Thursday: The Way to Victory
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Although an inward conflict between the flesh and the Spirit always will rage in the heart of every believer, the Christian life does not have to be dominated by defeat, failure, and sin.

Victory

Image © Matthew Philleo Goodsalt.com

According to Galatians 5:16-26, what is the key to living a life where the Spirit reigns over the flesh?

Galatians 5:16-26 contains five key verbs that describe the type of life in which the Spirit reigns. First, the believer needs to “walk” in the Spirit (vs. 16). The Greek verb is peripateo, which literally means “to walk around or to follow.” The followers of the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle came to be known as the Peripatetics because they followed Aristotle everywhere he went. The fact that the verb is in the present tense implies that Paul is not talking about an occasional walk but rather a continuous daily experience. In addition, since it is also a command “to walk” in the Spirit, it implies that walking in the Spirit is a choice we have to make on a daily basis. The second verb is “to be led” (vs. 18). This suggests that we also need to allow the Spirit to lead us where we should go (compare Rom. 8:141 Cor. 12:2). It is not our job to lead but to follow.

The next two verbs appear in Galatians 5:25. The first is “to live” (zao in Greek). By “live,” Paul is referring to the new-birth experience that must mark the life of every believer. Paul’s use of the present tense points to a new-birth experience that is to be renewed daily. Because we live by the Spirit, Paul goes on to write that we also need “to walk” by the Spirit. The word translated “walk” is different from the one in verse 16. Here the word is stoicheo. It is a military term that literally means “to draw up in a line,” “to keep in step,” or “to conform.” The idea here is that the Spirit not only gives us life but should direct our lives on a daily basis also.

The verb Paul uses in verse 24 is “to crucify.” This is a little shocking. If we are to follow the Spirit, we must make a firm decision to put to death the desires of the flesh. Of course, Paul is speaking figuratively. We crucify the flesh by feeding our spiritual life and by starving the desires of the flesh.

What changes and choices must you make in order to have the victories you are promised in Christ — victories that now continually elude you?
Amen!(38)

Comments

Thursday: The Way to Victory — 21 Comments

  1. Read first paragraph –

    “Although an inward conflict between the flesh and the Spirit always will rage in the heart of every believer, the Christian life does not have to be dominated by defeat, failure, and sin.”

    Thoughts? Is this exactly true, or a qualified truth?

    For instance, are there times in the life of the believer where an internal battle rages, but are there other times in the life of the believer where there is genuine peace and no internal battle?

    Can we live victorious over the fears and insecurities and habits of our life of sin?

    Do we have a role to play or is something done in us, with our consent but, without our effort?

    Mrs White wrote "To make God's grace our own, we must act our part. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort." {Lift Him Up page 193.4}

    In this process there is a daily, ongoing, and constant cooperative work of the individual with the Divine in which the person chooses to continue to follow the direction of the Heavenly Physician until they are one day fully healed and set free to be self- controlled beings operating on the law of love, which has been fully restored into the heart. (Hebrews 8:10).

    Doing the right thing, not out of fear of punishment or hope for reward, but doing it because it's the right thing to do.

    Amen!(17)
    • I'm thinking the lesson author wrote the first paragraph as a "general rule," since we will not be free from our sinful natures until we put on the immortal nature Christ bestows.

      Surely, as you suggest, we have times of experiencing peace and joy without any conflict. But, to tell you the truth, when that happens I often think that there's a "biggie" (some kind of trial) on the road just ahead. And that will bring a certain amount of conflict with it.

      However, in looking back, I see that God was nearest and I have grown the most during times of trial and conflict.

      Amen!(28)
    • In my humble opinion, that first paragraph is neither exactly true or a qualified truth, but is The Truth. We can have victory in this life. Our own experiences or other's experiences does not give us the standard, but The Word is the standard.

      We are able to live a victorious life, because Christ lived a victorious life and if He abides in us and we in Him continually, we have victory. This is not theory or idealistic, but a reality.

      Just because we fail does not mean it's not possible. God is faithful and will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able and I believe that! Do I fail, yes, miserably so, but it's not because God isn't faithful it's because I haven't been.

      There is a process, we do have a role to play and that's daily dying to self and choosing everyday to serve the spirit and not the flesh.

      We won't be fully changed until we put on immortality, but we must be ready to put it on. I don't believe immortality will stop our choice or choosing, we won't be robots in Heaven.

      I believe that God is able to do exceedingly above all that we can ask for. Through Him we are more than conquerors!

      Amen!(12)
      • When God said He would give us "perfect peace" when our minds are fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3), He didn't qualify it by our situational circumstances.

        When Jerome and Huss were burned at the stake for their faith in Jesus, it was noted that: "Both bore themselves with constant mind when their last hour approached. They prepared for the fire as if they were going to a marriage feast. They uttered no cry of pain. When the flames rose, they began to sing hymns; and scarce could the vehemency of the fire stop their singing." (GC88.110.001).

        We can have perfect peace here... now... no matter our circumstances... when our minds are fixed on Jesus... When we trust in Him.

        Amen!(8)
      • lllJB, I agree with the texts that give us hope and a method of accomplishment. Failure apparently is the same as sinfulness. I have yet to find someone that is perfect. As I understand forgiveness is limitless. Our destiny depends on it. I would hope that you are not saying there could be sin in Heaven.

        Amen!(1)
        • The perfection notion is often poorly understood. I prefer to always use the modifier "in Christ" to help understand that perfection in Christ and perfection because we behave ourselves are two different ideas.

