“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:16-25 (ESV)
After Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus is doing now? He is seated at the Father’s right hand, ruling the universe. He is also our lawyer, arguing our cause against the devil, the accuser – that the price for sin has already been paid (by Jesus) and does not need to be paid again. The Holy Spirit came to help us live in the confidence of our freedom in Christ and make it a reality in our every day lives.
The Holy Spirit’s role is to be constantly guiding us into a Godly and God-led life. He is there to help (John 14:6). He is there to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). He is there to guide our lives (Isaiah 30:21) and to lead us into effective service for Him (Acts 8:29 & 16:6-7). The Holy Spirit is the best guide you could have, but how good are you at following?
We are people made of flesh so how can we escape the ‘desires of the flesh’ that lead to sin? Being filled with the Spirit means you don’t need to try so hard to resist the flesh. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is living in us! With the Holy Spirit inside us, we are no longer limited to reading the temperature of our environment (like a thermometer) but we can speak to our world and tell it to change (like a thermostat setting the temperature). The Holy Spirit empowers us to say “move” to problems, “stop” to the enemy and “no” to unwanted rubbish knocking on our door. Saying “no” to the desires of the flesh, protects our “yes” to God. Even when we don’t know what to pray specifically, the Spirit Himself intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).
God knows what’s best for us. He knows what we need. God’s direction and guidance for us are available to us when we walk in the Spirit. As we commit our way to the Lord, He will direct our paths. But we need to follow/be led by the Holy Spirit, which means not getting ahead of Him and actively pursuing Him.
Two things that help us to stay in step with the Holy Spirit are:
- Humility: Recognizing that we need God. Sometimes we can blame the devil for resistance in our lives, when it is God, unhappy with our pride. Be repentant (Acts 3:19) which removes blockages caused by sin and be receptive. The different outcomes in the parable of the sower is not caused by the sower or the seed, but the receptiveness of the soil.
- Hunger for the Holy Spirit. Don’t be lukewarm but regularly pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:6, Luke 11:9 & Revelation 3:16).
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
- Share the different ways you have received directions from the Holy Spirit.
- How can we daily be thermostats instead of thermometers?
- Is there something in your life that you need the Holy Spirit’s help to say “no” to?
- The Holy Spirit is also described as being like our lawyer. What are some of the arguments people have shared with you against receiving salvation and how could you reply?