Once you believe Christ died for your sins, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you and gives you a new spiritual nature as he puts to death your old sin nature. But every believer knows it’s not that easy to follow. There’s a huge struggle for control within us between our old and new natures. “For 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” (Galatians 5.17). In the Bible “flesh” means the natural state in which we are born, which is dominated by our self-will.
As part of God’s family we have the freedom and power to follow Christ because we want to, not because we have to. However, doing this takes discipline as that old nature of ours is determined to win the battle for control. As followers of Christ, we are “disciples,” which comes from the same word as “discipline.” To follow well, we need the same discipline—to exercise and build our spiritual muscles—as athletes need to exercise and build their physical muscles. We have to practice and exercise our faith “muscles” to make the choice to trust and follow God’s will.
Unless we exercise our muscles of faith and trust, we’ll soon be following our own urges and desires, not God’s. Today, confess to him from the list in Galatians 5.17 where you struggle to follow his will. Then ask the Holy Spirit for his power and help to do so.
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