“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” – Galatians 5:16.
Paul says, “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” – Galatians 5:16. Paul didn’t say, ‘Don’t have the desires of the flesh.” Everyone has those desires, and it would be hypocritical to deny them. We are still of the flesh, and there is nothing wrong with the flesh – so long as it is not in the driver’s seat, and we constantly tell the flesh, “No, you cannot have the steering wheel.” Even though we have the desires of the flesh, we don’t have to act them out. And when we say no to the flesh, we free the Spirit to act on our behalf by making us do the right thing.
The story is told of a Pastor who had a disagreement with his wife one morning while they were traveling together in Europe. He was really angry with her. He felt she had been completely off base. They were going to take a train ride, and he was thinking, “If we get a compartment all to ourselves, I am going to really straighten her out.”
As they were riding down the hotel elevator, ready to check out, he sensed the Holy Spirit saying, “Don’t talk about it.” The message was very clear. This irritated him, and he mentally started to argue. “No,” the Holy Spirit said, “don’t bother. It’s not worth the time.” He recognized the Holy Spirit speaking, and so he didn’t say any more.
The whole thing was resolved in a far different way from what he had expected. They did get a compartment all to themselves on the train. He said nothing to his wife about their disagreement. She had a real burden to pray about one of their children, and so they had a good prayer time together. When they walked off a couple of hours later, the little thing he had been concerned about had just vanished. It had no more importance at all.
The Spirit, you see, had really wanted them to intercede for their child. All the Pastor had to do to release the Spirit was to decline to gratify the desire of the flesh to set his wife straight. The rest just happened; the Spirit took over.
Too many of us today allow our egos to hold sway individualistic mentally. We may have social relationships, but we think of ourselves primarily as solitary individuals. This should not be true of Christians. What makes the Christian life so exciting is that we have been removed from a life of solitariness into a life of being united with another. This union needs to be quickened everyday. Day by day we need to become more aware of the presence of Christ living within us. We can do this if we say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit.
Prayer point: Pray to hear the Holy Spirit when He speaks.