Summary: “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” Gal. 5:16-17.
Walk faithfully in the Lord
Man is a spirit, he possesses a soul and he lives in a body. The body can be likened to the clothes we wear. You get into them that is put them on and they move with you. You get out of them, that is take them off and they remain where you put them. Likewise, the body without the Spirit cannot do anything. It is placed in a coffin and buried. Why then do we try to bring the Spirit under the body’s control instead of the body under the spirit’s control? It is the spirit that is made in the image of God and has authority and dominion to rule on earth. Man relinquished his authority when he died spiritually because of sin. Separated from God, that is spiritually dead; man became a slave to Satan and could no longer fulfil God’s divine purpose. For God’s divine purpose to be restored and fulfilled God had to give man spiritual life, create him a new man, to enable him walk faithfully in the Lord.
There are two kinds of people in the world, the unbeliever and the believer. What separates the one from the other is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. All of us are spiritually dead because of sin. Separated from God leads to a walk without Him and a walk without God is a walk that is contrary to His Word. Adam and Eve did not believe the Word of God and this ultimately led to the sin of disobedience. Sin led to separation from God and in their new sinful condition everything they did was sinful. Their walk in life became a sinful one. It became a walk characterised by unbelief. Now as slaves of Satan, the father of lies, they believed the lie and lived a life of unbelief.
Christ paid the penalty for sin to reconcile us to God and give us spiritual life i.e. eternal life. To receive eternal life we must be born into the Kingdom of God and this is only possible by accepting Christ as our Saviour and Lord. When we are born again into the family of God, we receive the Spirit of God, and the nature and character of the family, i.e. the life and nature of Christ. We become spiritually alive as citizens of the Kingdom of God and are to grow up to become like Christ. As a citizen of the Kingdom of God, we have many privileges. The first is that we are reconciled with God and given back the authority and dominion, which Satan had stolen from us. As a citizen of the Kingdom of God, we are to manifest the character of Christ, demonstrate His power in our lives and impact the world. What impact are we making in the world? As citizens of heaven, we have our names in the Lamb’s book of life and our place is secure, but while we wait here, we must live as if we were in heaven.
There are two kinds of believers, the carnal and the spiritual. Those who are spiritual manifest the character and power of Christ. They are committed to Christ and walk faithfully in the Spirit. Those that are carnally minded walk according to the flesh. Walking according to the flesh is to have a mindset that is contrary to the Word of God. When we are saved we become a new creation but lifelong habits resulting from a way of thinking contrary to the word of God are difficult to change. This mindset does not rely on God but on self. The carnal believer is deceived to believe that going to Church or leading a good life pleases God. The Scriptures clearly reveal that the grace of God has replaced the Law. After spiritual birth, it is necessary to grow spiritually and bear the characteristics of the kingdom of heaven by total reliance on Christ. To return to the Law is to rely on self rather than on God. It is one of the enemy’s most effective weapons to keep the truth of who we are in Christ.
Belief in Christ should put an end to dependence on the flesh. In 2 kings 2 Elisha knew the time had come for Elijah to leave. He also knew that as a prophet of God Elijah did not depend or trust in his own strength. He desired a double portion of the anointing that was on Elijah. Elijah told him that it would only be possible if he focused on what was necessary. What demanded his focus was what was needed for him to witness Elijah being taken away. Elisha did not allow anything that would make him miss the time of Elijah’s departure. His focus did not waver and he received the promise. Today, our belief in Christ should make us focus on Him. However, many believers are not focused on Christ. Instead their focus is on what Christ has to offer rather than who He is. The gospel reading from Luke 9 teaches us the various reasons people follow Christ using the example of three would be disciples. The first person was prepared to follow Jesus everywhere. He offered to follow Him because he was impressed with the benefits such as having access to food and healing. His focus was on the benefits and not on Christ. Although Jesus was the One who called the second person he wanted to follow Christ at his own convenience. He probably heard Jesus say He had no place to lay His head and wanted to wait for the death of his father and receive his inheritance before following Jesus so that when the need arose he could afford to pay for a place to sleep. He was depending on self rather than on Christ. The third person was still attracted to what he was leaving behind and could not be of any use to Christ if he kept looking back and longing for what he had left behind. Many today not only look back but are still engaged in the works of the flesh. These are evident in sexual immorality, idolatry, drunkenness, bribery and corruption and many more. The walk of the spiritual believer is one of total reliance and commitment to Christ. “No one having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of heaven”. Our focus should be directed to Christ alone for He is more than sufficient to meet our needs.