16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 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, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
As you may already know, we human beings are made in God's image. As God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons who are different parts of one triune God. We also are three parts that make up one person- body, soul and spirit. Three separate distinctions together make up your being. Your soul is your mind, will and emotions. Your body is your physical tent, and flesh driven desire. Your spirit is the part of you that is resurrected by and lives in connection to God’s spirit. Our spirit is the part of us that gives us a vibrant, personal and tangible relationship with God. When your spirit is at peace your whole person is peaceful, when your spirit is depressed your whole countenance follows suit. Why is this important to know? Well, the way we engage with our body/flesh desires or with our spirit has a direct impact on the condition of our soul (our mind, will, and emotion).
If you feed your flesh you starve your spirit, and your soul is impacted negatively. On the other hand, if you feed your spirit you starve your flesh, and your soul begins to flourish or prosper. As Paul in the passages above elaborates; what you choose to feed or consequently starve has eternal consequences. If Jesus has defeated satan on the cross, and we have been given His very victory through our confession of His Lordship, then the only way the enemy can acquire access into our lives is through doorways we choose to open, for his demonic spirits through our flesh driven actions. You can either choose life for your soul, by crucifying your flesh, or bring destruction to your soul by glorifying your flesh. How do we feed our spirit? How do we crucify our flesh? How do we become proactive in bringing life to our souls and bringing death to the power of our fleshly desires? Through yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit working through our lives on a daily basis. While that may sound like a lofty spiritual concept, it really looks like engaging the Spirit of God daily through Holy Spirit empowered disciplines like, prayer, fasting, worshiping with community.
Worship, Word, and Life Group is emblazoned on the front of our Church building not only to explain to the community some of our top priorities, but also as a reminder to ourselves. Simply, engaging in Holy Spirit empowered daily habits is the only way to bring death to the power of our flesh and life to the condition of our souls. Special events and conferences can provide a quick wake up call to our spirits, as splashing cold water on our face can shock us awake… But if your spirit is exhausted because it’s dominated by your flesh, a special event will have little or no long term positive impact on the condition of your soul. It’s only through daily Holy Spirit encounters that build and strengthen our own spirit, that our soul will learn to prosper before the Lord.
At some point, we have to decide if we’re going to be more consistent in daily engagement with the Holy Spirit than consistently watching reels on social media, gossiping about others, or participating in any other flesh glorifying activities. We have to choose time with the Holy Spirit over time being numbed with entertainment and activities from the world. Of course, the activities that kill our flesh are Holy Spirit led and empowered. We never need to be proud of our ability to spend long hours in prayer or reading Scripture, this has the opposite effect. We do need to be thankful that Holy Spirit would be so gracious to meet us in these ways to bring healing to our souls.
As we submit ourselves to the Spirit of God and allow Him to strengthen our very own spirits, our flesh is put to death and we become more like our Savior, King Jesus, and better express the fruits of His Spirit. When we feed our flesh we become more jealous, selfish, hostile, sexually immoral, impure etc.… Living to feed our flesh always feels good in the moment, but as Paul writes, it excludes us from participating in the Kingdom of God. It leads our souls into death. Today, I am reminding myself and us as a Church body, that it is our daily responsibility to choose to crucify our flesh and nail our sinful desire to the cross of Jesus to walk daily and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and empower our spirit, so that we may better express His fruit through our lives and bring life to our souls.