“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with one another, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:16-17
Have you ever helped your child perform that famous science fair experiment where you pour oil into water and try to mix it up? No matter how hard you shake or stir, they will always separate… because oil and water just do not mix.
Picture your physical body as the container. Inside, as a Christ follower, you have the living water of Christ—the Holy Spirit. But you also have a sin nature (also called the flesh). And just like oil and water, these two will never mix.
Not only don’t they mix, they are opposed to one another. What the Holy Spirit desires, the sin nature will set itself against, and vice versa. At times it can feel like an agonizing game of tug-of-war as the Spirit pulls towards holiness and the sin nature yanks your conscience towards the desires of your flesh. It is no wonder that Paul describes it as a conflict in verse 17. And as long as you live in this body, the conflict will remain unresolved.
Many Christians have been misinformed, or uninformed, about this struggle between the Spirit and the sin nature. Many live in overwhelming defeat and frustration because of the battle that rages within their hearts and minds. We must understand that the battle itself is not sin. In fact, it is inevitable. The good news is that we now have the freedom in Christ to make a choice. We are not slaves to our sin nature. We can choose to go with Christ, even when the sin nature pulls against us. The Spirit is stronger!
So, instead of focusing on the battle, let’s set our hearts on Christ, our Deliverer. When we choose to yield control to His Spirit, He will always lead us away from sin, and closer to the heart of God.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You have overcome sin on my behalf. Thank You for giving me Your Spirit to lead me each day. Please help me to choose each moment to live by Your Spirit so that my life glorifies You. Amen.