Galatians 5:16 promises; “Walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
There you have it. True freedom from desires of the flesh. I do not know about you, but for me, wrestling with my fleshly desires is a daily struggle. Attempting to act like nothing is wrong or fight them off myself always causes me to lose. When Temptation comes banging at the door and I hide, it breaks in anyway and there I am, cowering while my flesh wrecks my life and pulls me away from the path God wants me to walk. If I answer the door in all my shiny armor thinking, “Not this time, I got this,” BAM! Down I go as my flesh pierces through that thin facade of strength in mere moments and I lie bleeding on the cold ground wondering how in the world I ever thought I could handle the pressure alone.
In my experience, it is only when I stop the internal struggle and ask Jesus to get the door that I find peace and discover where my real strength lies.
Ephesians 2:8 By grace through faith are we saved. It is not from ourselves, but the gift of God.
While this verse is referring to the salvation of our souls, we can take solace that because of this salvation, we no longer have to live in fear and shame and pain and be slaves to the sinful desires of the flesh! Nothing is more exciting than not having to stand alone! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Psalm 3:5-6
For so very long, most of us keep running headlong at sin thinking to tackle it ourselves, always crawling away in defeat. Even a temporary victory accomplished on our own is no victory at all because, guess what, all we did was postpone our defeat which will most likely be worse now because our pride was inflated thinking we just p’owned that temptation. After all, “Pride goes before destruction, an arrogant spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 It is our nature to seek instant-gratification and short-term happiness. Thinking we know best and doing whatever makes us happy in the moment, giving no thought to consequences. Sometimes, we even do things we do not really want to, and do not understand why we could not stop ourselves when that desire never even occurred to us in the first place. It just happened and we were powerless to stop it. Paul said in Romans 7:15 “I do not understand my own actions; For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” This dude, knew what he was talking about. He could not understand why he did what he hated, but he did understand where to go to get help. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to mankind. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with temptation He will provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Stand firm on that promise and call on His escape when the need arises, and run!
Deuteronomy 1:30, 31 “The Lord your God, who is going before you, will FIGHT FOR YOU, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries His son, all the way until you reached this place.”
Run to the Lord your God when you are under attack from temptation. Flee into the arms of your savior in Jesus when you are afraid. My mother always told me growing up, that if ever I was scared for any reason, to say “When I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” which is Psalm 56:3. That sticks out in my mind to this day whenever I fear. I say it, I pray it, and I let Jesus get the door. Because of His sacrifice, we are no longer subject to the will of our flesh. Take the easy way out, seek sanctuary in His arms. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” Psalm 28:7 Whatever arises, let Him deal with it for you. Anger, greed, lust, fear, pride, biting your nails, other nervous habits you dislike or that may physically hurt you, even having class tomorrow and not being finished with your homework while you stay up blogging and wondering how on earth you will finish that project in time…Just believe He will get you through no matter what. 🙂
So, how does one “Walk in the Spirit”? It starts in the surrendering of your will to His will. Then open your heart to the Holy Spirit and let the reading of God’s Word pour out his glory and wisdom and power into your soul where it takes root and begins to grow. Nourish the seed with water from the wellspring of life now flowing within you (John 4:14) and keep feeding yourself not on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Soon, sprinting to the solace and comfort of the Prince of Peace will be a natural response when temptation strikes at you with fangs bared, dripping their acrid poison. Sin is all around us, especially on this internet machine, tempting and luring us to lower our guard. Stay ever vigilant, brothers and sisters, you are never alone in your fights.
If you are struggling with a sin or temptation in your life, I would like to pray with you. You may send me a message, leave a comment or just pray this with me, “Master, you alone hold the power to stand against the tyranny of the enemy inside. I give you my fears, my burdens, my prideful belief that I don’t need you to beat this. I do need you. I do need your strength. I cannot do it myself and I am tired of losing. I am more than a conqueror because of You who loves me. I surrender my flesh and my spirit. Your will be done, Father, not my own. Praise be to you, oh Lord. Jesus, get the door.”
I pray this with you and “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am among them.” Matthew 18:20 Lay down your burdens and pick up the cross. It is far lighter to carry.
A couple more verses of encouragement and guidance for us 🙂
Psalm 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false Gods.”