A Fool of Myself

#8: Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh

Notes from hanging with Chris & Jeri

Spirit: a general reference in the NT to the spirit of human beings (Matt. 5.3; Rom. 8.16; Heb. 4.12)

Soul: that which makes humans alive; the soul departs at death; OR the inner life of a person; the seat of emotions; the center of one’s personality

So what’s the difference between the two? Perhaps the differences are so subtle that truly only God’s Word can separate them (Heb. 4.12). I certainly can’t figure out how the spirit and soul are different from the definitions given.

Flesh: biblical writers express the flesh as weak; it’s the earthly part of a person; if we are living in the flesh, we cannot please God

Deeds of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-23)

  • immorality
  • impurity
  • sensuality
  • idolatry
  • sorcery
  • enmities
  • strife
  • jealousy
  • outbursts of anger (see my running entry from earlier tonight)
  • disputes
  • dissensions
  • factions
  • envying
  • drunkeness
  • carousing

Fruits of the Spirit

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control

Galations 5.13 says we are called to freedom. Verse 16 says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Verse 17 says the flesh is set against the Spirit and vice versa. Verse 24 says when we belong to Christ, our passions and desires are crucified with him.

Feed the Spirit; starve the flesh: Is it “feed the Holy Spirit?” Maybe it’s “feed the Holy Spirit, which is in you.” We can do this using our spiritual disciplines. Spirit could also represent our relationship with God or be the essence of your Christian self.

Humanity also fights the flesh; that’s why we have laws against the deeds of the flesh and have no laws against the fruits of the Spirit. Not feeding the flesh does not automatically equal feeding the spirit. You have to consciously feed the spirit manually, if you would. One way we can do this is by doing great instead of merely doing good. A.W. Tozer said that good is the greatest enemy of great. Doing good, being good, etc. prevent us from being great and doing great.

Of course, being and doing great for God isn’t easy. It takes discipline, which isn’t easy either. (But consider that Jesus named his posse after this word. They didn’t have an easy time either.) For me, discipline is often making myself do something I don’t want to do, but the end goal of that discipline is to eventually want to do what I should do.

Oh the puzzlement!