“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with one another, so that you are not to do whatever your want.” – Galatians 5.17From David King:
“Becoming a Christian will make your life easier”
I think that this is what is sometimes promised in evangelistic talks. If so, I think that it could fall foul of the trade descriptions Act! Without a doubt, becoming a Christian makes life better: we now know the Living God as our Father; we are freed from condemnation; we are giving the hope of eternal life; the Lord has poured out his Spirit into our hearts. However, it doesn’t make it easier.
As we saw in last Sunday’s sermon on Romans 8 and today in this verse from Galatians, when someone becomes a Christian they open up their heart to be a new battle field in the ancient war between the desires of the flesh (my sin corrupted self) and the desires of the Spirit. I know from my own experience of fighting, being knocked down, being picked up and fighting again against the desires of my sin corrupted nature, how exhausting and discouraging it can get.
So why bother becoming a Christian?
The ultimate answer is hope:
It is a battle we will ultimately win – we saw last Sunday that with the Spirit in our lives, his desires will win in the war against the desires of our sin corrupted self, even if we lose battles along the way.
Imagine a citizen of France during the Nazi occupation. They have a choice either to collaborate or to resist. Collaboration might have seemed easier in 1940, but resistance would be proved to be better in 1945
The other answer is that it is better
The desires of the flesh (our sin corrupted self) are horrible. Paul exposes them for what they are in Galatians 5.19-21 and they are ugly. In Romans 8 he tells us that they enslave and kill us.
The goal of the Spirit is to make us glorious like Jesus. 2 Corinthians puts it like this: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
That same citizen of France, would have found life much easier during the occupation if they had collaborated. Why would they not choose collaboration even if it were easier? – because it meant collaborating with evil.
As I was preparing the sermon, I was reflecting on the imagery of death and the desires of the flesh. It occurred to me that life is very easy for a corpse – no struggles or pain – but of course it is far better to be alive.
I promised in my sermon to produce a Vlog with more reflections on how we win the battle. In it I go into more detail on how we can set our minds on the desires of the Spirit. The Vlog covers: discovering the joy of intimacy with God, slowing down, using vows, uncovering lies and claiming the joy of victories the Spirit wins in our hearts.