Galatians 5:16 – So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (NIV)
Quite a few years ago I hurt my back in karate. I did not have this problem taken care of correctly when it happened, with the result that my injury worsened over time. With the way my back is now, I cannot do many of the activities I used to enjoy, like playing tennis and running — it is just too painful. I have finally gone to see a doctor to see if he can align my back the way it should be.
As long as my back is hurting, I can never be 100 percent. Since I have waited so long after the injury to do something about it, it could take some time before my back is to a point where there is no pain when I am doing the activities I like. Unless I trust a doctor to do something for it, not only will it never heal, but it will continue to get worse.
Similarly, if I do not trust and live by the Spirit, then what can happen? One thing is that I will desire sinful things. This will hinder my relationship with God. If I live by the Spirit, then the desire to satisfy the sinful nature will not be there, and my relationship with God will not be hindered. Now this is easier said than done, but I try to remember it is not my will or effort which directs the Spirit. Instead, I must surrender myself totally to the Spirit, because it is only through the empowering of the Spirit that we can have freedom from evil desires. So if I were to continue living by my own efforts, I would never grow in my relationship with God, but by giving myself to the Spirit, I can overcome my evil desires and not only grow but continue to grow. If I were not to trust someone to help with my back it would not get any better. It cannot heal itself. If I do not trust the Spirit, then I will not overcome my sinful nature.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, if left to ourselves we will only desire to feed our sinful natures. We pray that you would shower the Holy Spirit upon us, so that we may overcome this sinful nature. We cannot do it by ourselves; we need you and your love and guidance. In Jesus' name. Amen.