Galatians 5:16-18 NKJV
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Though you and I may be born again, the flesh is always waging war against the Spirit and this is an ongoing thing. No wonder Jesus would tell us to carry our cross daily and follow Him because the cross was an instrument of death. It is the place where we kill the flesh. For Christ to tell us to carry it daily mean that we have to make the choice to kill the flesh every day.
Paul says if you walk in the Spirit then you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is a simple yet profound and revealing statement. It means we always have a choice between the two and you cannot have both at the same time. This then means that the greatest hindrance to walking in the Spirit is the flesh.
Walking according to the flesh has its “fruits” so to speak and Paul clearly outline some of the for us in the following verses.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [d]adultery, [e]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [f]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
What the flesh wants is contrary to where the Spirit is leading us. Paul says that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. To practice means to do repeatedly, it means this is a habitual thing; this is a way of life. Now we struggle with this issues from time to time but if we truly love God and are allowing His Spirit to work in us as we read the word, pray, exercise faith and fellowship with other believers then we out to see a change where we are gradually walking away from such habits. We cannot claim to be born again and yet we still live the same life of gratifying the flesh habitually.
We always have a choice and besides we have the Holy Spirit to instruct us in the way to go and he is also the one who enables us to do the right thing.
Walk in the Spirit and you will gratify the desires and lusts of the flesh. Focus on walking in the Spirit!
What are some works of the flesh that are a consistent struggle in your life?
What happens to your faith every time you find yourself walking in these works of the flesh?
Yesterday we looked at facilitators to walking in the Spirit, read that devotion again and make it your focus to walk in the disciplines we talked about.