Galatians 5:16-26 (NAS): But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
I Peter 1:14-15 (NAS): As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
“…so that you may not do the things that you please” we read above in Galatians. This is a key element of understanding of holiness in the ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit. Paul lists some elements of those led by the flesh and then proceeds to notate some of the offspring of the Spirit of God. We read above in I Peter that we are to be holy as Christ Himself is holy in all our behavior; to no longer be given over to the lusts of the flesh.
As I have written in the previous posts, God doesn’t call us to be “happy” but to be holy. With holiness, joy is an offshoot – the fruit of holiness. The flesh will dictate “Do whatever makes you happy” whereas the Spirit will dictate holiness despite forfeiting temporal “happiness.”
What most miss in all this instruction is the Kingdom of God. In between what not to do and what to do is the mention of God’s Kingdom. In most Christian environments, we are spouting Scripture and all the dos and don’ts thereof, but fail to explain the Kingdom of God, it’s government, that the Bible is our Kingdom constitution, and that those who are Kingdom heirs must understand being led by God’s Spirit (of God’s Kingdom) instead of defiled flesh (of the earth, Satan’s kingdom), the old nature of Adam.
In whatever your native earthly country, to betray the constitution (government) is considered treason and prison (or worse) is the result of such treason. To go against the Bible (Kingdom constitution) has penalties as in any other country, therefore we must of necessity understand how the Kingdom of Heaven is the Christ-followers country and place or origin.
Take a look at Matthew 6:9-11, 32-33: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
This instruction to heirs of the throne of God is centered around God’s Kingdom, not the dos and don’ts. When we begin to seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, then all things will be added – including the supernatural ability to walk, not according to the flesh, but according to His Spirit who dwells within us.
By seeking God’s Kingdom in all things and in every situation, our heart is focused on all things holy instead of all things unholy. When this is our focus, we will understand that Christ crucified the fleshly nature of all mankind at the cross (an offshoot of the Kingdom), therefore, one who is found “in Christ” is one who is no longer concerned with fleshly desires (sin, pride, selfishness) but with all things Kingdom oriented. This person understands that to focus on “I can’t do this and I can’t do that, I must abstain from this or that” is against everything God calls His people to do because the Kingdom is still not their focus. In fact, the more we focus on how not to sin, the more driven we are toward that very sin.
A Kingdom-minded ambassador in chains for Christ is always and in everything focused on the desires of the Kingdom. Our mindset is from above and not from below. Our mind, though the flesh will always desire that which is against God, is purposefully set on pleasing God. In so doing, supernaturally naturally, our attention is on the Spirit of God who allows our flesh to abstain from fleshly desires. Intentional focus set on God’s Kingdom allows Holy Spirit to drive our flesh instead of the norm of the flesh driving the Spirit.
Stay tuned for next week’s Flesh vs. Spirit! If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.
Peace and blessings,
Alexys V. Wolf
Categories: SPIRITUAL WARFARE