Saturday, May 30, 2009

Flesh vs. Spirit


Sometimes I wonder why it is SO hard to live the way Christ would have me live. To make choices daily that line up with His Word. To treat people the way He is commanding me to treat them…with love & forgiveness, with grace & mercy.

It is just so, so hard.

Why?

Romans 7:18-19
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

Galatians 5:17
For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

These scriptures encourage me.
They remind me that I should not be discouraged. I shouldn’t feel like it is just “too hard” to live the way the Lord asks me to live.
Of course it is hard…it goes completely against what I would “naturally do”.

But, as a Christian, I have the Holy Spirit in me.

Galatians 4:6
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

Ephesians 1:13b-14
“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.”

So why does it feel like my Spirit is fighting a losing battle with my flesh (sinful nature) most of the time?

Maybe because my flesh is getting fed a whole lot more than my Spirit!

It’s like “operating in the flesh” is my human “default mode”. It is so easy to go there. To live exactly the opposite of how I have been commanded to live. Of course it is….because it’s effortless…it comes 100% naturally.

For me, it is only when I am filled up, through time spent in the Word, prayer & worship, that it feels like my Spirit has a fighting chance.

But it is a CHOICE.

It’s a choice in how I’m going to spend my time…

Will I spend my time feeding the flesh?

It’s incredibly easy. For crying out loud, this world is like an “all-you-can-eat” buffet for the flesh…24 hours a day!

Or will I spend my time feeding my Spirit?

If I’m going to feed my Spirit, it’s going to involve making some choices that may not sound like “fun” to begin with.
After all, if I’m feeding my Spirit…I’m starving my flesh. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if my flesh is starving, it’s probably gonna growl…pretty loud sometimes!

In my own life, I may need to get off the computer and spend more time reading God’s Word.

I may need to get off the phone…drop down to my knees…and spend more time talking to the only One who really wants to hear everything I have to say.

I may need to turn off the TV for a while, and crank up some worship tunes. Lifting my hands to Him in worship as a physical sign of surrender…and allow Him to have His way with me.

Do I do all this to “impress God”? To be “good enough”?

NO.

I do it because I need to be filled up. That is the only way I’m going to have a fighting chance at beating down my flesh, and living according to the Spirit.

And when I’m living according to the Spirit…that is when true freedom, joy & happiness come!

That is when I’m living life to the fullest!

That’s when the fun really starts!

That’s when I actually start bearing GOOD fruit…

Galatians 5:16-24
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.


The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires
.”

6 comments:

  1. Wow, this is exactly where I have been lately, I need to turn off the computer, sit in my prayer chair, turn up the worship music and hit my knees, more.

    That one stepped on my toes, politely that of course.

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  2. i totally agree with you and jerriann! i was just thinking the same thing this morning...the computer, facebook!, is taking the place of some much needed one on one time with Him!

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  3. Okay. Now that was a really great post Amanda. Thanks! ~Lisa

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  4. Those words will speak, sister! And I'm fervently listening! Thank you for sharing what God has placed on your heart so that we can know He's also speaking through His word to all of us! You're such a blessing! Love, Amy

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  5. What a great post! I struggle with this at all times. Thanks for this!!!

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