September 21

Galatians 5:13,16-17 13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Christ has set us free from the rules and regulations of the laws delivered to Moses. Now we have a much more comprehensive guideline, the life of the Holy Spirit. Free from the many details of the law can be misconstrued to be indulgence in the sinful nature. It is just the opposite. It is submission to the Spirit of God. In submitting to the Spirit, we love one another with the love of Jesus. We are willing to lay down our lives for one another. Under the law I could go my own way in selfishness. Under the life of the Spirit I cannot pass my brother in need. Their need becomes mine. I weep with those that weep. I share what I have with those in need. My life becomes a life of service.

If your life flows from the Spirit of God who lives within you, you will not go about trying to gratify your sinful nature. That doesn't mean you will never fail under temptation. It simply means that the driving force of your life has now changed. You once lived only to gratify self. Now you live for God's pleasure, and in doing so love your neighbor as yourself.

The sinful nature and the Spirit have opposing desires. You can't live for them both at the same time. It will put your soul into conflict. One or the other will win out. New creations in Christ do not desire to fulfill their sinful nature's desires. When we fall into sin, realize it is not what our new nature wants. If the desires of the sinful nature are still what your heart truly wants, you have yet to surrender to the Spirit and become a new creation in Christ. Ask Him to take over the very desires of your heart. Claim the many promises given to those who call on Jesus. They promise a new heart to those who call on Him.

Consider: Is your freedom expressed in service?