Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You Won’t Stop Sinning Until You Start Walking By the Spirit

It truly amazes me how Christians—if they are reading their Bible at all—fail to pay attention to the words of Scripture. Did God inspire these words and speak them through the Holy Spirit just for the sake of saying them? Or does God actually know what He is talking about?
". . . without Me you can do nothing" John 15:5
This verse, as well as various other times throughout the Gospels, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that unless we abide with Him and He with us, we can do nothing. Our eyes must be fixed upon Jesus at all times, and we ought to be reading His Word daily and speaking to Him daily through prayer. This becomes increasingly difficult to do in our day and age with all the distractions that are vying for our attention. But what do we love more?
"for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live" Romans 8:13
The key in this verse is "by the Spirit." You cannot put to death the deeds of the body by yourself. You can try, but all you will achieve is legalism and behavioural modification—not genuine godly repentance. In Romans 13:14 we are commanded to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." How can we achieve this? By reading our Bibles, paying attention to what we are being told, and obeying its words. We must fix our minds on the things that concern the Holy Spirit, namely the One Whom the Holy Spirit was sent to glorify—Jesus.
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh" Galatians 5:16
This verse, as well as the last, make it clear that you will not stop sinning until you start walking by the Spirit. This is tied directly in with the first verse—abiding with Jesus. If you do not possess the Spirit, and if you do not give Him reign in your life, you will continue to find yourself in failure after failure. God's method for dealing with our predicament is very simple, but our foolish arrogance and futile thinking keep getting in the way and making it more complicated than it needs to be. Your habitual sins will only be conquered when you want God more than you want your pet sins, and only the Holy Spirit can effect these changes in your desires.
". . . for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble" 2 Peter 1:10b
Here is where people need to start demonstrating their faith in God's Word. It states matter-of-factly that "you will never stumble" if you are putting into practice the virtues listed in verses 5 through 7. In fact, in verse 3 we are told that "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us." In other words, the way to grow in godliness and holiness is by knowing God. How can you know God but to abide in Jesus and walk in the Spirit? To read God's Word daily and speak with Him through prayer daily.
"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling . . ." Jude 1:24a
God is sovereign over all things. There is nothing outside His realm of control. He is in charge of everything. He will keep you from stumbling. However, you need to be doing your part. You need to be abiding in Jesus, walking in the Spirit, and growing in your knowledge of Who God is, which you cannot do if you are not daily in His Word and daily speaking with Him through prayer. How do you expect victory in your life when you are not in God's Word setting your mind on the things of the Holy Spirit? As long as your thoughts remain void of Christ Jesus, your life will remain full of sin.