Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Do Not Enter... Do Not Disturb... Keep Off! What is it about human nature? Why do we want to do things we shouldn’t? The battle against right and wrong constantly plagues our minds. Think about this… You're late for a job interview. Pulling into the parking lot, you notice an open spot close to the front of the building. A sigh of relief comes over you. As you park, you notice the beautiful landscape bridging the gap between you and the entrance. Your eyes focus on a large sign, commanding pedestrians to KEEP OFF!
Decision time. If you follow the sidewalk, you have to walk all the way around the pristine, grassy garden area. You look around, don’t see anyone, and say to yourself, “Oh, well.” Justifying your decision, you tiptoe through the manicured area. Relieved, you smile and walk through the entrance. During the appointment, the interviewer casually mentions he noticed you getting out of your car. In a split second your face reads, “Guilty as charged!”
Remember Adam and Eve in Genesis 3? God offered them the freedom to eat from any tree in the garden except one... the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:17). God put an imaginary sign on this tree that said DO NOT EAT THE FRUIT. Well, we know Adam watched his wife, Eve, yield to Satan's temptation. Both ate from the tree, and immediately sin entered the world. If only she heeded the warning!
Are we any different from Adam and Eve? For example, a toddler is told over and over not to touch a hot stove, but he defies the command and does it anyway. The pain reminds him next time to listen to the voice of warning. Living by the Spirit gives us the strength to reject the desire to gratify the flesh.
Prayer is the key to living in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Prayer keeps us in continual communication with Jesus and more aware of the Holy Spirit’s direction in our daily lives.
Is God placing any warning signs before you? How does He want you to respond? What are some things you can do to obey the “Keep Off” and “Do Not Enter” notifications? Read all of Gal. 5:16-26. Remember, God knows what is best for us, but He doesn't make us obey. Obedience is a choice. I can’t help but wonder if God smiles, claps His hands, and shouts, "Yes!" when we heed His warning signs. Obedience is a choice worth making!