Many times we try so hard — to the point of frustration and heartache — to be who we think we should be. Maybe you are a mom who runs until she has no more to offer or a college student who is lost because she doesn’t know which road to take. We know that the Savior knows this life is hard and just wants us to “follow Him,” but how do we do this and what does it look like?
Recognize the Desires of the Flesh
“But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
We are sinful humans who are under grace but strive for righteousness through the cross of Jesus. Yet, we are still fighting a battle with the flesh. I am reminded that it is a choice to walk by the Spirit. We can have the Spirit working in us and through us or ignore that still, small voice and carry out the desires of the flesh.
You see, sometimes as Christians we try to put on a show that everything is okay (a desire of the flesh), and then we lose strength and grow weary of doing what is good. We must remember that we are all broken vessels being made into something beautiful through each choice and every mistake we make. We should have patience with one another and speak kind words that restore, taking every thought captive!
If we only had a mind to be like Christ who loved others more than Himself, we would realize quickly that not everything is about us and how we feel or even about what we want. If we look to love and serve others in love, then we may put away our strife, immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, and things like these. The desires of the flesh put our feelings and desires before what pain and heartache we may be causing. Let us pursue righteousness…so that others might see Him in us.
Let Your Faith Work Through Love
I believe that a great definition of righteousness is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).
If we have faith through the Spirit, in the works and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and His perfect walk while He was here on earth, and this is what our hope is in for the day of salvation — shouldn’t we look and produce fruit in our lives that resembles the Spirit, not the flesh? Let our faith work through love — not through rules, traditions and desires.
Sometimes we make up these rules and traditions for ourselves so that we might look like who we think we should be. Maybe you think you should be the kind of friend that is in the middle of the storm with your friends, but maybe you were called to be there after the storm passes and help pick up the broken pieces. Maybe you think that you should be on the front lines, but God has called you to pray for those on the front lines. Maybe you should be on the front line standing for what is right, but you are just sitting on the back pew. Or (here’s one that hits me at the heart) — maybe you should stop and show love instead of running around trying to put everything in place — calling it OCD, but, in reality, it is selfishness to want things my way…
Choose to Walk in the Fruit of the Spirit
So, in our pursuit of righteousness, let us live by the Spirit — but let us choose also in our daily routines to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control!
Doesn’t that sound a lot like the character of Christ?