Gal 5:16-18 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
We are instructed her to live (see Strong’s definition of walk) in the Spirit. The Spirit of God is to be our abiding place once we have been called to liberty. Abiding in the Spirit assures us that we will love our neighbor as ourselves. When we abide in the Spirit, we will not use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh. Walking in the Spirit is our sure defense against carrying out our carnal desires.
The carnal desires are against the Spirit. It is not in our carnal nature to want the things of God. Jesus told the disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Mar 10:25-27). The disciples then asked “Who then can be saved?” The answer that Jesus made was quite plain: salvation (both in His kingdom here and in our eternal home) is impossible for man. Thankfully, there is nothing impossible with God!
It is impossible for our carnal desire to want the things of the Spirit, and it is impossible for the Spirit to be pleased with anything born of our carnal desire. We deceive ourselves when we act as though we can persuade God to approve of our fleshly plans. The desire (lust) of the Spirit is just as opposed to the flesh as the lust (desire) of the flesh is to the Spirit. How we should rejoice that the Spirit is greater than the flesh!
Thanks be to God that the Spirit brings the carnal under subjection. By His grace, we who are called to be servants cannot do the things we otherwise would. While our carnal nature might seek for ways to use our liberty to gain advantage over our brothers and sisters, our life in the Spirit forbids it. Walking in the Spirit requires that we fulfil the teaching to love our neighbors as ourselves.
It is not natural to want to be led. Anyone who has ever put a leash on a dog for the first time can attest to this. They balk; they pull back against the leash; they will lie down and refuse to budge. One of our dogs was adept at chewing through her leash: we would be walking along and suddenly the leash would be slack in my hand and she would be going her own way.
However, there is liberty in being led of the Spirit. When we are led of the Spirit, we have no further need for the leash of the law. I have always been amazed at people who have a talent for gaining so much love and trust from their pets (dogs, cats, horses, etc.) that they are excited to perform their master’s bidding. How wonderful when our Master has called up the love and trust in us to be joyful to do His will. There is no need for law when we are made willing to be led by the Spirit.
May we have the joy of living in the Spirit with the sure knowledge that doing so enables us to resist the things of the flesh!