But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh…And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:16, 24
Life is full of transitions. When we get to college, we start a new life. When we get married we start a new life. When we have children, we start a new life. Later when we retire, we start a new life. Life is all about transitions, challenges and choices. The more drastic the change, the greater the adjustment needed.
No transition in our lives should call for a more drastic change than when we commit our lives to Christ. In fact, Scripture says when we do this, there is such a drastic change, which takes place we become a new creation. Paul describes this as life in the Spirit. This life in the Spirit should make us no longer have strong desires for the things the world has to offer, but instead to seek those things with eternal impacts.
New believers are often surprised to discover, after the initial joy of committing their lives to Christ has worn down a little, they struggle to live a new life. They expected everything would be fresh, new, wonderful, and would somehow keep them from experiencing the spiritual battle against the flesh we each face daily. They also have the misconception being a follower of Christ means no more pain, struggle, worry or defeat.
They have to go through the learning process to understand even though they are now in Christ, the forces between the Spirit and flesh are in a constant battle and the choices are never free from conflict. Paul describes this very struggle in Romans 7: For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
This may seem discouraging, but we have to understand we are not immune to this struggle which rages within. We have the freedom and the power to choose whether we will be dominated by the Spirit or by the flesh. In fact, we are commanded to make this choice — or more accurately to continually make this choice. This is why Jesus said we are to die to self daily.
When we die to self and decide to follow the Spirit’s leading, we are to say yes to the commands we have been given throughout Scripture and say no to the things of the flesh. As we do this consistently we find we are living a new life — a rich life, a full life, a life that honors God and blesses people. This would seem to honor the two greatest commandments of loving God and also loving your neighbor as yourself.
ARE YOU MAKING THE GREATEST TRANSITION FROM FOLLOWING THE FLESH TO FOLLOWING THE SPIRIT?