I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 NABRE
Paul teaches the Spirit lives within us. Paul calls it the Spirit of God. “But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. (Romans 8:9) We have the Spirit of God in us when we become followers of God. But the Spirit cannot lead us if we don’t allow it. What is contrary to the Spirit of God are the desires of the flesh. Desire is an emotion, it can mean disordered desires, a passion, a covetous, or lust. Paul uses the word flesh when describing the things that lead us to sin. Usually pride, or ego, what Thomas Merton called the false self. It is the self that needs to be called wonderful, needs to be told it is great, that needs to think what it is does is amazing, it is the self that convinces itself we are what we do, or we are what people say about us or we are what we have. Paul sees it as our sinful self. The self in us that wants things that bring immediate sensation over ultimate gratification, pleasure over fulfillment, prioritizes things over people, seeks images rather than intimacy, or experience over exclusivity. The false self is the sinful self. Paul knows we will be better, we will be more loving people, we will enjoy life better if we live by the Spirit rather than the flesh. The things of the flesh may bring some immediate happiness but for ultimate lasting joy we need to follow the Spirit who leads us to the will of God.
Human strength is not enough to overcome the flesh, the sinful self, we need the power of the Spirit. The Spirit dwells in us, we must call on the Spirit and follow it wherever it may lead.
Can you call upon the Spirit to lead your life? Do you think you can avoid the desires of the flesh on your own?Human strength is not enough to overcome the flesh, the sinful self, we need the power of the Spirit. The Spirit dwells in us, we must call on the Spirit and follow it wherever it may lead. Click To Tweet
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