Have you seen the cartoon that shows a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other? While these characters are fictional, there are very real forces warring within us. In Galatians 5 Paul teaches about walking in the Spirit instead of the flesh.
As long as we live in an earthly body we will have to choose to serve self or to serve God. When we serve self we allow our flesh to rule our lives. In verses 19-21 Paul gives a list of practices that are evident in the life of someone allowing their sin nature to control them. He also gives a stern warning that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
How then are we, as believers, to win this war within us and produce the fruit of the Spirit, which Paul describes in verses 22-23?
First, we must recognize that we are not justified by the law. We are justified by faith, through God’s unmerited favor in our lives (grace). Instead of relying on our strength we rely on the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the flesh. The two are in constant opposition to each other.
Secondly, we must walk habitually in the Spirit. Seek Him and be responsive to His guidance. This is key to defeating the impulsive desires that seek to snare us into acting without regard for God and others.
Allow the Holy Spirit to become your accountability buddy. We CAN overcome our temptation(s) IF we will guard our heart and our mind. Impulse is your enemy. Pray, and the Lord will show you the way of escape. Most of the time the temptation will pass quickly if you do not continue to entertain the thought. Change your focus.
You will win this war, one battle at a time. If you blow it, repent with sincerity and God will forgive and restore you. The fruit of the Spirit is the result of His presence within you. Press in and press on! Victory has already been won for you.