To Walk by the Spirit and Not by the Flesh


So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 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. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. – Galatians 5:16-21

Taking an inventory of my life, there are definitely more than one not so shining moment when I have given into my flesh. These moments arose through people pleasing and caring about the opinions of others rather than seeking my identity in God, or by being a control freak and worrying about the future rather than entrusting it to God. The surrender of my flesh is a very real thing indeed.

I am grateful for how God uses His Word not to condemn us or shame us, but to encourage us and teach us. I can't help but think of King David, who was described as “a man after God's own heart.” The Lord was with David. The Lord protected David. The Lord provided for David. The Lord loved David. Yet, even David, who we look up to as a biblical hero, was not immune to the draw of the flesh, the act of sin or the consequences of sin. How could this be? How could King David be a “man after God's own heart” yet fall to the lure of the flesh? I suppose just like we all can.

Jesus challenges us in John 8:7, “Let him who has not sinned, cast the first stone.” Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of the God.” Yet, God reveals in John 3:17, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” Since we all have sinned, we all need a Savior to come into the presence of God. Christ is this bridge.

And although we are saved and born again but once, just like David, we are not immune to this draw of the flesh. We each have our own spiritual battle. We can't measure the severity of our sin against the sin of another, for there is no measuring stick when it comes to sin. But there is good news. John 10:10 teaches us that Christ has come to give us life to the fullest. He has come to walk with us daily. As we walk with Christ, we learn to walk in the power of the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Whatever it is you may be facing today, know that God loves and cares for you. There is no sin too deep, too dark or too secret to bring to Him. Just like David, we can come to God and confess to Him, “I have sinned.” Although God does not necessarily remove the consequences of our sin, He scoops us up in His loving arms, is quick to forgive and loves us. Don't wait for the illusion of that perfect moment – the time is now. In your First 20 today, come to Him just as you are, and share with Him openly. Let Him bring you the freedom of walking in the Spirit that only Christ brings. Friends, let us remember that this is a daily surrender, but let us also remember that this is a daily freedom. He is the one true answer to that for which we hunger and thirst.

Our God hears, 
Jennifer Cardinal