I pray that your desire is to love others with the transforming love of Jesus. The story at the beginning of Chapter 5 about Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller illustrates how powerful genuine love can be. So how do we become that kind of influential Christian?
Learning your identity and calling in Christ is a huge first step. As you rest in your identity as a child of God who is unconditionally loved by your father, you will develop a sense of peace and security that comes from knowing that you have peace with God. As you grow in your understanding of your calling as a saint, you will grow in your understanding of the significant part God wants you to play in his kingdom plans.
With all this, however, we still need something else. We need to learn to deepen our obedience to and dependence on the Holy Spirit who was given to us at the time of our salvation.
1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3 is a very important passage in understanding the importance of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. It presents 3 different kinds of people.
- There is the natural person – This is a person who does not know Christ and does not possess the Holy Spirit. This person is controlled by his flesh. Read and meditate on Romans 8:5-8. People who are according to the flesh are hostile towards God and they are unable and unwilling to submit to God. According to 1 Corinthians 2:14, the natural person is unable to accept the things of God; they are foolishness to him.
- There is the spiritual person (1 Corinthians 2:15-16) – This is a person who is a believer and is governed by the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit is in control, the fruit of the Spirit flows from your life and your ability to understand and value things comes from God himself.
- There is the fleshly person – This is a person who knows Christ and possesses the Holy Spirit, but is, at this time, allowing his flesh to dominate his life. Even though he is a Christian, much of his life will mirror someone who doesn’t know Christ, because his flesh is in control. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 that his life will be filled with jealousy and strife. This person will have very little influence for the kingdom of God and his life will be devoid of the joy that the Holy Spirit wants to give.
So how do we become that Spiritual person? Paul gives the answer in Galatians 5:16-25. This is one of the most important passages in my life. I have committed it to memory and I would encourage you to do the same.
Paul says, Walk (or live) by the Spirit and you will not carry out 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. (Galatians 5:16-17)
Walking by the Spirit is a relationship of dependence and obedience with the Holy Spirit. It is a moment by moment relationship. I find myself praying throughout the day for God’s help (his grace) and his direction. When I blow it (as I often do), I confess that I fleshed out and resubmit myself to the Holy Spirit. As you practice this, you will grow and become better at it. The more you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, the more you will see the fruit of the Spirit coming out of your life (Galatians 5:22-23) and you will experience greater victory over your fleshly desires.
One other important factor in walking by the Spirit is the Word of God. The Word of God is your spiritual food that will strengthen your desire to walk by the Spirit and your knowledge of how God wants you to live. Learn to set time aside on a regular basis studying God’s Word and going over your day from his perspective. There is a neat cycle that you will discover. The more you spend time in God’s Word, the more you will find yourself walking by the Spirit, the more you are controlled by the Spirit, the greater your understanding of God’s Word will be. It’s awesome, those two practices feed each other! God bless – Let him control you this week.
To stir your thought:
- When you are walking by the flesh, what are the particular struggles that come out? (see works of the flesh: Galatians 5:19-21)
- Think about your key relationships. How would greater consistency in walking by the Spirit transform those relationships?
- Think about your key struggles in life. How would walking by the Spirit help you in those struggles?
- What are the roadblocks that keep you from walking by the Spirit?
- What will you do this week to overcome those roadblocks?