“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love . . . So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:13, 16-18).
The primary root cause of many believers in Christ Jesus responsible for our lack of growth and maturity is the continued struggle of yielding to the flesh rather than to the Holy Spirit. And that negatively impact the dynamics of our Christian identity. Before we came to know and accept the salvation and lordship of Jesus Christ over our life, the flesh had only been the one ruling and directing our life. Hence we were continually sinking in sin that leads to eternal destruction and no Godly purpose for our life. We might have been in the Church all our life, but only religious without the Spirit of Christ. But when by God’s grace through faith in Christ we opened our heart and life heavenward through confession and forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit of God came into our heart and hence the daily struggle between the flesh and the Spirit began with each desiring to gain dominance and control of our life. Each one of us has to make the decision who to listen to and obey because God did not create us like a robot. This is where many of us tend to fail ourselves as well as our allegiance to the Lord Jesus.
The reference from Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians and all believers quoted at the beginning of this write-up is telling of our new identity in Christ being called to freedom from the power of sin to a life controlled by the Holy Spirit If we will listen and keep responding in obedience. The reality is that the daily struggle between these two forces will continue daily because of our humanity. However, the admonition and encouragement to wisdom is for us to keep doing the bidding of the Holy Spirit that is our possession as a believer. In John 14-16, Jesus Himself has taught us the role of the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, Companion, teacher, enabler, Advocate and source of strength to live for God. That’s the only way we can beautifully live out our real identity in Christ avoiding the crises of the flesh. Dr. Johnson Omoni