paul makes it clear that those who live according to the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But how can he say this, don’t we just have to believe? As James makes clear in his epistle, faith without works is dead faith. It is not about the works, but the works are evidence of the faith. The living faith that is constantly being renewed in the image of Christ Jesus. As Paul says in Romans 12:2 : “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The Holy Spirit is our deposit, our guarantee that we are in God’s family. Children and co-heirs with Christ. But the Scriptures do warn us that if we hear His voice today, not to harden our hearts. We can harden our hearts, and drive the Holy Spirit out if we choose to live the ways of the world.

So this is our challenge today. Self-evaluation! Do I really want to die to myself? Do I want to take up my cross and follow Jesus to Calvary? Although there is nothing I can do to earn His forgiveness, what can I do to show Him that I am grateful? The answers will tell you if you are on the path to God or the path that is easy. The easy path is wide, and many are taking it, straight to Hell!

Jesus said the path to God was narrow, and difficult, and there are few who find it. Me? I want to be on the narrow path. I want to serve God, even with my mistakes here and there, I want to live under His correction. His Spirit. I want to die to myself and to follow Christ, even to death.

This life is the short one. I want to reach the end of it someday, with the knowledge that I did my best to Love my God, and my fellow man—man in the universal sense—meaning humankind.

Come Holy Spirit! Fill me with Your wisdom, and strength; renew my mind, that I may be a good witness for Christ. Lord Jesus, lead me to The Father. Bring me safely into Your Kingdom!

by Virgil Stripes

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