Freedom From Intense Internal Conflict “The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh…” Galatians 5:17
The battle between good and evil rages...inside of us!
Scripture tells us that, “The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish” Galatians 5:17. This internal battle is real and perpetual. However, this battle will not cause intense internal conflict if we heed the instructions of verse 16. “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
The power of the Holy Spirit in us is greater than the flesh’s desire to sin. As long as we walk in the Spirit; that is, walk in His energy and power we will be able to overcome the sinful passions of our carnal nature. It doesn’t eliminate the very real struggle with sin inside of us but it frees us from being a slave to that sin.
Think of it this way. Your carnal nature has a voice and the Holy Spirit has a voice. When we walk in the
Spirit His voice is loud and clear and the voice of the flesh is muffled. When we are not walking in the Spirit the voice of the carnal nature is loud and clear and the voice of the Spirit is muffled. In this latter case the individual’s internal conflict is intense subjecting him to the ongoing harassment from the enemy. What makes the difference? Listening to Moody Radio recently I heard the following quote that holds the answer.
The more we love God the more we will obey. The more we obey the more we will be aware of the reality of Christ in our lives. The more we are aware of Christ in our lives, the more victory we will experience. The more victory we experience, the less difficult the choices are and the less conflict we have within ourselves. -- Norma Becker
Becker’s statement describes walking in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit’s power is accompanied by practical steps we can take if we choose to. These steps are all part of a pursuit of Christ that leads to greater and greater obedience and victory over sin. This doesn’t eliminate the internal conflict but it does lessen it.
When we consciously and intentionally pursue Christ and choose to trust Him and obey Him we are learning to walk in the Spirit. The believer who is still bound by sin simply does not follow this pattern. They never consciously and intentionally choose faith and obedience but continue to turn back to sin and allow it to remain in their life.
Somewhere along the line defeated believers choose not to believe what God says. The proof is their continual choice to disobey God. This can be very subtle but it is there. They never fully surrender to Christ. They may have “spurts” of doing better but there is never a deep change. Freedom never comes because the heart is still divided in its loyalty.
It is like the adulterous husband who never completely breaks the bond with the other woman. He may come home but his heart remains elsewhere. Instead of consciously choosing to trust Christ and obey Him in regards to his marriage he hangs on to his fleshly desires. To do so simply indicates that in his heart he still believes he cannot be happy without the adulteress.
In discussing our internal conflict with sin James describes why it is remains so intense. “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” James 4:2-3. When we want what we want but refuse to ask God for it, that is, we refuse to believe that He can meet our needs legitimately we continue to pursue what we want illegitimately. And for the believer this is a conscious choice we make that keeps us in bondage to sin.
The Bible is true when it says, “Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him” Hebrews 7:25 AMP. To believe otherwise will leave you in the bondage and misery of a sinful carnal life.