23rd -24th January
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 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 opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
So often we fight to live righteously because we want to obey God’s commands and keep holy. Yet Paul writes in verse 4 of chapter 5 that, “.. if you are trying to make yourself right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” These may seem like strong words, but the context of this verse is a people group (the church in Galatia), trying to please God by obeying Moses’ law, rather than relying on the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We too can fall into this bracket when we tirelessly try to uphold the law, even with our best intentions. Yet even our best intentions will fall short because our motives are in “doing” rather than “being led”.
Simply put, the way to live righteously before God, is not to get caught up in trying to keep God’s commandments, but rather by being led by the Holy Spirit. Let us be clear, that it is in surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives that we can have victory over our sinful nature’s cravings, as He leads us to righteous living, rather than we trying to live righteously. It is only when we fully submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives, that we can be free of “doing” and “religious works”, and “be” fully alive in the grace of Jesus. The weight of trying to gain God’s favour by the obeying His law is lifted and we are set free to fully live liberated lives.
If we know that there is nothing we can do that will make God love us more, and nothing we can do that will make God love us less, then we will gladly rejoice in the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives, and can be free of our sinful nature’s cravings. Yes, there will always be a spiritual battle going on, but rather than trying to win it, we just need to rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us closer to God and further away from fleshly desires.