“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”
I think you would agree that the flesh sure demands a lot of attention. As Paul states above in his letter to believers, the flesh has passions and desires, and it can quickly become boastful, challenging, and envious. It reminds me of a spoiled child, manipulating, whining, and arguing. It won’t be still or content. It knows no rest. One minute it wants this, the next it wants that. It refuses to be happy, even when it does get what it wants. Can you relate to me if I said I wanted a small treat of ice cream in the evening and then had a strong desire to have potato chips immediately afterward?
I understand all too well what Paul meant when he said, “…the flesh sets its desires against the Spirit…”. Sometimes it feels impossible to obey God, even when deep inside I want to do what’s right.
I was so glad to discover in the Scriptures a way to calm my flesh and teach it to be still. It requires listening to God’s Holy Spirit within and obeying Him. This is how believers can crucify the flesh with its strong passions and desires. We choose to live by what the Spirit wants instead of what the flesh wants. It’s not easy. It’s a daily battle, and a life-long one. It takes confession and repentance when we don’t obey God, remembering that God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us.
Inspired to Cherish
Let’s take a moment now to read the entire chapter of Romans 8 and then write out verses 12 through 14 in our personal journals. Allow yourself to slow down and really take in the words God is speaking through Paul to us. If you have the time, maybe you would like to write out all of Romans 8!
These verses in Romans are an excellent reminder that as believers, we are not under obligation to the flesh. It also tells us that when we choose to obey God’s Spirit instead of our fleshly desires, we are putting to death the deeds of our body. Personally, this gives me wonderful hope that my desire to obey the Spirit will grow stronger than my desire to obey my flesh as I practice daily obedience to God.
I have found it very helpful to be able to recite the fruit of the Spirit when I am being tempted to live by my flesh. If you have not memorized Galatians 5:22, you may want to write it on a 3 x 5 card and post it on your mirror where you can read it two or three times a day. It won’t take long and you will have it down, and you’ll be better prepared for the next battle.
Thank you so much for joining me during the month of September. Please leave your thoughts in the “Comment” section below. I look forward to spending tomorrow with you for “September Devotion”, Day 3!
Here is “September Devotion” for September 1