Gal 5:16 ESV – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
This is so simple, I am amazed how so few get it.
It is so complicated, there is no wonder that so few live it.
Simple, yet complicated.
This is a plain statement that we do well to understand–especially, if you have trouble with the flesh rearing its ugly head in your life.
First of all, notice that the reverse is NOT true–not gratifying the desires of the flesh will not make, nor prove spirituality. Many have forsaken this world, gone to the mountaintop to “contemplate their navel”, but all they become are aesthetics. That is not spirituality. It is not walking by the Spirit. Giving up some aspect of the flesh may be a penitent act, but it will not overcome the desires of the flesh.
No. The only way to overcome the flesh, with its desires that are against the Spirit, is to walk–or live–by the Spirit.
Secondly, notice that the word ‘Spirit’ is capitalized. There are no initial capital letters in the Uncial Greek (which is written in all caps) copies we have. Initial capitalization is a part of interpretation.
When we see ‘Spirit’ capitalized, we automatically interpret the word to mean ‘Holy Spirit.’ Is that necessarily true? Is that an accurate rendition of πνευμα (pneuma)?
If it is not the Holy Spirit that was intended in this verse, then may I suggest for your consideration that it refers to your own spirit?
Before you go thinking I have fallen off the deep end, take time to remember the new birth and what that entails and enables. What is it that was dead in us that needed to be made alive? (Eph 2:1-9)
I also understand the meaning and intent of Rom. 8:14. There we are told that we are to be “…led by the Spirit of God…” In fact, that verse is emphatic in the Greek and means that ONLY those who are led by the Spirit of God can be considered sons of God.
And this brings us back to my original reason for this post: how are we to be led by the Spirit?
Let’s look at the verse again with the new consideration: But I say, walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Does that put it into a different perspective for you?
Putting Romans 8:14 and Galatians 5:16 together I can see that the Holy Spirit leads me through my spirit that has been born anew of God.
Spirit is that inexplicable, unidentifiable, indefinable ethereal part of us that is in connection with God.
It is the part of you that is now growing in relation to the Lord.
We are made of three parts–spirit, soul, and body–and theologians refer to this make-up as the tri-partite man.
The body is the Existence.
The soul is the Expression.
The spirit is the Essence.
Before Christ, you were dead in your transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1). It was your spirit that was dead.
Before Christ, all you knew was to follow after and fulfil the desires of the flesh. Your soul (personality, if you will) has grown accustomed to that expression of your being. It manifests a fleshly nature. That is its habit.
But, now, your spirit has come alive and is trying to grow and manifest a different reality. The soul doesn’t recognize this new reality, and often reverts to its habitual expressions.
However, you are wanting to be led by the spirit.
It is a practice; a learning of a new way of doing things, of expressing things.
It takes time. But you are changing and growing.
The more you learn to respond to the spirit and its desires, the less you will fulfil the desires of the flesh.
NOTE: This is the fifth in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Galatians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter five of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put this link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.