The daily work of God's Holy Spirit Pt. 2 (galatians 5:16-18)

March 7th, 2024

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 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. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Last week, we began to think about the work of the Holy Spirit and how we might readily walk in the Spirit each and every day. It all starts with knowing that we have full access to Him. In fact, verse 16 speaks to us as if we already have immediate access to God's Holy Spirit. I wonder if we deal with Him in this manner? Often times when our human flesh is weak, tired and vulnerable to all kinds of temptations and evils, we wonder where God's Spirit has gone. Somehow, we felt an amazing rush of God's presence at church with His people and then in the middle of our week we hit a low. This is because we are treating God's Holy Spirit as a feeling not a person. Here is the truth, if we are looking for a feeling we may never find it or, we may find the wrong things. Paul never instructed us to feel the Holy Spirit, He said to walk in the Spirit.

Let us consider Paul's usage of the word "flesh". The flesh is the realm of our humanity where we feel and sense everything. Our flesh is quite literally the home for our feelings. In many ways, how we feel directs how we act in the flesh and this is the place where sin dominates. Frankly, there is nothing good nor helpful in our flesh! This world only gives us the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). And, the mind governed by the flesh is hostile toward God and cannot obey His commands (Romans 8:7-8). Therefore, if we're trying to gain more fleshly feelings in order to walk in the Spirit, we will surely deceive ourselves in the process. What shall we do then? How do we walk in the Spirit? Here is the mindset that should govern our entire thinking about God's Holy Spirit: The desires of the Spirit and the desires of flesh are completely opposed to one another. We cannot use the flesh to walk out the desires of the Spirit.

How then can we still live in our flesh but also walk in the Spirit? I will give us four thoughts.

1) Renounce and Abandon Your Flesh Everyday

Anytime we convince ourselves that we can defeat sin on our own and win the Christian life by our own power, we already lose. We cannot overestimate our ability to please God with our own human strength. Begin to train your mind to detest and distrust your flesh. Make no provisions for it (Romans 13:14).

2) Confess the Weakness of Your Flesh Everyday

You must come to God in sheer desperation and frailty. Instead of saying to yourself "I can do this!", turn to God and confess that you cannot. Paul teaches us that God's power is made perfect in our weakness and that we should actually boast in our human imperfections (2 Corinthians 12:9). Name your temptations, confess your weak points and expose the darkness within.

3) Cry Out to God for Spiritual Power and Help

This is where you begin to walk in the Spirit. You have now turned away from your flesh as a source of strength. You have crucified it so that it is weak and frail. Now, you are emptied of worldly desires and completely open to God's influence. Cry out to God in honest prayer and ask Him to govern your life today by the power of the Holy Spirit (read Romans 8). This singular prayer cannot be underestimated. The Holy Spirit is ready to help only when we forsake our flesh. For the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).

4) Soak Your Thoughts in Scripture Continually

This last step is the seal of the Spirit's work in us. Take time to pull together passages of spiritual help for yourself. Find scriptures that speak directly to your trials, temptations and troubles. Read, memorize, pray and replay those truths over and over. Now, when you move about the world you will not be conformed to its ways and desires. Instead, you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind in knowledge of God (Romans 12:2)

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