PATH TO VICTORY
So the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days shall be 120 years.”
so that the righteous standard of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit.
We all lived among them at one time in the cravings of our flesh, indulging its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature children of wrath.
1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
This I say then, walk in the Spirit,…. The advice the apostle thinks fit to give, and which he would have observed, is, to “walk in the Spirit”, that is, either after the Spirit of God; making the word inspired by him the rule of behaviour, which as it is the standard of faith, so of practice, and is the lamp unto our feet, and the light unto our path; taking him himself for a guide, who not only guides into all truth, but in the way of holiness and righteousness unto the land of uprightness; and depending upon his grace and strength for assistance throughout the whole of our walk and conversation: or in the exercise of the graces of the Spirit of God; as in the exercise of faith upon the person and grace of Christ, of which the Spirit is the author; and in love to God, Christ, and one another, which is a fruit of the Spirit; and in humility, lowliness of mind, meekness and condescension; all which is to walk in the Spirit, or spiritually, and strengthens the argument for love the apostle is upon: and this he encourages to by observing,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh; he does not say there shall be no flesh, nor any lust of the flesh in them if they walk spiritually; or that the flesh should not act and operate in them; or that they should do no sinful action; all which is only true of Christ; and the contrary is to be found and observed in all true Christians, though ever so spiritual; but that they should not fulfil or perfect the lust of the flesh; should not give up themselves entirely to the power and dictates of the flesh, so as to be under it and at its command, and be obedient servants and slaves unto it; for, in this sense only, such that are spiritual do not, commit sin, they do not make a trade of it, it is not their constant employ or course of conversation.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The best way to keep tares (weeds) out of a bushel is to fill it with wheat.
the flesh—the natural man, out of which flow the evils specified (Ga 5:19-21). The spirit and the flesh mutually exclude one another. It is promised, not that we should have no evil lusts, but that we should “not fulfil” them. If the spirit that is in us can be at ease under sin, it is not a spirit that comes from the Holy Spirit. The gentle dove trembles at the sight even of a hawk’s feather.
Matthew Henry Commentary
5:16-26 If it be our care to act under the guidance and power of the blessed Spirit, though we may not be freed from the stirrings and oppositions of the corrupt nature which remains in us, it shall not have dominion over us. Believers are engaged in a conflict, in which they earnestly desire that grace may obtain full and speedy victory. And those who desire thus to give themselves up to be led by the Holy Spirit, are not under the law as a covenant of works, nor exposed to its awful curse. Their hatred of sin, and desires after holiness, show that they have a part in the salvation of the gospel. The works of the flesh are many and manifest. And these sins will shut men out of heaven. Yet what numbers, calling themselves Christians, live in these, and say they hope for heaven! The fruits of the Spirit, or of the renewed nature, which we are to do, are named. And as the apostle had chiefly named works of the flesh, not only hurtful to men themselves, but tending to make them so to one another, so here he chiefly notices the fruits of the Spirit, which tend to make Christians agreeable one to another, as well as to make them happy. The fruits of the Spirit plainly show, that such are led by the Spirit. By describing the works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit, we are told what to avoid and oppose, and what we are to cherish and cultivate; and this is the sincere care and endeavour of all real Christians. Sin does not now reign in their mortal bodies, so that they obey it, Ro 6:12, for they seek to destroy it. Christ never will own those who yield themselves up to be the servants of sin. And it is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well. Our conversation will always be answerable to the principle which guides and governs us, Ro 8:5. We must set ourselves in earnest to mortify the deeds of the body, and to walk in newness of life. Not being desirous of vain-glory, or unduly wishing for the esteem and applause of men, not provoking or envying one another, but seeking to bring forth more abundantly those good fruits, which are, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.
It’s rather clear and obvious that man becomes what he thinks about, to the greater degree. God lovingly and thoughtfully created us in His image with a measure of free will and creative capacity. It’s also clear that we can not focus on two distinct thoughts simultaneously. We can switch back and forth quickly but only one at a time. Therefore, shouldn’t we choose the good to think about like Paul says in Phil. 4?
However, our choices can never be good enough without supernatural help. When we focus on getting in the flow if the Spirit by practicing the Spiritual disciplines taught in the Bible, the Spirit readily guides us.
I realize this analogy is over simplified but I think it makes a good point. Let’s say we want a cup of coffee. There are too essential ingredients; water and coffee beans. Both are essential as without either we don’t have coffee. And its the heat and steam of life that infuses the two together to make this popular beverage. Such is like walking with the Spirit.
Our walking in the Spirit is one of both determining and responding. Like driving to a particular unknown destination with GPS navigation. We have to steer the wheel and step on the accelerator while listening, watching and heeding the directions for the best and most efficient arrival, to avoid getting lost.
LORD, You know the best and only way to get to the real You. Its easy to get sidetracked and confused. Guide me and prompt me to Your best place.