spiritual warfare and our desires

This morning I was spending time in God’s Word, reading through Galatians chapters 4 and 5. Beginning in verse 16 of chapter 5, Paul begins to talk about the difference of living according to our fleshly desires and living according to the Spirit of God that now resides in us as Followers of Christ.

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

We all have things we desire. A desire is simply something we crave or really want. We all like certain things, have a passion for something specific, and are drawn to certain types of things. Those are things we desire.

Some of our desires are not bad, and some are. The reason we have both good and bad desires is because we are human; our flesh battles against the Spirit we have in us as Followers of Christ. The Spirit is stronger than the flesh, but we can allow our fleshly desires to take over and become our main focus if we are not careful.

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 you want to do. (Galatians 5:17)

The other day I wrote a post about Spiritual Warfare and our Feelings. In it I said that we have to guard our feelings and emotions, because they are vulnerable and susceptible to attack. I believe that our feelings and emotions are the area we must guard the most, because it is our most vulnerable area. I’m not saying I believe feelings and emotions are bad, I’m just saying they are vulnerable.

Connected to our feelings and emotions are our desires. Often, what we desire will be a direct result to the state of our feelings and emotions. If our feelings and emotions are grounded on truth and we are guarding them, our desires will also be grounded. If our feelings and emotions are not being guarded and seem to constantly be changing, our desires will follow. If we are suppressing our feelings and emotions…or allowing them to be suppressed…we won’t be sure what we desire.

In verses 19 – 24 Paul gives us two lists; one list is how those who are allowing the desires of their flesh to lead how they act, and the other list is how those who are allowing the Spirit to lead how they act. We call the second list the “Fruit of the Spirit”.

Obviously, as Followers of Christ we should be striving to allow the Spirit to lead us, so that the second list is evident in our actions. But we have to also be honest, because if we are not guarding ourselves, we can begin to desire the things of this world…or at the least not desire Godliness in our life, which if we allow that to last for a while, will begin to open us to begin desiring worldly things more.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

Paul ends this section with a challenge. If we have the Spirit, let’s make sure we live and stay in line with the Spirit’s leading in our life. As Followers of Christ, we have the Spirit living with us. Because of this, we need to allow the Spirit to lead us and guide our actions. We need to allow what we desire to be guided by the Spirit of God living in us.

In this constant battle between our flesh and the Spirit, we must pray hard and work to stay focused on the things of God, so that we do not allow ourselves to begin to allow our fleshly desires to take over. If we don’t continue to follow the Spirits leading, eventually our lack of desiring Godliness will cause us to be vulnerable to begin replacing those Godly desires for fleshly ones. Even when we weren’t intending to seek after our fleshly desires, if we don’t intentionally continue to allow the Spirit to lead us, our flesh will grow stronger and fleshly desires will begin to take over.

Stand strong. Remain strong. Trust God. Follow the Spirits leading. Avoid fleshly desires by pursuing Godliness.