“But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” ~ Galatians 5:16-17
Do you ever feel like there’s a war going on inside you? You want to serve the Lord and obey His Word and follow His plan. But sometimes you find yourself doing the exact opposite, and enjoying it! At least, in the moment. Then afterward, regret follows, along with shame and exasperation. Why does it seem like there are two different people living in you sometimes?
The good news is, you’re not alone. All of us deal with this. Even people back in Bible days. That’s why Paul wrote about it in Galatians. Some of his fellow believers were struggling with trying to live godly, just like we do now. Paul’s encouragement to them was to walk by the Spirit, or to pursue the things the Spirit desires in you. If we try to live to please both the Spirit and our selves, inevitably we stay frustrated. But when we decide to pursue one or the other, we have a lot more chance at success.
Later in chapter 5, Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the things the Spirit desires to produce in us, and so these are the things we should be pursuing. Chase these things wholeheartedly, and they will keep you from fulfilling selfish desires.