“Watch and pray” Jesus told the disciples, “lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
How do we walk in the Spirit?
The way we walk in the Spirit is by living our lives by the Word of God, controlling ourselves according to its principles, and following the guidance of the Word as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God agree perfectly because the Word is of the Spirit.
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
Only the Holy Spirit gives life. Our flesh profits us nothing. The flesh—our works—our efforts provide no lasting results without the power of the Spirit. We don't walk in the Spirit as a result of overcoming the flesh. Instead, overcoming the flesh is the result of walking in the Spirit.
Some Christians believe that as we overcome our flesh, there is an increase in the power of God in our lives. That was basically what the Pharisees of Jesus' day and the legalistic Jews of Paul's day taught. Just the opposite is true. As we experience more of the presence and power of the Spirit of God, the influence of the flesh is weakened. Victory comes as we experience more of God and less of ourselves.
How do you fill a dark room with light? You don’t get rid of the darkness and then the light appears. You turn on the light and then the darkness disperses. In the very same way, the Holy Spirit shines His light into your life and then the darkness disperses. We can no more get rid of the power of the flesh on our own than we can get rid of the power of darkness without light. We have to receive the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives by grace, and then the relationship we have with Him breaks the power of the flesh.
We have to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the power of the flesh. We do this through faith. We desperately need the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself when the flesh is causing us problems. Those who wait for the Spirit to reveal Himself after the flesh has tempted them will wait as long as the man who tries to get rid of the darkness so the light will appear.
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-6)
Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:14). His light shines into all the darkness of this world, but those in darkness can’t perceive Him. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
You have received new life in Jesus Christ! His light shines in the darkness, and disperses the darkness of sin and unbelief. If you remain in spiritual darkness—if you don’t study His Word—if you don’t seek His truth, you won’t perceive the new life that is yours. Your flesh cannot understand. Your flesh cannot overcome. It will profit you nothing.
But Praise God! The power of darkness has no hold over us. God has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).
Be watchful and pray. Be careful that you do not sin. Make good choices in your life. Don’t place yourself in situations that tempt you. But understand that even though you may not want to sin, your flesh is weak. Your efforts to overcome sin without the Holy Spirit will profit you nothing. Only Jesus living within you—only the righteousness that is yours in Christ—has overcome your sin.
John 1:9 says of Jesus, “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”
On the cross before you even came into this world, the grace of Jesus defeated your sin. His righteousness overcame your flesh. But if you don’t believe in the truths of your salvation, it will make little difference in your effort to live a holy life. Holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit in you. The light of Jesus Christ overcomes the darkness, and through faith, the Holy Spirit empowers your choice to live the righteousness that you have received.
© 2023 Lynn Lacher