Day 2: What It Is Not

Galatians 5:16-21 (The Passion Translation)
As you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self - life. For your self - life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder him from living free within you! And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your old self - life from dominating you! So then, the two incompatible and conflicting forces within you are your self - life of the flesh and the new creation life of the Spirit.
But when you are brought into the full freedom of the Spirit of grace, you will no longer be living under the domination of the law, but soaring above it!
The cravings of the self-life are obvious: Sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior.

In the 80’s and 90’s there was a beloved family show called, “Family Matters.” This program highlighted the Winslow family and their quirky and nerdy next door neighbor, Steve Urkel.
Dress Like Steve Urkel Costume | Halloween and Cosplay Guides
Urkel would often visit the family and make annoying and inconvenient mistakes that would throw off the entire Winslow family and would result in comedic, “slap-stick”-like entertainment. When caught in his mistake, he would ask the question “Did I do that?”

In yesterday’s devotional we talked about how a life lived by the Spirit will reflect an expression of His fruit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. However, in today’s devotional we will look at attributes of our flesh or as The Passion Translation puts it, “cravings of the self-life.”
When we read about these “cravings,'' we may feel to some extent uncomfortable. What Christ follower wants to admit to the “fleshly or self-cravings” of pornography or manipulation or tempertantrums? Not that we all struggle with those things with the same intensity, but they do express what can go on in all of us as a result of the Fall and our broken humanity. But like Urkel, our fleshy responses and decisions in life -- whether unintentional or intentional -- can impact our families, relationships, and self.

However, as people living by the Spirit, we want to be uncomfortable with the flesh because these things are contrary to the life-giving fruit that God has for us.
So what do we do with being uncomfortable with sin and these fleshly desires? In Gal. 7:16-17 Paul writes, “as you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self-life. For your self-life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder him from living free within you!”

Friends, walking with Jesus is a journey of faith. He invites us to fully give our lives to Him because just like exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit is bi-product of His life in our lives, so is freedom from sin. We commit ourselves to the process of His redemptive power and choose to surrender and follow Him daily because we cannot overcome and manage our flesh on our own.
Part of pursuing freedom is also owning where we’ve sinned. So when we mess up, instead of responding like Urkel with a question, we can choose to come before God with honesty and transparency and respond, “yes, I did do that.”

Prayer Prompts:
  1. Ask the Holy Spirit for a greater sensitivity of His voice and leading in your life.  
  2. Ask Him for the ways your flesh/sin has affected your relationships (with God and others) and self negatively. Write these answers down. 
  3. Take time to repent for areas God is highlighting. 
  4. When finished, ask the Lord to cleanse, fill, and renew you. Then surrender to Him and ask Him to lead you today and in your next steps towards freedom. 
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