Living Life in the Spirit Instead of the Flesh

Living Life in the Spirit Instead of the Flesh

Are you tired of being defeated by temptation? If so, that is good. Too many are not tired; they just accept defeat and live defeated. You have to be tired of being defeated before you will seek the victory that is promised by faith in Jesus Christ.

The key to victory has to do with our relationship to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God in us, who gives us power over sin, the devil, and the flesh. If we are not filled with the Holy Spirit, we have no grace to deny our fleshly desires! Without the Holy Spirit, we have no power over the devil! Victory comes from obeying the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit and humbly submitting to Him in every area of life.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine which leads to debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit

We have seen this command before. We have seen what it looks like. That is knowledge. Now, are we obeying it? If not, we will succumb to the desires of the flesh and the temptations of the devil. If we do seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we will manifest the fruit of the Spirit and the same character found in Jesus. It comes down to a moment by moment decision to listen to the flesh or to the Spirit. If old fleshly patterns reoccur, it simply means somewhere along the line we refused the direction of the Holy Spirit and chose to fulfill the desires of the flesh.

When that happens, confess it with sorrow, repent, and ask the Father to fill you with the Holy Spirit again.

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Therefore, go to the Throne of Grace every morning and acknowledge your weakness. Ask the Father for the Holy Spirit so you will have His continuous direction and His power throughout the day to crucify your fleshly desires and temptations. The way you live clearly indicates who is in charge—the flesh or the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

We will never be free from temptation nor from the pull of the flesh toward selfishness. We must continually take a stand against the fleshly desires imbedded in our members. It requires a daily declaration of our allegiance to God and a loving desire to please Him. When the flesh demands satisfaction, go to the Father for grace to firmly deny the request. This passage does not say we will not feel the desires of the flesh, only that we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh when we walk by the Spirit.

1 Peter 4:1-3 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.

Yes, our flesh suffers when it is denied its desires. The suffering from denying our flesh its sinful craving is similar to fasting when you are hungry, or breaking a drug or alcohol addiction. It is painful, but the craving and pain diminish if we persevere and focus on Christ’ Spirit.

We are addicted to sin. Denying the flesh may seem impossible because we have a habit of giving into its desires. Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, we are too weak to withstand the temptation for very long. Therefore, we must continually confess our weakness to the Father and ask for His grace to repent and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

God promises His enabling power, but we must choose to submit to the Holy Spirit AND resist the devil in the Name of Jesus.

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.

Victory comes by putting to death the deeds and desires of the flesh and walking by the Spirit.

The moment by moment question of the day becomes, “Who will you deny—Christ or yourself?”

God has given us a free will to love Him or deny Him. It is our responsibility to continuously decide to live by the Spirit and deny the fleshly passions. Therefore, go to the Throne of Grace to obtain the grace you need to deny the flesh. Ask the Father to fill you with His Spirit.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

After praying, consider yourselves dead to the screams of the flesh for satisfaction. The lie of the devil is that the flesh can be satisfied if you just give in a little. The flesh is NEVER satisfied! It is like a drug; the more you take the more you want. Conversely, the more we deny the flesh, the less influence it holds over our choices. It is similar to denying the craving for certain foods; eventually you lose the craving.

Titus 2:11-12 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.

By the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, we can say “No” to the desires of the flesh and the temptations of the devil. Rebuke the devil in the Name of Jesus! Deny any connection with sinful passions and nurture the godly passions imbedded in you by the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, make no provision for the flesh. It is difficult to keep denying the flesh’s desires when we continually expose ourselves to things that inflame the flesh. For example, it is nearly impossible to overcome gluttony while watching food preparation shows or reading recipes on the internet. It is impossible to overcome a craving for nicotine when you have cigarettes hidden in the house just in case you “need” one. It is hard not to repeat gossip when you keep listening to it. (There are more sinful examples, but hopefully, you get the point)

Therefore, make no provision for the flesh and put on the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

We live in a world that continually appeals to our flesh. Additionally, Satan appeals to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). We begin to fall into sin when we think about our lust instead of crucifying it. Then our flesh is aroused.

James 1:14-15 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

When we do not deny the screams of the flesh or guard against exposing the flesh to sinful opportunities, we allow sin to grow and it brings death and deadness to our soul because we grieve the Holy Spirit. The joy of the Lord is gone. So, be careful what you do. Be careful where you go. Be careful who you hang out with. Be careful what you watch.

Stay focused on Jesus Christ and listen to the Holy Spirit!

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces, all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Our transformation comes partially from exposure to glory of the Lord. Just as exposure to the world stirs the flesh and transforms the soul into its image, exposure to the glory of the Lord stirs our spirit and transforms the soul into His glorious image. Grace and power for walking by the Spirit comes through a growing knowledge of Jesus and the filling of His Spirit. As we focus on these things, we gain victory over the flesh.

Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

If you were keep track of your daily activities, how much of it includes a conscious effort to focus on Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Do you think about Jesus and His Word? Do you focus on the Holy Spirit or on the desires of your flesh?

Our behavior flows out of our thinking—which develops a desire—which requires a choice. Who will we worship—Christ or ourselves?

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Of course, the renewing of our minds can only come through regular interaction with the truth of God found in His Word. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He implants His Word in us by the Holy Spirit. When we obey what He says, our behavior is transformed into the behavior of Christ.

James 1:21-22 Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

It is the implanting of the Word of God that transforms our soul (mind, will, emotions). When we humbly submit to the Holy Spirit, we become doers of the Word and not just hearers of it.

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 “Deny yourself and follow Jesus”. We must choose which one to obey—our flesh or the Holy Spirit. We end up choosing what we set our minds on.

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

Again, the Holy Spirit is God in us. When we are born again of the Spirit, God becomes our Father, Jesus becomes our Lord, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us. 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 sinful nature and to live obediently for Jesus.

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.

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, He empowers us with love that desires to obey Jesus Christ in all areas of our life! By His grace and power, we will deny the lusts of the flesh! We will be free from our sin addictions! We will have victory over temptation and the devil!

However, 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 God the 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 an intimate relationship with God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

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. Confess Jesus as your Lord, and follow Him in baptism, which signifies the death to your old life and the birth of a new life by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will continue to renew your mind and conform your life to be like Jesus.