In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley


July 9, 2007 – The Struggle of the Flesh - Galatians 5:16-26

            When the New Testament refers to flesh, it’s usually not talking about human skin. The flesh is the human side of us that wants to indulge in our selfish desires. It’s a pattern of thinking and conduct that opposes God. 

            Someone who acts on their natural impulses is living in the flesh. Our natural impulses are geared toward personal comfort and pleasure, not toward pleasing the Lord. That means we’ll do whatever is necessary to satisfy our body and mind. People go to great lengths to fill the emptiness. They participate in acts of sexual immorality, idolatry and some of the other things listed in today’s passage. But nothing can truly satisfy the flesh. It always selfishly wants more. 

            Unbelievers who act out of self-interest don’t have the Holy Spirit to guide them. There’s no Helper inside to sound the alarm when they’re wrong or to enable better conduct. But the Christian has no such excuse. God’s Spirit dwells within and prompts appropriate behavior and thoughts. But the tug of the flesh remains because we do not shed our humanity until we reach heaven. So, believers still have the capacity to give in to sin and corruption. 

            To protect ourselves from fleshly desires, we must place our complete trust in the Holy Spirit. Only He can point out wrong actions, thoughts, and attitudes. What’s more, He fills us with the desire to obey and enables us to make right choices.

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