You will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside. — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
If the Holy Spirit had been removed from your life last week, would your days have looked different? That’s a heavy question, isn’t it? Were there any moments last week when you thought, Whew! Man! I am so glad the Holy Spirit is in my life because if He weren’t, that would have gone so differently.
If we’re honest, we have to admit that, even as believers, we can walk independent of God “in the flesh,” rather than depending on the Spirit. And while we might be able to choose between flesh and Spirit, the two aren’t complementary—they cannot act harmoniously in the midst of the same circumstance. Truly, this makes our decision tough because the flesh is wired to want the things that God doesn’t desire for us.
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (Galatians 5:17)
If you’re defining Christian freedom as “getting to do what you want,” then you aren’t defining it biblically. More than that, you are missing out on the work God desires to do in you and through you. The more often you reject the desires of the flesh, the less conflict exists within you.
So what’s the best option? Consistently walk in the Spirit while learning to recognize the flesh. Here are some notorious ways the flesh reveals itself:
- Self-sufficient flesh convinces you that you can do this on your own. You’re strong enough, good-looking enough, and smart enough. Self-sufficient flesh turns to God only when all personal ingenuity and resources are exhausted.
- Religious flesh follows all the rules. You struggle with piety and judgment of others. You independently try to be good.
- Indulgent flesh seeks numbness or comfort through means other than God. Society calls it an addictive personality as you latch on to things like food, shopping, fantasy novels, substance abuse, or pornography.
- Sensuous flesh is drawn toward sensuous things. If it feels good, you do it. You feed desires and find comfort, numbness, or even self-worth and validation through sex.
Yeah, all those things might feel like freedom at first. But it’s a trap that keeps you from doing what you really want to do in your spirit. The choice is yours today, and what a choice it is: You can start dancing in the freedom of a Spirit-led life right now, or you can march as a slave to your own flesh.
Lord, I thank You for Your patience. I am so grateful that I don’t need to have it all together in order to be part of Your family. Through Your leading, I can walk in dependence on You. I choose You today. I surrender my self-sufficient, religious, indulgent, sensuous fleshly desires to You. I ask that You move through me, leading me moment by moment in a continual walk with Your Spirit today. Amen.