For you, brothers and sisters, were called to freedom; only do not use the freedom for an opportunity to indulge the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, in the command, Love your neighbor as yourself. 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16Now I say, walk by the spirit and you will absolutely not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, with the result that you are not doing what you want. 18But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law.
“Freedom” means freedom from the powers of the old age—the power of sin, the cosmic forces of evil, and the law. “Christian freedom in the Spirit means voluntarily offering oneself in service to one’s fellow Christians, in opposition to living in line with the self-centered and self-serving orientation of the flesh.” (DeSilva, NICNT)
“Flesh” refers to the power that is in us from our life connected to Adam and his fall. It presses us to satisfy our desires and inclinations in ways that are totally devoid of God. “It is the sum total of the impulses, urges, and desires that lead human beings away from virtue toward self-promotion and self-gratification, often at the expense of the interests and well-being of others, of the harmony of community, or of the accomplishing of the purposes of God in our lives, communities, and world.” (Desilva, NICNT)
Be encouraged if you feel the battle raging inside you. The sign of the spirit at work in your life is not that you are free from bad desires but that you experience the war that is going on inside you.
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