Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Paul sets forth here a dichotomy. We either walk by the Spirit of God, or we will walk according to our own desires. These are in opposition to each other. Paul states here in the next verse. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:17. We either do one or the other.
Paul lays out how we can deny our fleshly desires. God has given us His Spirit to live within us, and we are to live under His influence and obey His will. We are not to resist His leadings but accept them and resist where our desires could lead us. If we would yield our hearts to the Spirit, we would be able to overcome all our corrupt and carnal propensities. If we find ourselves resisting the Spirit, then we find ourselves being led in the other direction, following the ways of our flesh.
This situation laid out here is why it is so important that we fully submit to God and all His ways. Satan is the great tempter. He first tempted Eve in the garden, convincing her to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and then she gave the fruit to Adam who also ate of that tree. What the devil did was stimulate the desires they had to be in control. And he does the same thing today. We, as Christians, desire that God be in control. However, there are times when we let down our guard and we take control ourselves. We listen to ourselves and our desires rather than the Spirit inside us. Lacking self-control, we can succumb to the temptations the Devil brings our way. Instead, we should always listen to and follow the Spirit of God and He will give us wisdom in our situation and guide us in His ways. Instead of resisting the Spirit, we should resist the devil and his temptations. As James put it, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Too often we go the other way, submitting to the devil instead of God. It is important that we examine ourselves and see where we are, especially when we find ourselves giving in to our fleshly desires. Instead of following God we find ourselves subconsciously resisting Him. Often times we do not realize we are doing it. That is why we are to consistently resist the devil because when we do, he will flee, and we will then be open to hearing God.
Be in prayer about this. It is important that we seek the leading of the Spirit at all times. It is easy at times to let our guard down. But we must remain committed to God and His ways. This is the only way we can resist the enemy of our souls and defeat him.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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