Saying “Yes” to God’s Spirit Means You Will Not Carry Out the Desires of the Flesh
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Yes, I am saying that you can expect to say no to sin as a believer in Christ.
Many try and many fail, but they go about it the wrong way. They rely on willpower and sheer grit to withstand the onslaught. Believe me–that strategy will never work. Take up the fight against sin on your own, and you will lose every time.
Your ability to say no is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life. His work on this front never ends. This is grace in action, teaching us to say no to “ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11). He consistently teaches us this powerful lesson.
You have Christ living in you. He has already proven through his resurrection that sin and death are no match for him. He won the battle. Now his victory is your victory.
Sounds nice, but how does it work practically?
This is where faith comes into play. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul likens faith to a walk: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). What he means by this is that we are to order our lives around the Holy Spirit. In other words, follow his lead. Keep in step with what he is doing in your life.
Saying yes to God’s Spirit means you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. With Christ in you, you can say no to sin.
So what is the Holy Spirit doing in your life right now? Maybe he is putting a desire in your heart to forgive someone who hurt you. If so, step out in faith and forgive. Keeping in step with the Spirit in this situation means you will not carry out the desire of your flesh to get even or seek revenge. Maybe he is working on your tongue so you will use it to speak honestly and to build others up instead of tearing them down. If so, step out in faith–tell the truth and encourage others with your words. When you do, you will not carry out the desire of your flesh to tear others down.