“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:16-17
Friends, you are in a war. This war isn’t going to be over anytime soon, either. It’s going to be long, and it’s going to be difficult. You’ll have battles in this war – daily battles. The most interesting about this war is that the outcome of every battle is 100% dependent on your will to overcome it. In war, the enemy strategizes against you. He’s unpredictable. But in this war, you actually can win every single battle because it’s something you have control of.
I’m talking about the war between your flesh and your Spirit. I have two thoughts for you about this war.
First, just because you can win every battle doesn’t mean you will win every battle. I fully believe that we can choose to do right, but the fact of the matter is that we won’t always make that decision. This isn’t a license to keep sinning, but rather an admission that we’re going to fall short. So this first fact is this: you’re going to lose sometimes. And that’s ok. Our faith is about progress. Two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward. You can’t let the one step back knock you out completely and cause you to give up. When your flesh wins, repent and move forward.
Second, celebrate victories. Life isn’t easy. This war isn’t easy. When you follow the instructions in this verse, and you walk by the Spirit, celebrate those victories! What does that look like? It means thanking God for seeing you through. It means acknowledging your growth and victory on the journey. It’s ok to pat yourself on the back occasionally because of how you’ve grown, because of your ability to walk by the Spirit, and because of where God has brought you. So celebrate those victories when you have them. They may keep you going through the next battle.
“God, help me to walk by the Spirit daily. Keep my eyes on You, and keep my focus on overcoming the battles of the flesh. Help me to stay encouraged when I fall short, and help me to celebrate when I stay strong. Amen.”