Sin is often frightfully deceptive. We can be diligently serving the Lord without realizing that we’re actually doing so for selfish reasons such as recognition, affirmation, or achieving our own goals. Or maybe our external behavior doesn’t match what’s really going on within our heart. We could be doing all the right things outwardly while at the same time holding a grudge, finding fault, or grumbling in our heart.
These problems flow from our flesh and its sinful desires, which are part of the condition in which we were born. The only cure for a self-focused life is what Galatians 5:16 calls “walking by the Spirit.”
First, we must realize that we cannot live a godly life apart from the Holy Spirit. Remember, the flesh cannot be changed or tamed but must be replaced with dependence on the Holy Spirit. He alone can overcome the pull of sin because His power is unlimited.
Second, we must surrender to the Holy Spirit rather than yield to our fleshly desires. In other words, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom. 13:14).
Third, we must trust the Lord. We can’t fully surrender to Him until we confidently believe both that His Word is true and that He keeps His promises. Then, as our thoughts, decisions, and actions align with the truths of Scripture, we are empowered to stand firm against temptation.
God wants you to live in the fullness of His Spirit. So lay your flesh down at the cross today, and let the Spirit lead you into a fruitful, abundant life.