Summary: We win our battles against our compulsion to sin when we depend on the Holy Spirit. We must live by the Spirit to conquer fleshly desires, be led by the Spirit to conquer fleshly deeds, and walk with the Spirit to enjoy the death of the flesh.
Don’t depend on the flesh or your own self-effort. Depend on God’s Holy Spirit – let Him live His life through you. 1st, Live by the Spirit and defeat the desires of the flesh. 2nd, Be led by the Spirit and defeat the deeds of the flesh.
And finally, WALK WITH THE SPIRIT. Keep in step with what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life. Imitate His way and enjoy the death of the flesh.
Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
You see, every believer has already crucified his or her sinful nature.
Ding, dong the wicked flesh is dead! You say, “Phil, it feels very much alive. Tell me, when did it die? Well, it died when Christ died on the cross.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ.” Romans 6 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (vs. 6-7).
The old sinful nature, with its sinful passions and desires, is dead! To be sure, we still carry it around on the inside, but it no longer has any life; It no longer has any power over us. So don’t cater to its passions any more. Don’t give in to its desires.
J. Vernon McGee used to tell a story about a lady in the Deep South who married her childhood sweetheart. They had a good life together until he was suddenly taken by a heart attack. Not being able to part with him, she decided to have him embalmed, put in a chair, sealed up in a glass case, and placed inside the front door of their large plantation home. There he sat, day after day, as she acknowledged his presence with a smile and a friendly wave.
A year or so later, she decided to take a lengthy trip to
Europe. It was a delightful change of scenery. In fact, while in Europe, she met a fine American gentleman who was also on vacation. He swept her off her feet. After a whirlwind romance, they got married and honeymooned all over Europe. She said nothing about ol’ John back on the farm.
Finally, they traveled together back to the States. As they were driving up the winding road to her home, he began to make some plans. He was thinking, “This is my moment to lift my bride over the threshold and carry her back into her home – this wonderful place where we’ll live together forever.” So when they arrived, he picked her up, bumped the door open with his hip, and walked right in. He almost dropped his bride on the floor!
“Who is this?” he asked.
“Well, that is John,” she replied. “He was my old man from…”
“He is history,” her new husband told her. “He’s dead!” And that new husband immediately dug a big hole and buried her old man in it, case and all. (Chuck Swindoll, Grace Awakening, pp.114-115)
That story describes the way a lot of believers treat their old sinful nature. They put it in a case, greet it every morning, and cater to it every day of their lives. They live as if that old sinful nature is still alive, even though it’s dead.