Written By Ryan Walters
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”
Without a doubt, one of my favorite verses of the Holy scriptures.
Are you searching for the answer to making your life ‘less sinful’?
Are you searching for the answer of assistance in the ‘avoiding temptations’ department?
Are you simply seeking a means by which you can become more attracted to Christ & His pre-requisites for holiness (obedience) and less attracted to the APPEAL OF TEMPTATION?
Don’t you think Christ-Followers would love nothing more than to discover a method or instructions to follow to allow that appeal of temptation to fade?
Why then look no further! (I totally feel like a show host on one of those corny diet commercial give-away’s) Because the two word answer is exposed in the verse I used above.
Can you guess it?
Okay Ninety-Eight Six readers, let’s start from the top.
What are our bodies composed of? Flesh. Heck, what are our hearts even composed of? Flesh. So last I checked, our emotions and feelings of the heart as well as our reasoning and thoughts of the mind all revert back to what? Flesh.
The eye-opening book of Romans (biased as it’s my #1 book of the 66) enlightens us that flesh is equivalent to ‘being a slave to sin’. Chapter 6, verse 23 goes even further to enlighten us that, “the wages of sin is death”.
So right there as Christ-followers we have to face the inevitable fact that living by the flesh (taking orders from our inner, corrupt & sinful nature) equals slavery and/or death.
To what person does that sound appealing? Does it sound appealing to you? Is slavery and death the outcome of your future that you either desire or expect to happen?
Well don’t give up hope just yet because of the wondrous work at the cross, when Jesus paid for your sin and my sin (past, present and future), and each and every one of us found favor in God’s eyes- not by any means of what we did or have done but because of God’s incredible love and grace poured out on us that we did not deserve at all.
For as the song “Who Am I” by Casting Crowns goes,
“Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done.
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are.”
Temptations will always seem so intriguing and inviting as long as we’re following the ways of the flesh. Don’t complain about constantly falling into temptations when YOU are making the choice to live by flesh whether you want to face it or not.
I have seen my own life when dictated and governed by my sinful, fleshly ways. It is not a pretty sight. I’ve tried time and time again to overcome temptation on my own strength. It has always led to failure. And I can guarantee if you attempt to go that same route, you’ll finish off with the same results as I did.
I started with the negative. The stuff no Christ-follower wants to really admit to or face- the fact that without renewal of our minds and hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2) via accepting Christ into our lives, we are both slaves to sin and Satan only raising up the darkness of this world one flesh-driven person at a time. Sorry to be so harsh but it’s the truth and the truth alone that will set us free and awaken us out of our lukewarm Christian slumber.
One thing every Christ-follower should remember anyhow is 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says,
“So now I am glad to boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
DID YOU HEAR THAT? As Christ-followers, we can actually affirm our wrongs and where we fall short because that affirms and recognizes God’s strength! We don’t have to go around being frauds, faking as though we have it all together. We get to admit freely we are flesh-driven, sinful people without the work of God and the Spirit moving through us!
So now let’s flip the script! Back to the beginning. What exactly is the answer then to the fading of appeal to temptation if it’s the opposite of living by the flesh?
Two Words- Holy Spirit.
Verse 17 of Galatians 5 continues with, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other…”
Yes! That’s it! Letting the Spirit guide our ways and move through us will make those temptations not seem so worth it- make those temptations not even seem worth pursuing as much. The lust you usually crave, the anger you usually crave, the greed you often crave, the envy and jealousy you so often crave and so on; the appeal of ALL OF IT will fade if you just choose to become a magnet to the Spirit and not the flesh!
I love the way Oswald Chambers puts it referring to ‘being born of the spirit’-
“Being born of the spirit means much more than we usually think. It gives us new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything through the never-ending supply of the life of God.”
The choice is yours Ninety-Eight Six readers- would you like to live feeling fresh by the movement of the spirit or live feeling burdened by sin and fleshly ways?
Ryan Walters. ’98.6 Too Cold’ Founder, Blogger