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The War Of Love

Galatians 5:16-18
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (NIVUK)

Not all conflict comes outside of us. The most important conflicts go on inside our hearts. The Spirit of God comes into people who believe in Jesus, giving them the desire and the power to resist the passions of the flesh. But our sinful natures are set to ignore the Spirit of God and neutralise His instructions. So there is a contest between God’s will and our sinful passions: between His Spirit and our flesh. They are totally opposite to each other. Without God’s power we will fall, but if we let His Spirit operate in us, He will help us to overcome those wrong impulses.
The Galatians were confused and did not understand. So Paul needed to explain that they were in a spiritual battle, every day. It was not just their wrestling over doctrinal matters (such as ‘law’ and ‘grace’ which occupies so much of this letter) but in dealing with anger, immorality, occult practices and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21). These habits are commonplace and many believers are frustrated by being defeated in these areas. So Paul wrote to tell them that they had to listen to the Spirit, stay with Him, walk with Him and ask for His strength to resist their sinful impulses.
Don’t let your emotions or body tell you what to do; they do not have the ultimate authority over you. If you belong to Christ, walk with Him through each day. As you let His Spirit motivate and direct you, there will be less opportunity for your fleshly nature to direct you into sin. When you feel the heat of the battle in your heart and mind, submit yourself to the Lord and ask for His help so that you may serve Him and not sin against Him. That battle is not wrong - it is essential! It may not be easy: that is why we have to call on the Lord’s strength. He wants us to win – it glorifies Him, shames the devil, enables us to be useful in His Kingdom, witnesses to His power in the world, gives us confidence to keep trusting and will be rewarded when Jesus returns. So let the Spirit lead you into practical truthful decisions today.

Dear Lord God. I am so glad that You do not leave me alone to be at the whim of my emotions and fleshly desires. Thank You for giving me Your Spirit to give me the courage to deal with my fleshly desires. But I am sorry for the many times I have failed to seek Your help and have therefore frustrated and grieved Your Spirit. Please help me to put myself under Your authority and fill me again with Your Spirit so that I can learn to serve You by serving others and denying myself. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams