Summary: Our desires are the heart of the mind and can lead us to great things as well as destructive patterns.
Well, I have to tell you, men, I do believe that us reigning in our desires and guiding our motivation are very important. I just want you to think - just for a moment about 1 area in your life where you lack self-control. Just 1 area. Whether it's - you eat too much. Whether it's you drive like a maniac. Whether it's - you lose your temper too often. You're over consumed with work.
Whatever it might be, I want you to think about that area in your life where you lack self-control. And think to yourself why do you lack self-control in that area? Really this is a very insightful question that we can ask ourselves. Because inside of this question - and really understanding why we do the things that we do - we discover that often men, that we are completely led by our desires.
Unfortunately, we just hand ourselves over to the desires of our life. Maybe because we have ready access to them all the time. And I just want to say, men - it's time to not let our desires control us. It's time to start desiring God. But how do we go about that?
Today - I want to look at, and understand our desires and passions and how to handle our desires and direct them toward a Godly outcome. So that we can find fulfillment in desiring yourself in God himself. And live with more maybe self-control, as we find ourselves adoring God himself.
So I want to look today at Galatians chapter 5, verses 16 through 26. Which I think are some of the most insightful of verses on this topic. Let me read it for you. You can follow along in your Bible if you have it in front of you. You can open up your Bible app to Galatians chapter 5. It says this.
"But I say walk by the spirit, and you will 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 keep you from doing the things that you want to do. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident - sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these."
"I warn you - as I warned you before, that those who do 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. And those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the spirit, let us also keep in step with the spirit. But let's not become conceited, provoking one another and envying one another."
Now, men, I think these are powerful words in this text. I just want to notice some incredible observations here. The first observation I see is this. Is that there's a war. There's a battle going on between flesh and the spirit. What's interesting about this battle, is it's not really just external to us. It's internal to us. It's something that happens inside of us. Inside the heart, the will, the mind, the soul of the believer. And what Paul's trying to do here, is to make clear that that is where the battle happens.
Next observation is this. Is that we have these long lists of outcomes. For those who live by the flesh, there's outcomes or outputs of immorality and purity, sensuality, adultery, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalry, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. When it comes to the spirit, there's this other list that's very contrasting. That very negative, this one very positive. Says, "For the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." And these are very positive outputs.
Next, we see in - in these texts-- In this text. A number of really important action words, all attached to the spirit. There are words like walk - be led by. Live - keep in step with the spirit. Demonstrating that there's some activity that we need to do, right? To keep our life in line with the spirit. Next, we see that there are rewards on the other side, right? So the reward of living in the flesh is that we get to live under the law. Doesn't sound like a lot of fun. The reward of living by the spirit, or keeping in step with the spirit is freedom. We're not under the law, so freedom. It sounds pretty good to me, right?