“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”Galatians 5:16-17
I grew up in a home that was pretty strict, and we went years without a television. I was a frequent flyer at the library and even won a gold medal for reading over 100 books. There was no much to do after my chores, so I engrossed myself in Encyclopedia Brown and Stuart Little books. Many of our family members were not Christians at that time, and I was not typically allowed to sleep over at my cousins’ house because their values did not always align with the values my parents had. Whenever I spent the night or went to someone’s house, I was given strict instructions of what I was to do and what I was not to do.
My grandma wanted to take the grandkids to a parade that was happening downtown, and as usual, my parents gave me their strict instructions. I was super excited to be going as the weather was beautiful and I knew I would be having a good time. My grandma was always generous with us grandkids and this day would be no different. We got to the parade and the sun was out, and I was feeling fancy free. I was having the time of my life soaking up the sun, the atmosphere, and the attention of my grandparents. I could hear some music from a distance, and my hips and legs started moving to the rhythm. This hip and leg shaking was forbidden in my home and I knew it. Nevertheless, I caught my grandma’s eye and she joined me in joyful celebration. I was really cutting a rug when I caught my sister’s eye, and she was not as joyful as I had hoped.
She came over to me and reiterated the rules I had been given. I told her it was too much temptation, and I could not help that my hips and legs were moving. She tried to warn me but I was past being warned and I was too far gone to even consider the consequences. She shook her head at me like she often did, and I knew I would be in trouble later. I did not think of it at the time, and I fully gave into the temptation before me. The more I danced, the more jovial my grandma became, and I was full boogie woogie as the sun shone on my face. I knew I was not allowed to ask for things from my grandma, but I did not want to rob her of a blessing so I gave into that temptation as well. The longer the day wore on, the more I gave into the temptations that were before me. I forgot about the rules I was given, but my sister did not forget.
We got home, and my sister turned into an informant. She told my parents all that she had observed on her surveillance detail, and I knew my goose was cooked. My britches got wore out that day as I paid for giving into every temptation and not denying myself anything. I often feel myself overwhelmed with sinful options, but there is hope to resist temptation if we will act on it. The temptation does not seem so strong when I am walking in the Spirit, but when I am not, it feels irresistible. Once the sinful urge is obeyed, it is a downward spiral of submitting to the wrong master. Sin cannot be mixed with holiness. We must walk in the Spirit if we are to fight off the wiles of the Devil and resist the temptations we face. The Spirit will never agree with the sins of the flesh, and when we walk in agreement with the Spirit, He will warn us and keep us from obeying the strong pull of the flesh.
Where are you today? Are you living your life fancy free in the life of sin? Are you ignoring the warning signs from the Spirit? Have you been struggling lately with the pull of sin? May we find freedom from sin by walking in the Spirit, and may we claim the victory over sin that God has already given to us. Sin is fun for a time, but we will always reap what we sow. May we sow to the Spirit the things that are godly, and may we walk in the Spirit, so we don’t fulfill the sinful desires of our flesh.