Overcomer #19 – Living by the Spirit
Henri Nouwen said, “I cannot continuously say no to this or no to that, unless there is something ten times more attractive to choose. Saying no to my lust, my greed, my needs, and the world’s powers takes an enormous amount of energy. The only hope is to find something so obviously real and attractive that I can devote all my energies to saying yes.”
He added that the one thing he could say yes to was being loved by God.
Saying no can be hard. Conflict takes place within us because the sinful nature and the Holy Spirit do not get along at all (Galatians 5:17). At times it feels like a civil war going on inside us. Our sinful nature is contesting against the Holy Spirit.
But knowing God and being loved by him motivates us to live on a higher plane.
Since we were born in the Spirit, we choose to “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). We say yes to God and let the life of Christ live through us every day. As we do, we won’t gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
We discover the beasts of our sinful desires have been chained. They’re no longer running loose.
Still, we can fail to keep our distance. Become careless. Deliberately give occasion to sin. Open the door to an old sinful habit. We are then to blame for the consequences.
But as we live by the Spirit, we have God’s power, energy, and strength working in us. We have the ability to say “no” to temptation and sin.
We combine our will and God’s power.
We exercise our will. Instead of giving up and giving in, we get up and fight to win. We fight all the way and refuse to be defeated.
We also access God’s power. We choose to be “led by the Spirit,” under his control, under his leadership, instead of under the dominating power of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:18).
Continually saying yes to God. Letting Christ live his life through us. Living by the Spirit. We experience freedom in Christ – knowing God and being loved by him, being liberated to do what God wants us to do and love doing it.
~ Pastor Dave