The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
-Galatians 5:16-17
God is supposed to be the focus of everything we do, everything we have, everything we are, everything we think.
God doesn’t get the scraps, he gets our whole lives.
To some, that might not sound appealing.
“I want to do may own thing,” or “”That’s too demanding.”
Then you’re not going to have much of a relationship with the Lord.
But if you want joy, if you want peace, if you want kindness, if you want love, walk in the Spirit.
It’s about having a love for God.
Walking with God. Not so he will love you. Not so you’ll earn brownie points. But so that you’ll live on earth as it is in heaven. So that you’ll experience God more fully. So that you’ll have a fuller life, based around God not based around yourself, or your hobbies, or your own pursuits.
God freely gives grace. But having a relationship with the Lord takes commitment and intentionality. We must cooperate with the Spirit.
Philippians 2:12-13 says: “As you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
The Christian life is not meant to be a bunch of rules. It’s living life in the Spirit of a good God who brings life and purpose.
It’s about seeing the beauty of God.
Psalm 27:4 says:
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 50:1-2 says:
The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
It’s about enjoying the goodness of God.
Psalm 34:8
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
So again, the Christian life is not about “do this” or “don’t do that.” Rather, the more closely you walk in step with the Spirit, the more your love and affection are in the beauty and glory of God, the more you taste and see that the Lord is good, the more you hunger and thirst for righteousness, the more fruit God produces in your life and the more your life reflects God’s moral character.
The Spirit enables us to live out God’s law.
Galatians 5:18 says, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Romans 8:3-4 is a significant verse on this idea:
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
We couldn’t follow the Law. We needed a savior. The law is kept by virtue of faith and through walking according to the Spirit.
Submit your life to the leadership of the Spirit.

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Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.

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