I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Many times, I believe, the enemy is able to exploit Christians because they become convinced that only when temptations cease will they truly be spiritual people and good Christians. The fact is, friends, as long as your soul lives in a flesh-and-blood house, there is going to be a war between the spirit and the flesh all the days of your life. It will never subside, and it will never end until your earthly body is replaced with a heavenly incorruptible one.
It’s not a sin to be tempted—it’s a sin to sin (brilliant deduction, I know)! Jesus Himself was tempted, yet we know He was sinless. The important thing is how we handle the daily assaults of the flesh, or old nature, on our spirits. Paul says the battle is won by walking in the Spirit, and this walk begins by taking thoughts captive, as Paul instructed the Corinthians (2 Cor. 10:5). Identifying temptation in the mind and capturing it there is where the walk in the Spirit begins.
But the walk in the Spirit is also a weapon we can use against temptation. This could be summarized simply as incorporating spiritual things into our day. The Word of God should be a part of our day, of course, but so too should being guided by the Spirit.
Each day we are surrounded by numerous opportunities, and in some ways, our surroundings identify our ministries. If you frequently encounter needy people, then do something to meet those needs, and personal temptations will be overcome by spiritual fulfillment. If you are surrounded by nonbelievers, then incorporate into your day sharing your faith in some way, and your spirit will be lifted and your flesh and its temptations defeated.
There is never a day when walking in the Spirit is not possible. It can happen through refraining from the office “boss bashing” and instead fasting lunch and praying for your boss. It might be leaving a tract on someone’s desk or dropping off something at a local shelter on your way home from work.
Walking in the Spirit is not walking with your feet three feet off the ground and talking mystically to others. Walking in the Spirit is daily practical acts that are pleasing to God. Temptation doesn’t stand a chance in a life such as that! Temptation won’t give up and it will keep coming, but it won’t have victory over you if you live spiritually practical each day.
Meet a need, pray for an enemy, read and pray instead of going to lunch, or do something practical today to build your inner man. Then the old flesh and its temptations will soon be conquered!
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