Galatians 5:17

Jesus Died for Our Sins | Devotion #4: Galatians 5:17
Caleb Combs | Gathering Pastor

We all remember growing up and watching cartoons. Some of us still enjoy watching them. Remember the cartoon character that comes across a situation where he must decide to do right or wrong? The cartoon then showed us a memorable picture. At that moment, an angel appeared on his right shoulder and began to “influence” him to do right.  Then out of nowhere, a devil appeared on the other shoulder with a deep raspy voice and attempted to convince the character to do wrong. The cartoonist painted a picture with visuals, but also characteristics. The characteristics of the good angel showed him wearing white, put together in appearance, and with a very soft weak voice. The devil, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of the “good” angel. He had horns and wore a red cape, yielded a pitchfork, and had a strong, deep voice. These two characters would argue and battle back and forth for the next few minutes, attempting to convince the cartoon character to go to their side and do what they wanted. This battle, although funny in a cartoon, is a great picture of the innermost beings of every follower of Christ.  

Of course, we do not have two little cartoons that appear on our shoulders every time we need to make a decision, but we have two innate sides that fight for influence in our life every single day. The Bible calls them Spirit (good) and Flesh (bad).  When we are born into the world, we are born into the flesh. Because of Adam’s sin, we are all now born into sin. Romans 3:23 tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You see, God created man perfect, but in our failure, we brought the flesh into our lives. Through the cross and blood of Jesus, we gain access to the Spirit. It is only when we repent of our sins and call upon the name of the Lord to be our Savior, that we receive the Spirit in our lives. However, we still battle the flesh. How do we balance the two? Galatians 5:17 tells us, “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.” Although we laugh at the picture drawn in the cartoons, it is a real battle that rages every day inside us. The key to fighting the battle between flesh and spirit is paying attention to which side we are feeding.

We can feed the spirit by reading God’s Word. His Word is our daily bread; it is nourishment to our souls. We need to be constantly growing in His Word to feed the Spirit. We need to spend time with God in prayer, constantly seeking His direction in our lives. The Bible is a perfect blueprint for living in the Spirit. I love the acronym for the Bible, “Believers Instruction Before Leaving Earth.” The more we feed the Spirit in our lives, the more it grows and influences our decisions. However, the same goes for the flesh. The more we feed the flesh, the bigger it gets and the more it influences our decisions. We feed the flesh by ignoring the Bible and its teachings and doing whatever is contrary to what God says. 

As a believer, we have to understand this battle wages inside us, because if you do not realize it, you could be feeding the flesh and block out the spirit in your life. The Apostle Paul warns his listeners in 1 Thessalonians 5:14-19 not to “quench the Spirit.” Man is that a scary thought! I cringe at the thought of blocking out or quenching God’s direction in my life. 

Which are you feeding more? What changes do you need to make to start feeding the Spirit? Have you been feeding the flesh for so long that it has grown so large you cannot even hear the Spirit? Today is the day to seek God’s will and direction in your life and begin feeding the Spirit. You and I need to get to it!

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