So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another. Galations 5:16-26
What do I want to talk about today? There is so much! This passage is rich with instruction and wisdom. I don’t want to be overwhelmed, nor do I want to overwhelm you, so lets stick to this one thing… “I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. … When you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.” (vs. 16 and 18) How do you “live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit?” What does it mean to be “directed by the Holy Spirit?” Can a believer who is directed by the Holy Spirit, still engage in sinful activities or fall to temptation?
For the first question, you live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit by taking one step at a time, constantly asking the Lord “what would you have me do.” And then, just as important, you must wait patiently on the Lord to direct you. One way to judge whether you are living according to the Holy Spirit is by measuring the “fruits” in your life. Are you loving first God and then your neighbor? (Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40)
It seems to me that when love controls my actions, everything else just seems to simply fall into place. Everything is easier walking and living in the Holy Spirit when I am initiating love for God and my neighbor. Living with love in my heart, will initiate right decisions and correct actions. It is so plain and simple to me, but I seem to be having a hard time explaining what I understand.
Well, I’ll leave that alone for now. My next question is restated like this, “do I do good or bad?” Being directed by the Holy Spirit will invariably cause me to do right. The measurement for this is the fruits produced in my life. Am I selfish, hateful, cruel, uncaring, bitter, etc? I can actually answer in the affirmative to some of these, but that’s not the end of it. I’m going to piggyback the next question in here. Can I fall into temptation and sinful activities while guided by the Holy Spirit? While I am here on earth, my sinful nature will always be present. I may slip and even fall, but it is my reaction to this that will tell me and others whether I am guided by the Holy Spirit. After something like this happens, do I deny it and continue on my merry way or do I stop, ask God to forgive me and any one else that I may have offended and repent from my sinful ways?
In this way, sin still entraps believers that are guided by the Holy Spirit. But, Jesus already won the victory and He continues to help us by helping us to pick ourselves up off of the ground and to try again. When I yield myself to the Holy Spirit, there is less of a problem with sin in my life and when sin does become a problem, it is my response to sin that will either manifest the fruits of the Spirit, or the destruction of my sinful nature. God’s grace, love and mercy abounds, but we must be first willing to accept it, then willing to act upon it.
Do I follow the Holy Spirit in my marriage? As each day passes, things overall get much better. But, my sinful nature is in high gear and the devil is working overtime to make me give in to my sinful nature, to turn my back on the high calling of living according to the Holy Spirit. I have found that the closer that my husband and I get to working things out in a Godly manner, the more we have to battle the evil one.
But there is hope, it isn’t me or my husband that must battle the evil one. Jesus has the victory and we must simply rely on Him to squash Satan from our marriage.
Here is the best illustration I can give you to help explain the answers to my questions above. It is short, but real. As I’ve told you before, I struggle so much with a desire to leave my husband for good. But that would not be pleasing to God, nor would it be right according to the Holy Spirit. So, instead, my desire to live according to the Holy Spirit has produced a desire to stay with my husband and work through our problems. I am loving God first by relinquishing myself to His Holy Spirit, then I am loving my neighbor by acting upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance. (In this case, my neighbor is my husband.)
I guess I am beating a dead horse now and will step down off of my soap box.
May God provide the increase.