Tuesday, June 27
There is a life and death battle going on inside all of us. In one corner we have the flesh and in the other corner we have the Spirit. It is a battle to the death. One will win; the other will die.
The desires of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21. They are sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery (excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures); idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. We all have some of these desires and verse 21 says that if we give into these desires we will not inherit the kingdom of God. Thus, if our flesh wins the battle, on judgment day you will be sentenced to death.
However, Galatians 5:24 states that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:16 says if you walk by the Spirit, you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. I am sure most of you have heard of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I think many people look at the fruit of the Spirit as a list of good attributes that we ought to try to attain, but that is not what this verse is saying. It says the FRUIT of the Spirit are these attributes, meaning you will automatically receive these attributes if you live by the Spirit. You don’t have to try to be more patient; you will automatically be more patient because of the Spirit that is in you. You will be more loving due to the Spirit and so on.
You will want to ask to be filled with the Spirit so you can be more loving because Galatians 5:14 says the whole Old Testament Law can be fulfilled by loving your neighbor as yourself. Think about it. If you crucify the selfish desires of your flesh and love others instead of yourself, you are fulfilling the whole Law. You are not required to fulfill that Law, but it is pretty awesome to think we could do that by just living for others instead of ourselves.
Galatians 6:8 says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.” We will reap what we sow. The next verse (6:9) then tells us to not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we don’t grow weary. Verse 10 then adds that while we have the opportunity, we should do good to all men, but especially to those that are of the household of the faith. Paul admits that it is not always easy to do good to all people. You have to sacrifice your own desires to use your time and resources for others, and to make it even more difficult some people are not very deserving of your help and not at all grateful for the good you do for them. It can be very tiring continually sacrificing for others even if they do appreciate it, but remember not to grow weary and you will reap the reward.
It sounds difficult to crucify all of your fleshly desires and live for others instead of yourself, but are you really sacrificing that much if the reward you get for doing this is eternal life in the Kingdom? You will actually gain a WHOLE LOT MORE if you can stop living for yourself now in this short lifetime and live for others instead. Seems like a REALLY EASY choice to make; crucify your fleshly desires and live by the Spirit.
(Photo Credit: http://www.dailylifeverse.com/posts/2014/11/galatians-5-25)