Sunday, February 25, 2007

Walking in the Spirit

You know this battle that we have to deal with every day gets tiring doesn't it. You know the battle I'm talking about. It's the battle of which nature we're going to follow or obey. Our old nature or our new? Sometimes I just wish that this battle never existed. Why when we give our lives to Christ couldn't He just fill us with His Spirit and because we now have His Spirit indwelling inside of us, we would always be strong and able to resit sin and live according to His purpose easily from that day forward? Of course I already know the answer to that question... God doesn't force Himself on anyone. He has always allowed people to choose Him. To choose Him as their Savior after He's revealed Himself and to choose whether to obey and follow Him or not. Unfortunately for us we will have to wait until we are with Jesus in heaven before the absence of our old nature and desires become a reality. Until then we fight the fight, and depending upon our relationship with Jesus and our ability to focus on Him greatly affects whether we have victory or not with our obedience to follow His will for our lives. The good news is that we can always have victory. Did you know that? Did you know that you can always have victory over the sin in your life? Did you know that your old nature can take a back seat in your life. Yes the temptation will always be there, but victory to resist is always present. Let's look at the following verses found in the book of Galatians 5:16-18.

(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 you do not do the things that you wish.
(18) But if you are lead by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians goes on to describe in the next few verses the evidence in our lives of following the flesh verses the evidence in our lives of following the Spirit (describing the fruit of the Spirit). The reason these things are mentioned is so we can know without a shadow of a doubt which nature we are following.
If you're like me, you have no problem knowing immediately which nature you're following or obeying, the struggle is in being able to overcome the desires of the old nature and stay the course for Christ, in other words stay in His will.

Verse 18 is critical for us to grab a hold of. "But if you are lead by the Spirit, you are not under the law." This is such a powerful verse. What it tells me is that if I follow the Spirit leading in my life I am not under the law of sin. I can overcome my selfish and sinful desires and follow Christ in whatever it is He wants me to do. The secret to this success is found in verse 16... as we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Verse 17 says that the flesh and the Spirit are contrary to one another, meaning that they are opposites. If we are following one then we are not able to follow the other. It's one or the other! Clear and simple. To follow the Spirit rather than the flesh happens only when we are walking in the Spirit. So how do we walk in the Spirit?

First we have to live in the Spirit, we have to crucify our flesh with all it's passions and desires. Galatians 5:24 says... And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with it's passions and desires." You see, when we give our life to Christ, we crucify our sin. We turn from our sinful ways and determine to follow Christ and His ways. But because of our old sinful nature still within us, we will still be tempted to follow and go our old ways. So we must commit our sinful desires to God's control, day by day, hour by hour and moment by moment! We must draw on the Spirits power to overcome the desire to follow our old ways.

Galatians 5:25 says... If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
What Paul is saying here is this... because we're saved, we should live like it! We need to stay in step with the Holy Spirits leading because the Spirit is our source of strength and power in our new life with Christ. we can't let anyone or anything determine our values or standards in any area of our life.

To wrap this up... I know that I struggle. It bothers me and often Satan wants me to think that maybe, just maybe, I'm not really saved at all. Have you ever felt that way? You know that your not living right, you know about the evidence of a person following the flesh rather than the Spirit and sometimes you see some of those tendencies in your life. Because of that, Satan fills your head with terrible thoughts about doubting your salvation and he works to make you a poor witness for Christ, because of the guilt he can place upon you. BUT DON"T BE FOOLED! The bible makes it very clear that if we don't walk in the Spirit and crucify our sinful desires every minute of every day, we will struggle and not do the things we want or know we should do. When this happens and if you find yourself not being lead by the Spirit... run back to Christ!

My guess is that your prayer life is suffering and you're finding it difficult to pray.
My guess is that you are not reading your bible regularly anymore.
My guess is that you are not spending any quite time with God anymore.
My guess is that you are not in Sunday school or a bible study anymore.
My guess is that you are not engaged or involved in any ministry in your church anymore.

I speak from experience... and it's real simple to get back on track. CRUCIFY your sinful lifestyle. It's not that you never knew Christ and you never got saved. You know you did! The problem is that you have forgotten what it means to live for Christ, to walk with Christ every day. You have slipped back to the ways of your old nature and you are weak and vulnerable. Go back to Jesus and repent! He has the power to restore all the above areas immediately in your life. Again... it's your choice. Who are you living for? Live for Christ!

God bless you and may you always walk in the Spirit.

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