Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5)
From the above Scripture we see that our choices are all about our desires; desiring to follow our sinful nature or desiring to follow God’s righteousness. Our thoughts (mind) lead to our feelings (heart) and to our actions, whether positive or negative.
Jesus came to help us guard and renew our minds so we may lead our actions from a contrite heart and not a contrived heart. This is accomplished through His peace:
Once you do this then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your heart and mind as you live in Christ Jesus.
We all struggle to do what is right and our flesh is in constant battle with the Spirit of God. We’ll always be active in our humanity, but Jesus gives us the ability to desire more righteousness in our lives through the Holy Spirit. Then we are led by His divinity.
If we can pinpoint the things that cause us to sin, we can be better equipped to surrender these things to God and repent of them. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth and when our truth is revealed, we have spiritual warfare going on inside of us. We often do not want to be told we’re wrong or to change our ways, yet our ways are what keep us from the peace of God and our well-being. Our ways enslaves us into a ‘false sense of freedom’.
Our solution is drawing closer to God, inviting Jesus into our hearts as our personal Saviour. Then we can abide more fully in the Spirit of God. The more we live in the Spirit, the less we desire to sin. We want to choose what is right, for we experience the deep peace, love and joy of God when we desire righteousness.
The core of our sinful nature is based on the 7 Deadly Sins: pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust. When we acknowledge these vices in our lives and in our choices, we can turn to God, repent and ask for His forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Jesus is the gift of God’s grace and love to us. We just need to open His present and live in His presence. When we realize fully this immense gift we have been given, we seek to live more and more in the Spirit of God.
I must confess I have not always made the right choices in life, but I have learned from past experiences that the times I have followed my will instead of God’s will, I felt anxiety instead of peace. Doing what I wanted (from the flesh) took me further from God, but when I walked in line with God’s will, I experienced His peace.
The spiritual warfare we often experience can be overcome through the Word of God:
Therefore, put on the full armour of God, so when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and, after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit, on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6: 13-18)
Living life in the Spirit requires faith, trust and belief in God. God’s grace helps us overcome our struggles. It is in our struggles that our faith is tested and strengthened. It is in our weaknesses that God is made strong, for we experience His providence and grace to us. The closer we get to God, the less we look at ourselves, for our eyes are focused on Jesus. We see Jesus in the sick and the poor and His concerns become ours. The more we live in Christ, the more we receive the gifts of God’s Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. We also experience the fruits of the Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.
When we focus on our circumstances, we can be overwhelmed by them and lose our faith in God. Lately, I experienced that and lost my peace, but meditating on God’s Word helped me to regain my peace.
May we live a full life in the Spirit of God as we continue opening the gifts offered to us through Christ our Lord and Saviour.