Live by the Spirit… Galatians 5:16 (NIV)
What does it mean to live by the Spirit? How would you know if you are living by the Spirit? Galatians gives us three marks of the person who lives by the Spirit. The first one is that he or she is waging war.
When you become a Christian, you become a new person in Christ, but you still live life in the body. There is a tension. Christ has come as your liberator, but there is active resistance to Him within you.
Perhaps you have heard the story of the new Christian who was baptized. After coming up from the water he was so full of joy that he said to the pastor, “It’s so good to know that I won’t be struggling with temptation anymore!” The pastor said, “For that blessing I would have had to hold you under for longer!”
The struggle against sin goes on throughout the entire Christian life. “The sinful nature [flesh] desires what is contrary to the Spirit” (5:17). Seeing this in the Bible should help you because it tells you that you are normal. The normal Christian life is one of sustained warfare against the ongoing resistance of our flesh to the rule of Christ.
If you give the flesh what it wants, what will it produce? “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like” (5:19-21). It’s a pretty wide variety of sin, so what do they all have in common? Self!
Are you living by the Spirit? Are you waging war against your flesh? What is one sin you can fight against today by the power of the Spirit dwelling within you?