“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” – Gal 5:16 (NIV)
When we allow Christ to come into our lives, the Holy Spirit begins to work and reform our character. Every person who accepts Christ comes with a baggage. The baggage could be where those “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” (Galatians 5: 19-21). Someone might have been struggling with any of these, but powerless in overcoming either.
The Apostle Paul writing to the Galatians explains that one must be willing to sacrifice the flesh in order to overcome the corruption of these evil influences. He writes, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (vv 24). But how does one do that, anyway? It is only by allowing the Holy Spirit begin the work of reformation that we experience change. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (vv 23- 24).
It is of no doubt that any of us may experience the corruption of the flesh in various ways. For some the struggle is with sexual immorality. There are those where it is idolatry of money. Some it is fits of rage. Some people struggle with unbridled ambition. There are those who are given to drunkenness. Some, even as believers, are quick to cause dissensions. Since Paul does not exhaust the list, we might as well add, gluttony and the use foul language. In fact, later he adds, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” (vv 24).
Paul does not say that a believer can’t suffer from any of these. Indeed, occasionally, we do find a person who has walked with Christ for years, but still burdened with “self ambition” or given to “hatred”! For all, Paul he urges us not just to recognize that these are the works of flesh, but even more, to know, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (vv 24-25).
The life of a believer is one of constantly realizing these works of flesh in us, bringing and surrendering them to the Lord!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I submit to you that my life is led by your Holy Spirit who gives us the power to overcome the works of the flesh, so that I am led by the Spirit, this I pray in Jesus’s name.