Walking With the Holy Spirit
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
- The Problem of Internal Conflict
- Flesh vs. Spirit
Romans 7 again.
15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
If you struggle, you are not broken. This should help us with our expectations concerning ourselves. Paul says: “Nothing good dwells in me, that is, my flesh. This is a reference to the sin nature, but he works hard in this section of Scripture to work on our identity. We are not defined as our flesh, but as “in Christ”. So we need to sow to that part of our new nature. We have been born again. All things are become new
II Cor 5: 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself
I say this to help you all who struggle with the term “should.” Shame is not the identity of a follower of Jesus. God sees you as righteous. We are completely reconciled to God as adopted children and we are learning how to live within the family. We are working out our salvation, and God is at work within us both to will (want to) and do His good pleasure.
Competing forces within us as it relates to our behavior. The very presence of temptation. Cartoons with a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.
- So you may not do what you want
Our approach to life can’t be just as simple as doing what we want to do. And immediate consequences cannot be the sole determining factor in whether or not be do something. We have to think long term. Our wants will change over time, but we will never be completely free of temptation, which is to have our wants pull us away from Christ.
- Descriptions of the Combatants
What is it that motivates bad behavior?
I John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
The World is the accumulation of all people and negative spiritual forces that manifest desires that do not come from God.
The world is external, the flesh is internal. And then there are spiritual forces of evil that exist behind the manifestation of the world and the flesh. If not, then where do those things come from? If there is a definable good, then there is a definable evil and the evil must come from somewhere. God is wholly good.
Greed, sensual pleasure and human pride. Motivators that exist in people that lead to the fruit of the flesh!
The Holy Spirit is God. The Spirit of God is promised to us by Jesus to help us specifically with different aspects of our good works.
- He is a guide into truth. (About you, God and how to function in relationship to Him)
- He is a guide into what to do. (You can see this specifically in Paul’s journeys in Acts)
- He will give power for ministry. Acts 1:8
- He will give gifts for ministry Acts 2 I Cor 12, 14
- He will produce Godly character.
We are spiritual. We are physical.
At least a two stage process as it relates to behavior. First there is the want to.
Then there is an expression of the will to respond to the desire or not. It is usually negative consequences that keep us from just acting on our desires. Little children vs. Adults.
Our spiritual self is our real self. Mind, will and emotions, our personality. This is what is missing from the body when people die.
And the Spirit will enliven each aspect of our personality.
Mind: renew the mind with the word of God. Love God with all of your mind. The lust of the eyes resolved. Spiritual disciplines of engagement that relate to the mind. Prayer, worship, Bible study etc.
Emotions: Love God with all your heart. Do not lust after the flesh. Managing the pleasure principle inside of us. Spiritual disciplines of abstinence: silence, solitude, fasting etc.
Will: Love God with all of your strength. Spiritual disciplines of engagement, especially as they relate to service, giving and sacrifice. Obedience training. The pride of life resolved.
- Man and God in me
You have you. We have genetic predispositions to different desires. You have the influence of your culture. (positive and negative). You have God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit.
I have known people who were very free in speaking about the Holy Spirit leading them on a regular basis. For me it is not so simple. But make no mistake, the Spirit is in you if you belong to Christ.
If you will fill your mind with the Word of God and apply yourself to obedience, you will be giving the Holy Spirit vocabulary to speak to you and you will be learning to hear and submit to His leading in your life.
III. Be Led by the Spirit
- Verbs that relate to God’s influence in us
Walk by, Led by, live by, keep in step with, Filled with,
Sow to the spirit
In the negative:
Do not grieve the Spirit. Eph 4:30 Expressly defined as acting in a manner different from the Spirit’s influence in our lives.
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire. (Quench the Spirit)
II Thes 5: Context: Rejoice always, pray continually and in everything give thanks! If we will not do this we dismiss the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
- Works are the goal
Works of the flesh vs. fruit of the spirit
Abiding in Christ is another way to speak about the same issue. John 15: I am the vine and you are the branches, the one who abides in me will bear much fruit.
What is the fruit of a person that abides in Christ? It is not miracles. It is not a gift or a manifestation of a gift. Fruit is character expressed in good works. The character of Christ is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
John 7: 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
John 14: 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
- Crucifying the desires of the flesh
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Romans 12:1 Present your bodies to God as a living sacrifice. A living sacrifice can crawl off of the altar. Deny self, take up cross daily. This is the way of life in the spirit. We are trusting that God’s way is the way of life. Our bodies are reflexively choosing the way of the flesh. Hence the trouble. We are growing out of it.
What if you realized that Satan was trying to enslave you all over again? What if you believed that the cost of crucifying the flesh was worth it?