What is the secret to dealing with temptations and worldly desires?
Paul answers this simply: “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
What Paul is saying is: a person cannot walk in the Spirit and fulfill the lusts of the flesh at the same time. We will do either one or the other.
“Walking in the Spirit” means learning how to live out the life of God given to us when He gave us the Holy Spirit at our first moment of trust in Him.
The only One who has fully walked in the Spirit is Jesus Christ. The rest of us are much more inconsistent. Even well-known evangelist Billy Graham at 95 says that he regularly confesses his sins before God.
It is easy to worry about our failures, but it helps us to know that learning to walk in the Spirit is a lifelong process. There are things we can do to help that process along:
1. Know who you are. Make Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross the source of your identity. Know that God chose you before He created the universe, so reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God now. Know that God is your Father, that He has always been on your side, that He wants you to succeed. Peter was a wavering coward, but Jesus still called him “the rock.” What possibilities does Jesus foresee in you?
2. Let your spirit dominate. The desires of the world demand attention, but they soon pass away. Learn to see the bluster of the world for what it is. Learn to see God’s control of all things and act accordingly. This may take many trials and errors, but every time you succeed, you build a foundation for future success.
3. Think “kingdom thoughts.” Know that God’s kingdom ultimately triumphs. Learn to develop thought patterns that reflect God’s ways, concerns and goals.
4. Pray and listen. Develop prayer as a dialogue with God. Learn to listen as well as to speak.
5. Live harmoniously. Learn to live in peace with God and others. Avoid judging others through gossip, slander and bitterness. Someone has said, “You only love God as much as you love the persons you find hardest to love.”
6. Examine yourself. Let the Bible help you do this. Be honest with God and yourself. Stop hiding and rationalizing. Let God show you the “junk” in your life He wants removed.
7. Know your weaknesses. We all have them, so know them. Give those weaknesses to the Holy Spirit and seek His help during temptation and pressure. Don’t let your weaknesses and failures discourage you. Confess your sins daily. Remember—God is on your side.
8. Know your Helper. The Holy Spirit is your best friend and mentor, so learn to know and trust Him fully. Take all your troubles to Him.
The apostle Paul has good advice for all of us in this process of learning (and sometimes failing) to walk perfectly in the Spirit: “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14)
As we look forward with Christ, others who hunger for righteousness will notice, and they will want to know the truth that sets them free.
Some points taken from this article.