The flesh is against the Spirit…
May 1st, 2019
No, it’s not an American Indian spirit ritual. Not a quest of the soul to unite one’s spirit with those of our ancestors.
Simply stated, walking in the Spirit is the act of being fully accepting of the direction of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:16-18 (CSB)
Walking in the Spirit is more than just doing what God wants us to do. It’s more than just trying to subject oneself to the God providence. Walking in the Spirit is a choice we make. It is the willful act of full and complete obedience to the Lord’s direction for our lives.
Read that statement again, “willful act of full and complete obedience”. We don’t simply do as we are commanded, instead, we have a desire to be in concert with that which we are commanded to do. It becomes walking in the Spirit because it is the Holy Spirit that imparts that desire. The desire to subject oneself to the will of God is not something we come by naturally.
It is the surrender of self-will to the will of the Spirit. Not because we have to, but because we want to.
Now consider, if our natural state would be to satisfy self-interest, how would we then find ourselves desiring to satisfy the interest of the Lord’s choosing.
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (CSB)
Most of us who believes in Jesus, are aware when we surrender our lives to the Lord, there is a transformation that takes place.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (CSB)
“If anyone is in Christ”, they become a new creation. The old has fallen by the wayside and no longer are we defenseless to the flesh and its desires. The new has come, and we are implanted with divine power and a divine nature that pushes back on the desires of the flesh.
Our ability to go directly to the Father is a product of this transformation that takes place. The cleansing power of the blood of Christ Jesus obliterates the sin in our lives and fills us with his divine power and nature. Scripture goes so far as to say that we are adorned with Christ Jesus’ robes of righteousness.
This divine nature directly opposes the nature of the flesh. Here is where the choice comes into play. It is by our choice which of these natures will win out in our lives. It is a binary choice, just as lighting a candle or snuffing it out is; the candle is lit, or it isn’t. There is no middle ground, no place of common community.
Don’t become partners with those who do not believe. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14 (CSB)
This passage is often reference when believers are being encouraged to not enter relationships with nonbelievers. While it is appropriate, that application of this scripture doesn’t go deep enough into the fabric of its context.
It does says “Don’t become partners with those who do not believe.” But the ‘why’ of this is revealed later in the verse, “what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness?” And most importantly, “what fellowship does light have with darkness?”
Just what fellowship does light have with darkness? Darkness can’t overwhelm the light. When we light a candle the darkness flees. The presence of that light directly results from God placing his Spirit in us. The intensity of that light is a choice we make on a moment by moment basis.
Jesus first said that he was the Light of the World.
Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 (CSB)
See what is going on here?
Anyone who truly follows Jesus, a.k.a. becomes his disciple, “will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” Light on and never to be turned off!
Now we begin to understand what this choice business is all about. When we choose to follow Jesus, we have his light in us. There is another choice we make which determines, to what intensity the light is to burn.
When we get to where we have allowed that divine nature to flourish in our lives and suppress the nature of the flesh, we then begin walking in the Spirit. We want to do what Jesus commands us, because it pleases us to please him! Spirit Walking is the full-in, intensity at max, choice we make to allow the Spirit of God dominion over our being.
This is the freedom that Jesus spoke of.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32 (CSB)
The freedom from sin we felt when we first gave our lives to Christ Jesus! The freedom that comes from his light and His Spirit living in us! This results in something profound.
“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (CSB)
His light in us, turned up and glowing for the world to see. This passage in Matthew could be considered the preamble to the Great Commission found at the end of the Book of Matthew.
You can go read Matthew 28:18-20. Some only consider verses 19-20 to be the Great Commission but I like including verse 18 as well because it demonstrates the point at which Jesus transfers his authority to disseminate the Gospel. We are given the command to go and make disciples for Jesus; verse 18 gives us his authority to do so!
Let’s do some Spirit Walking.
In the Grace of Jesus!