Spirit vs flesh

Last updated on August 18, 2023

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

Paul gives valuable advice to his readers about living for God’s glory. In doing so, he contrasts “the Spirit” with “the desires of the flesh.” If we are led by the Spirit, we will not give in to “the desires of the flesh.” By this Paul does not necessarily mean our body. That in itself is not sinful but rather can be used for God’s glory. What is meant here are earthly lusts, our old sinful hearts that are still clinging to wrong desires.

In verse 17, Paul explains this again: “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.” So, you can only be led by one or the other.
Which of the two determines your life is shown by your behavior. Paul cites several examples of both. For example, the practices to which earthly lust incites are sexual immorality, rivalries and idolatry. On the contrary, the fruit of the Spirit consists of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Do you see how different the two lists are? Do you long to see the fruit of the Spirit flourish in your life? Then let the Holy Spirit guide you!

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