Living by the Spirit

Living by the Spirit


Gal 5:16-26 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

As children, we had to live according to the rules of the authorities in our lives. The rebellious spirit of our flesh couldn’t wait until we became adults and could make our own rules. As adults, we became our own god with our own morality. This desire to be independent and become our own god is the essence of all sin. Not until we are born again by the Holy Spirit, do we have a keen sense of right and wrong. Then the Holy Spirit becomes our authority and disciplines us by saying, “Not that way; this way.”

Herein, lies our struggle. Our flesh still wants to rule and satisfy itself, but the Holy Spirit is saying “Discipline yourself and follow me”. We must choose which one to obey. We end up choosing what we focus on.

Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

There are consequences for what we choose—whether we yield to our flesh or to the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:12-14 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

The Holy Spirit is God. When we are born again of the Spirit, God becomes our Father. We have a new parent, a new authority, and a new life. The Holy Spirit gives us a powerful love for Jesus Christ, which motivates us to die to the misdeeds of the body and live by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, John 14:15-17 If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

The Holy Spirit motivates us to focus our physical, mental, and spiritual energies on following Jesus Christ in all areas of our life.

Heb. 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Only the Spirit of God can keep us from getting distracted by the worries, riches, or pleasures of this life. The Holy Spirit will help us concentrate all of our resources on loving Jesus Christ and obeying Him.

As we pray and study God’s word daily, the Holy Spirit renews, refreshes, and restores our willingness to do God’s will.

Ps 42:1-2 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.   My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

This thirst or love for God should inspire us to spend at least thirty minutes alone with the Lord every morning to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with His power to be like Jesus during the day that lies before us.

Afterwards, when we are out in the world, the Holy Spirit helps us resist temptation. When people attack our faith, The Spirit of God will help us to not take accusations personally or let them disturb us emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. If we are living by the Spirit, He will remind us they are rejecting Jesus, not us. If we were like the world, they would love us.

Jesus said, Luke 10:16 "He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

The Holy Spirit is able to take all adverse matters and synergistically blend them together to create in us a greater Godly character, a wiser mind, and a more fruitful life over the long term.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

When we feel like quitting, the Holy Spirit will remind us that He is using everything for our best interests. He gives us grace to love, trust, and be faithful.

The Holy Spirit brings correction and discipline in our lives. He reminds us that our own lack of self-control is our chief obstacle to successful relationships with other people and with God.

James 4:1-3 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

The Holy Spirit gives us grace to repent and to forgive. He makes the Word of God living and active. He causes the Word to judge our thoughts and the attitudes of our heart. He exposes our religious hypocrisy by reminding us that it is not what is on the outside of a person that defiles them, but what comes out of our heart.

Mark 7:14-23 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.'" After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "

The Holy Spirit helps us concentrate our efforts on pleasing the Lord rather than trying to please people or our own selfish desires. He motivates us to do our best.

Col. 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

The Holy Spirit uses the Church for a community where we are encouraged to practice self-control in our speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity of life. He gives us new friends and fellowship so we are not constantly with people who are ungodly, undisciplined, and prone to anger or fearful reactions.

Prov. 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

The Holy Spirit gives us a sense of peace even though others around us lose their composure. When we are provoked to become angry or fearful, He empowers us to be a witness of Jesus Christ instead. While nailed to the cross, Jesus endured injustice, pain, and insults as those watching mockingly shouted, "He saved others, but he can’t save himself!" (Matt. 27:42) This endurance is impossible in the flesh, but with God the Holy Spirit, we can endure all things if we go to Him for grace.

Heb 12:14-15 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Self-control is one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we are living by the Holy Spirit, He gives us grace to produce all the characteristics of His fruit. By His fruit, people know we are children of God.

1 Thes. 5:6-8 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

The Holy Spirit urges us to pray in a way that prepares our body, soul, and spirit for all that God wants us to achieve. Even when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit enables us to pray according to God’s will, even it is only with groans.

Rom. 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

The Holy Spirit blesses us with the knowledge, wisdom, discernment, and insights that are necessary to practice self-control in any situation so we can do good instead of evil until Jesus returns.

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

The Holy Spirit has given us power to become increasingly like Jesus Christ and to lift Him up in our personal life, our relationships, our ministries, and everywhere we go. Living by the Spirit, saying and doing what He commands, is how we preach the Gospel and make disciples.

2 Pet. 1:3-11 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Christian, are you living by the Spirit? Are you being changed by Him from one degree of glory to another to be more like Jesus? If not, all you need to do is repent of being in control and ask your Father in Heaven for His gift of the Holy Spirit and then yield to His Spirit every moment of the day the rest of your life.

Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

If you don’t have a relationship with your Father in Heaven, you have no access to the power of the Holy Spirit. The Way to God the Father is through His Son, Jesus Christ. The whole reason Jesus came to this earth is to die on a cross so you can be reconciled with your Father in Heaven. Sin has separated you from Him, but Jesus’ atonement on the Cross has provided you with forgiveness of sin and made the way for you to have a relationship with God. It begins with believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and His atonement on the Cross for your sin. Make Jesus your Lord and Savior by repenting of your sin—of being your own god, confessing Jesus as Lord and your Master, and following Him in baptism, which becomes the death to your old life and the birth of a new life by the Holy Spirit.