By Larry Crowe
Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV) So I say, walk 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.
Scripture tells us that once we are saved, we are new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), and that we are one in Spirit with the Lord. (1 Cor 6:17). So, why is it that I am still so easily pulled back into thinking sinful thoughts, and into saying and doing sinful things? These verses from Galatians have helped me understand the answer to that question and how God intends for us to deal with this problem.
Although God does indeed make us a new creation at the moment that we are saved, forgiving all our sins, past, present, and future, imputing Christ’s righteousness to us, and giving us a new heart and nature inclined toward him, he leaves us in our old fleshly bodies while he works to sanctify us and make us more Christlike, moving us toward a state of greater maturity in our faith. This is the journey of working out our salvation and moving from milk to the meat of our faith that Paul and the writer of Hebrews talk about in Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Corinthians 3:1-23, and Hebrews 5:11-6:3.
God in his infinite wisdom has made us a new creation within our old bodies so that we would continually be driven back to him as we go through life, seeking the Spirit’s help and answers in God’s inspired Word, as we seek to live our lives in a manner pleasing to him. We will get better at it as our internalized knowledge of scripture expands, and as we develop the habit of more and more quickly taking each thought captive and asking, “Is what I am about to think, say or do what God would have me think, say or do, or merely what my flesh would have me think, say or do?”
How would your life be changed if you cultivated the habit of pausing for an instant and taking each thought captive, to ensure that you are thinking, speaking or acting in accordance with the Spirit instead of your flesh?
Prayer: Father, Lord, and Spirit help me to develop an unwavering spiritual discipline of always taking each thought captive and seeking direction from the Spirit and your word so that, as I continue my walk with you, I get ever better at thinking, speaking and acting only in ways that reflect and honor you, rather than my old fleshly nature. Amen