Flesh vs Spirit

Galatians 5:16-18 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do 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 prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.

i know you may have read these verses many times. but, really, it’s easier read than done. to defeat the flesh, is extremely difficult. i saw it as a lifetime struggle, where ourself is the enemy we have to defeat and overcome. walk by the Spirit, and defeat the flesh, the desires of it. the above verses told us that Spirit and flesh, are opposite forces. they fight, and it is your choice in choosing which one to feed. will you fulfill the desires of the flesh? or will you keep on walking by the Spirit?
in verse 18 it says that “if you are led by the Spirit”, it is in passive voice. so it means that we are led, it is the Spirit’s work, not ours. we go wherever the Spirit leads us, we do not follow our strength or desires. to defeat the flesh, is superbly painful. don’t doubt, it is. it’s a war between you and your desires. and therefore, our wills are deeply involved. we must want to be coupled to the locomotive. we must want to abide in the vine. besides, conflict in your soul is not all bad. even though we long for the day when our flesh will be utterly defunct and only pure and loving desires will fill our hearts, yet there is something worse than the war within between flesh and Spirit—namely, no war within because the flesh controls the strongholds. so praise God for the war within! take heart if your soul feels like a battlefield at times. The sign of whether you are in-dwelt by the Spirit is not that you have no bad desires, but that you are at war with them! but the main point of the verse is not war, but victory. and when the battle has been fought and won by the Spirit, poof, there goes the flesh. however, the flesh will not just lay down there, it must be fought back daily. so walk by the Spirit at all times, and flesh will be conquered.
the phrase “you are not under the law” does not mean that we do not have to fulfill the law. we do. but we cruise on the railroad track of the law as a joyful way of life and are not left to climb it like a ladder in our own strength from underneath. when we are led by the Spirit we are not under the punishment or the oppression of the law because what the law requires the Spirit produces, namely, love.
now, the billion dollar question is, how do you allow the Spirit to control you?
Genuine faith always produces love, because faith pushes out guilt, fear, and greed and gives us an appetite to enjoy God’s power. and if love is a fruit of the Spirit. So if love is what faith necessarily produces and love is a fruit of the Spirit, then the way to walk by the Spirit is to have FAITH.
conquering the flesh is surely painful. when you have to wake up extra early just to do your morning devotion, ponder upon God’s words, while other people are still on their beds sleeping, that’s conquering your flesh. when you have to study hard, all day long, while you see most of your friends simply cheat, that’s conquering your flesh. when you have to give up your money to help others in love, while you see your friends go shopping, that’s conquering your flesh. there are a lot of things to name. it’s not easy. but it’s still possible, it’s a battleship worth fighting for. and when you have victory over all your temptations, that’s when you know that you fought a good fight, and every hard work pays off.
on the struggle in battling with the flesh,
Kimberly Subianto
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