          Amen!(4)
        • Paul Blanke, this is IIIJB...

          Oh, in no way am I saying that there will be sin in Heaven, in the Word it says that sin will not rise up a second time. I hope you are not saying that in Heaven we will be robots.

          Amen!(0)
    • Stephen Warren, the question you ask of the SS comment. Is this a "qualified truth"? Good question. I have a question that is relative. Are we tempted by evil forces that we cannot see. A forceful urge to commit sin, or do we have these tendencies of our own natural desires that are the product of repetitive choices? Either way, if we are repentant doesn't this cause a conflict in our rationale as to why we desire to do those things that are sinful?

      Amen!(3)
      • Hey Paul, I would like to venture a take on what you are asking..
        Your first question about temptation by evil forces, well the Bible says in James 1:14, 'that every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.' Read verses 13-15 for full statement.

        You ask if there are evil forces we cannot see, well the Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, 'For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.' Repetitive bad choices strengthen our flesh, while starving our spiritual man, and this should be vice versa. Sow unto the flesh and reap destruction, or sow unto the Spirit and reap eternal life.

        And lastly, Yes, there is a conflict! the Bible says in Galatians 5:17, 'for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.'

        Paul we are in a Spiritual Warfare, daily. This isn't relative, this is reality for everyone, whether a believer or not. True repentance worketh reformation, other than that it's just guilty motivation which likely leads to continued sin. Love is the true motivation.

        Amen!(8)
        • Benjamin Dwayne, Yes the text in Eph 6:12 is what I had in mind. We can find many examples in both the Old and New Testament of people that were unfaithful to God and man. Most always due to works of the flesh. God nearly destroyed all that He created due to mans evil intentions. Because all have sinned and fall short we have to allow the controversy between Christ and Satan to continue till he is destroyed. It seems to me that the struggle between flesh and the Spirit is not limited to the Galatians. We are involved, not by choice.

          Amen!(1)
          • Paul Blanke,

            Maybe I'm hearing you wrong, but when I hear something like 'we are involved, not by choice' sounds like someone saying, 'I didn't ask to come here, or 'I didn't ask to be born.'
            In a sense you're both right, but I choose to look at it differently. We have been given a gift! The gift of Salvation, the gift of eternal life! There's a saying that goes, 'it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.' I believe that it's better to have eternal life than to never have been born at all. We are not victims, we are conquerors! By one man sin entered into the world, but, also, by one man we are all saved. This battle, this struggle, according to Paul in Romans 8:18 says, 'For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.'

            If you didn't mean that way, I apologize, disregard and carry on.

            Amen!(0)
    • I think the battle will always be there until we are changed. No one could understand it better or be closer to Christ than Paul. Read Rom chapt 8. He dealt with it daily.

      Amen!(3)
  2. As Christians, Believers, we must be strong in our walk with the Spirit. It's a continuous daily walk with the Spirit. When we have the Fruits of the Spirit in our daily lives, Galatians 5:22-23 we are able to have Victory with our (God) and not be come of the Flesh. In life today, We have to defeat sin by standing up to the Flesh. Through the words of his Power gives us strength, Wisdom, Understanding, which crucifys the Flesh, then we will have Victory. It's a command that we walk in the Spirit. We must have FAITH.

    Amen!(10)
    • Yes and when this victory is won moment by moment with every thought in the course of each day, Our whole life becomes victorious. 2 Corinthians 10:5

      Amen!(8)
  3. It's soo inspiring to read the writter's words that "I won't lead, but follow." May the holy spirit help me. The conflict is real.

    Amen!(6)
  4. As I read various comments, I seem to be reading that we have two natures, we have the sinful nature, we have the flesh.

    Please provide the scriptural support for all of these concepts.

    I am not saying that I am in disagreement, I just want to see the connecting bible thread.

    Amen!(3)
    • Fred, Galatians 5:16&17 begins with walking in the Spirit. By walking in the Spirit it says you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh, The struggle is that the flesh lust against the Spirit and the Spirit lusts against the flesh. These are the two natures you mention. The flesh is the sinful nature. The examples in verse 19-21, are the works of the flesh a total of 15, and in verse 22-23 the others are called the fruit of the Spirit, a total of nine. I hope that may help what you are looking for.

      Amen!(0)
  5. Living the victorious life is ours for the taking. Christ will help you walk in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, so you can live by the Spirit, and walk in cadence with the Spirit, you made a firm decision to put away the desire to quit smoking, just the same crucify desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16-26. “He who (whose thoughts dwell) dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. ‭‭Psalms ‭91:1‬. Christ says: “... in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” ‭‭ John‬ ‭16:33‬. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Philippians 4:4. Christ is on our side. We are His disciples. In trials and temptation we need to keep in mind, His prayer for His disciples is for us too. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭17:15‬.

    Amen!(1)
  6. John, Benjamin, Stephen and all of the comments on this blog are helpful and appreciated. I reread a helps book on Galatians that I have had for several years by Carl P. Cosaert. It has some of the same qu0tations from this quarterly. What I have been looking for is, what is meant by Galatians 5:16 ? I say then walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (How) do you understand and apply this text? We are born with a human nature. The list of all the ancient philosophers that describe them, is long. Are we ever aware of the evidence of this text? If so is it a continual, or an occasional occurrence ? Galatians 5:25 is saying If, and that means since, not perhaps or maybe, but because we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit. What ever your take is, enlighten me,

    Amen!(0)
  7. We can only overcome the lusts of the flesh if we allow Christ to dwell in our lives & our guide in everything we do.

    Amen!(0)

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