The Battle Rages On

THE BATTLE RAGES ON 

“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.” Galatians 5:16-18.

So here’s the deal. Instead of the law motivating us to obedience, it has the opposite effect from what the Holy Spirit does in us. Before the Holy Spirit quickened our dead spirits and made them alive to God, we had no desire to obey God. We were in a perpetual state of rebellion. When the law said, “Do not…” we said, “I will…” and we deliberately acted in disobedience to God’s requirements. Instead of the law drawing us towards God, it drove us from Him.

Here is the secret of the believer’s life. Through faith in Jesus, God removed our rebellious and stony hearts and gave us new hearts that wanted to obey Him.

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all you idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:25, 26.

We have been set free from our load of guilt that caused us to run from God. Now we are free to run to Him. We are free to fear God, not to be afraid of Him because we are no longer slaves but sons. He has put His own Spirit within us, who is like a caring and nurturing mother. Instead of rigid laws which we have to obey or bear the consequences, we have the companionship of Jesus through His Spirit who speaks to us in our hearts. God has poured His love into us. We are free to love Him and other people because He has released us from slavery to ourselves.

We have literally died to our old selves and our selfish ways and have risen to a new life of loving service to God and to our fellow men. This is who we are. Now we must become who we are, sons and daughters of God.

“Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God… Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…” Colossians 3:1-3; 5a.

Jesus won the war but the battle still rages on. As long as we are still in this life, we will have to contend with the enemy who still lives in us – the old nature with its fleshly lusts. Jesus told us to be vigilant. We can never let down our guard because the enemy is relentless in his intention to destroy us and drag us with him to his final doom. We cannot profess to know Jesus and continue to live as we did before, gratifying every whim and desire of our old selfish natures.

The Holy Spirit was given to us to replace the demands of the law. He is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of love. When we listen to Him and follow His leading with His help, we fulfill what God wants us to be effortlessly instead of striving and failing to obey the law.

What does it mean to walk by the Spirit? He took up residence in us from the moment we surrendered our lives to the Lordship of Jesus. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He occupies the command centre of our lives. Our job is to cultivate a relationship with Him by listening to Him and by communicating with Him. We will spend the rest of our lives unlearning to be independent and learning to listen and lean on Him.

Unlike earthly parents whose job is to train their children for responsible independence, the Holy Spirit is training us to be helplessly dependent on Him like infants at their mother’s breast. The more we trust Him, the less we will be pulled towards satisfying the lusts of our old nature. Remember what Jesus said:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and me in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.

How do we fight this battle? By resting in Jesus’ finished work for us.

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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Luella Campbell


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