April 7 I Tuesday
1 Samuel 7-9
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” —Galatians 5:16
The moment we become a Christian, not only do we have freedom from sin, we are also indwelt by the Holy Spirit who becomes our helper, counsellor and guide. Although the Holy Spirit enters into us and we become a new creation, we are a new creation living in an old body. Despite being set free from the penalty and the power of sin, we have not been set free from the presence of sin in our world around us and in our condition.
Paul describes this very conflict we experience every day, “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). What does Paul mean by “flesh?” The Greek word for “flesh” is sarx, which appears about 147 times in the New Testament and used by Paul about 91 times. We can understand “flesh” as what we are by natural birth in Adam. The flesh is this human reality that we were born into: the broken thinking that exists with our past behaviour, our old wiring and the ways of the world where we are wanting to acquire as much as we can and live any way we please.
Paul explains, “The acts of the flesh 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.” The flesh twists others into objects of our desire or objects of our disdain––the exact opposite of love your neighbour. Paul admonishes us on the outcome of this lifestyle, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
This should not be confused with temptation because temptation is not sin. Instead, Paul is talking about the person who proclaims that they believe in Jesus but has no fruitfulness, no evidence of the Holy Spirit in their life and their lifestyle is characterized by the acts of the flesh. For example, if Joe said he is a vegetarian but we saw him eating chicken, steak and bacon, we would think one of two things: either Joe does not know what vegetarian means or he is not a vegetarian.
If we proclaim faith in Christ but live according to the flesh, we either do not know what it means to be a Christian or we are not a Christian.
May we seek to live a life that reflects what it means to be a Christian in this world and not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Prayer: Lord God, help me live a life that truly reflects what it means to be a Christian and not gratify the desires of the flesh. Thank You Lord that by Your Spirit working in me, I am able to have victory over sin. Praise You!