Grow • Devotion 4

Stepping With the Spirit
Pastor Josh Yates

“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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:16-18

I love soccer, or should I say, futbol? I realize that I lost some of you just by saying that. I used to be that person too. Soccer is a game of high drama. IYKYK (If you know, you know). When your team scores, it is some of the highest elation in all of sports.

On May 8, 2019, my team, Tottenham Hotspur, was in the Champions League semi-final against Ajax, a team from Amsterdam. The Champions League is on par with the Super Bowl, only in Europe. The Spurs had lost the first leg of the semi-final 1-0 at home and had to go to Amsterdam to try to win. Ajax scored two goals in the first half and it seemed like my team was done. The team looked dejected; I was depressed at halftime. Then, one of the greatest comebacks in soccer history began. The Spurs came out like a different team, they were determined. They scored in the 55th minute and the 59th minute to draw to within 3-2. They had to score one more goal to win the semi-final. In soccer, when playing two legs of competition, the team that has the most away goals wins in the event of a tie over the two legs.

Spurs’ shots were just wide multiple times, they hit the post at least twice. I was a mess! At the end of the match, five minutes of stoppage time was added to the game because of injuries during the second half. Nothing was going our way. We had the ball at midfield with 94:53 on the clock. This would be the last chance. The ball was sent deep into the Ajax half of the field and controlled by one of the Spurs’ players. Two passes later and with 95:01 showing on the clock, Lucas Moura put the ball in the back of the net to win the game and send the Spurs to the Champions League final, the first in the club’s history.

This sent me into a frenzy (along with all other Spurs’ fans) screaming at the top of my lungs and running in circles around my office. Jeannie, my wife, burst in the door to make sure I was not dying. The Spurs never gave up that day and they achieved an improbable victory, one that gives me goosebumps even as I write this.

So, why in the world do I share this in a devotional book?

We face an enemy every single day that is called the flesh. We have a choice each day whether we will serve God or serve our flesh. The flesh is the biggest tool of our enemy, Satan, to hinder us in our walk with God and make us ineffective in sharing the Gospel to those around us.

The Apostle Paul wrote Galatians to encourage the people in Galatia to return to following Jesus, not the false teachers that were leading them astray. They had been called to freedom, not a return to the slavery of sin in the flesh.

How do we overcome the lure and the pull that the flesh has on each and every one of us? We walk in the Spirit. We make a decision to follow and obey Jesus not just every day but in every situation. The only way we can know the decisions to make by walking in the Spirit is to be in God’s Word, asking God for His strength through prayer, and living in a community with God’s people, the church.

It is like the story I shared today, we can choose to be down and out, thinking that the flesh will win; or we can look to God, choose to walk in the Spirit, and never give up.

If you choose the latter, you will receive the strength and power you need to overcome the temptations of the flesh. That is something to cheer and scream about at the top of your lungs while running around your office!

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