Freedom #26: The Flesh vs the Spirit
We become Christians by recognizing we are sinners and hearing and receiving by faith the Gospel, that Jesus died on a cross, shedding His blood as a sacrifice and atonement for our sins and that He rose again the third day for our justification. The moment we trust Christ we are given the gift of Eternal Life.
As new born Christians, we begin to live the Christian life one step at a time, one day at a time. Normally we find a church where the Bible is clearly preached and as we attend the services and listen to the preaching of God’s Word, testing everything we hear by the plumb line of God’s Word, we start to walk the Christian life.
We soon learn that we repeatedly fail in our walk with God. We soon learn that we have a sinful, fleshly nature, the same fleshly nature we had when we were unsaved. Paul writes in Romans 7 of his constant struggle as a Christian with his fleshly nature with its inclination to sin. He is almost beside himself with the power of his sinful nature. This same sinful nature was not a problem at all before he was saved. He simply did whatever he desired and enjoyed himself. Now as a Christian, he cannot enjoy that old life.
As we listen to the preaching of the Word, we learn from Romans 8:9 that the Holy Spirit came to live in us the moment we were saved. We learn that Christ desires to reign in our lives. As we surrender to His Lordship, the Holy Spirit fills our lives and begins to control us and give us victory over sin and we begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of God.
The Bible refers to this new life in Christ as walking with Him. As we read, for example, Ephesians 1-3, we become aware of our wealth in Christ as Christians. When we move into chapter 4-5 we learn of our walk with Christ. There we learn we are to walk worthy of our calling as Christians. As we continue reading those two chapters we learn of many characteristics of that walk; including lowliness, meekness, long suffering, forbearance and love. In chapter 5 the list goes on.
In Ephesians 5:18 we see our need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That involves surrender to Christ as our Lord and allowing His Spirit to take control. The results of being filled with the Spirit include: joy vs 18, thanksgiving for all that comes into our lives vs 19, and submission to Christ and to others, putting others first vs 20.
As we continue in chapter 5 we see how being filled with the Spirit affects our marriage and our relationship with our family, and in our workplace and our church. In other words, it is impossible to be a successful growing Christian unless Christ is Lord of our lives and the Holy Spirit fills and controls us.
Not an Emotional Experience
The filling of the Spirit is not an emotional experience we seek. It is simply a surrender to His control, which in turn enables us to live a life of self-control.
Jesus described this life to His disciples in John 15 when He likened it to the fact He is like a grape vine and we are the branches in vital union to the Vine. Only then can we produce grapes which are a picture of the Fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
Whereas God walked with Old Testament saints, such as Enoch, Abraham and Moses; we have an even closer relationship with Christ. II Corinthians 6:16 tells us that He walks IN us.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is contrasted in Ephesians 5:18 with being drunk with wine. It is being controlled by Him. In II Peter 1:21 being filled with the Spirit is illustrated by wind carrying a sail boat along on the water. As we open the sails of our lives to His control, He carries us along in the direction He has planned for us in the same way the writers of the Bible were inspired and wrote as they were moved or carried along by the Holy Spirit.
In Colossians 3:16-25 we learn that as we saturate our lives with the Word of God by reading it and hearing it preached and obeying it, so we are enabled to live the same victorious life described in Ephesians 5:18 through 6:9 which comes by being filled with His Spirit.
In other words, we are sanctified and made holy; not only by being filled with the Spirit, II Thessalonians 2:13, I Peter 1:2; but we are also sanctified by being filled with the Word of God. Ephesians 5:26
May God enable you to live victoriously over your sinful flesh nature as you saturate your life in God’s Word and as you surrender to God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. One final warning! Don’t be misled by seeking for an emotional experience with the Holy Spirit. That will take you up a dead end street where you experience excitement on Sunday and failure and depression the rest of the week.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.