The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
A Life of Conflict
It’s a common thought that life for Christians ought to become easier, troubles should fade away, and there would be a great sense of peace that settles into everything they feel and think.
The apostle Paul would disagree.
The reality is that, in many ways, the exact opposite is true. The moment the Holy Spirit brings you to faith in Jesus, a conflict begins in your heart—a conflict between the Holy Spirit who has entered your heart and your sinful nature with which you were born.
This conflict is total. The Holy Spirit and your sinful nature agree on nothing. As Paul says, “The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other.”
And make no mistake. This conflict is not some polite, parlor-game debate about ethics and theology. It is a fierce, bitter, ferocious, violent cage-match for the ownership of your soul. In addition, this conflict does not merely last a few months or years. It is life-long. It ends only when you die.
Is such a life of conflict worth it? No doubt, there are times we get tired of the fight. And there are plenty of times when we lose battles. But when we stop and remember what we possess through faith in Jesus Christ—forgiveness of sin, peace with God, deliverance in every difficult moment, eternal life in heaven; when we stop and remember what we have, we know the answer.
Lord Jesus, fill me with your Spirit for the lifelong conflict in my heart. Remind me of all the wonderful things I possess through faith in you. Amen.