Our lives are embroiled in a battle of influences and a constant choice between the Spirit’s leading and the lure of our own fleshly desires. Most of the time, our day may seem mundane, going about our routines as we always do, interacting with others, outwardly calm, yet inwardly there is a tug-of-war fiercely raging on, at times leaning towards the side of the Spirit while at other times giving in to our own selfish nature. Accepting the gift of salvation is free and joyous, but growing in Christ and walking in the Spirit is where the real work begins for a Christian. At every corner, we are met with a fork in the road at which we must make a decision, sometimes forced to make a split-second choice. The easier path allows us to remain in our old comfortable ways of the flesh, while the more difficult path makes us work to humble ourselves and allow the Spirit to shape us into the new Christ-like person we are meant to be. When faced with these critical choices, it is not enough to have good intentions, because, under the intense pressure of temptation to indulge selfishness, they are easily forgotten and shirked. As we forget these good intentions, ignoring the Spirit and following the flesh, we grieve the Spirit living within us, who cares deeply for us as His own child, chosen by Him personally and redeemed for His kingdom. Instead, we must go far beyond merely good intentions, and have our mind deeply rooted in the Spirit, made one with the Spirit through constant prayer and study in His word. Following the Spirit cannot be merely an ideal we casually aim for, but a constant and conscious choice and effort in all that we do. The more we say no to the temptations of our flesh and the world, the closer we become to the Spirit, who calls us to the eternally important things in life. To truly walk in the Spirit we must turn our back on all the impurities and sin within us, digging it out by the root in order to bear new and pure fruit of the Spirit. When we ask Him for help, He will give us the strength to crucify our fleshly, selfish desires and nail to the cross our old ways so that we can be reborn and renewed in the Spirit. As we stay in step with the Spirit, faithfully follow His leading in all areas of life regardless of the difficult ups and downs of the journey, we gradually begin bearing the new fruits of the Spirit, budding the beginnings of patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. The longer we remain faithful to the Spirit, the more these fruits ripen and the less we give in to gratifying our flesh. Though the way is difficult, and the path is narrow, walking in the Spirit helps us to develop the fruit that matter most in life, and lights our way towards the kingdom of heaven.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify 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
“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:22-25