Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you would. “
©Jeanne E Webster
“Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd;
There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud;
There’s one that’s brokenhearted for his sins
And one who, unrepentant, sits and grins;
There’s one who loves his neighbor as himself
And one who cares for naught but fame and pelf.
From such corroding care I would be free
If once I could determine which is me.”
The above verse is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? I would imagine that it holds true for most us. This body, for a Christian, is quite hard to control, to rein in, and to subdue. To put it frankly, the Christian is a battlefield. The flesh desires to sin; the Spirit is constrained to obey the things of the Spirit. Every day we are made aware of the constant battle between the two natures.
Paul continues with a stark comparison of the two natures:
The works of the flesh are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, sexual excesses, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings….
[Paul adds some powerful drama here with this warning…”As I have told you before in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”]
But the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance….
The differences are startling.
As in any war, action must be taken in order to achieve victory. The finger points at each one of us, dear Christians. Will we remain passive and continue to tolerate the works of the flesh within us? Or shall we rear up off our sanctified haunches and give way to the power of the Spirit to crucify this flesh? The victory has already been won; we merely have to give the “Charge!”
“Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”