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Epistle of James

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How to Produce Works of the Flesh

The desires of the flesh produce the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-21).  The Bible admonishes us not to gratify or carry out the desire of the flesh (v.16).

How do you not fulfill the desire within your old nature that leads to evil behavior?

There are really two dynamics at work in Galatians 5:16-17.  There is the promise that is realized in those who walk by the Holy Spirit.  If you walk by the Spirit, you will definitely not fulfill the desires of the flesh.  The person who walks by the Spirit will be able to resist the flesh in the end – in its wicked desire that is bent on your total domination.  One dynamic spiritual principle leads to spiritual slavery.  The end result is an evil lifestyle as described in vv.19-21.  If you yield to the desire of the flesh, this is what your life will produce.

How would you like to be married or live with the individual described in vv.19-21?  "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

If your life is controlled by your old human nature that is what it will produce.  There is a desire, longing, or craving for something that is forbidden and if you yield to it you will produce a lifestyle and behaviors that are not pleasing to God.  It is that element of man’s nature that has been corrupted at its source.  When this nature is left unchecked, it produces the “works of the flesh.”  The basic underlying principle refuses to acknowledge God and leads to doing evil instead of good.  It is our fallen human nature, which was inherited from our fallen parents. It is self-centered and prone to sin. This body of sinful impulses seeks to gain control of the mind and will, and when it does it produces its own behaviors called “works of the flesh.”

This (sarx) sinful nature means all that the individual is capable of as a sinful human being apart from the intervention of the Spirit of God in his life.  The sinful human nature reproduces itself.  If the Holy Spirit has never regenerated you, He is not in control of your life, and this is what you will produce.

Paul admonishes Christians not to use their new found spiritual freedom to live a lifestyle that will give full-play to the demands of their lower nature and produce behaviors contrary to God’s righteousness.

If the Holy Spirit is not in control of you life, you are giving your old unregenerate nature a pretext to break out in fresh sinful activity.

Now if you really want to be a slave, love one another.  Serve one another. 

Life outside the control of the Holy Spirit is synonymous with “the natural man,” “the old nature,” “lust of the flesh,” “desires of your lower nature,” or “sinful nature.”  If you are not under the control of the Spirit, this nature is in control.

The two dynamics at work:  “the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit;” “the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.”  The two are directly opposed to each other.  They are enemies who run counter to one another with mutual antagonism.

The Holy Spirit is more powerful than our sinful nature. There is a state of continuous opposition, but thank God it is not between equal powers! The Holy Spirit restrains the desires of the flesh.

Am I obedient to the Holy Spirit?  I am fully responsible for my thoughts, attitudes, and actions.  God has made a perfect provision for our holiness.  He has given us the indwelling Spirit to reveal sin, to create a hunger for His righteousness, and strengthen us in our daily walk in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit lives in us, is working in us, and empowering us, giving us the ability to be pleasing to God.

The Holy Spirit is working in us both to will and to do His good pleasure! It is because I am not left to myself that I can live a Christian life. It is because the Spirit is in me that I am exhorted to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. It is not I, but Christ living in me that enables me to be all God wants me to be in this life

The choice lies with the saint. I can choose to be obedient, and “walk by the Spirit.”


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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