God’s Spirit motivates us to live a liberated and active life, which is centered on spiritual matters. Yet, the sinful, self-centeredness that dominated our life prior to coming to Christ still interferes with our ability to walk in God’s Spirit. These contrary desires war within our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – and pull us in two opposing directions at the same time (Galatians 5:16-26; Romans 7).
There is no way to reconcile these two areas of thought and behavior, because the Spirit fuels the one and the flesh drives the other one. The good news is that once we are truly Born Again, God breathes His life into our spirit within us, which joins forces with our soul and influences our behavior. His constant presence within enables us to walk in the Spirit rather than in the flesh (Galatians 5:18).
If we live by the flesh, we are motivated by the destructive behavior of impure thoughts; immoral pleasures; demonic practices; placing people, things and activities before God; hatred and bitterness, anger and jealousy, complaining and criticism, exclusivity and intolerance; worthless worship; alienation; ruthless rivalry; making enemies; addictions and frenzied grasping at illusive goals (Galatians 5:19).
Even authentic Christians can decline morally and fall back into compromised living. If we use our freedom in Christ for this type of behavior, it bars us from the gates of God’s Kingdom (Galatians 5:20). However, if we choose to live according to Godly principles and wisdom, He brings fruitful blessings into our life (1 John 3:9, 1:9). Holiness allows God’s spiritual fruit to permeate our life (Galatians 5:21-22).
Desiring to have our own way or to follow the crowd is no longer part of our thought process. Self-effort is useless; it only hinders our walk with God. Our human nature is crucified with Christ and our new spiritual conviction turns into submission and obedience to Him (Colossians 3:3-4). Our life flows from God’s will and requires little effort on our part (Galatians 5:23-24). We have God’s love, power and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Father God, we thank You for preparing our salvation before You ever created the world. You knew that our stubbornness and pride would prevent us from submitting to Your will before You ever created the first person. However, You also knew that some hearts would be humbled by life, and would eventually reach the point that we realize that we need You both now and for eternity. Thank You for crucifying the Lamb before time even began (Revelation 13:8).
Thought for the Day:
Our life in the Spirit is not an ethereal concept or a sentimental attitude but a reality, which infiltrates every area of our life. – Galatians 5:25-26