Let’s be honest, none of us are standing still.
We are either moving closer to Jesus or farther away.
In my experience, it isn’t necessarily hard to move closer to Him, but it does require a conscious, directed choice.
The world, our flesh and Satan all conspire against us to slowly, but surely, drag us off course and away from our Lord.
The Flesh vs Spirit Challenge
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. Galatians 5:16-17 (NASB)
What are you nursing? Your flesh or your spirit?
To nurse something means to nourish it, to help it develop and progress.
So, looking back over the last several weeks of your life, based on your actions – not your intentions – what have you been nursing?
I was recently challenged by this question and it really got my attention.
It is so easy for me to let my priorities get out of whack. As I’ve said before, I drift toward comfort which means I have a tendency to let my flesh rule me.
The thing is, it happens and I don’t even realize it. It is as if I’m snoozing away on autopilot just coasting through life wandering further and further away from Jesus.
Eventually, if I’m lucky, something wakes me up.
It might be a sermon, an email from a friend, something I read or just a bump on the head.
One way or another, I realize I haven’t been doing the things I need to do to “walk by the Spirit”.
Getting Back on the Right Track
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:6 (NIV)
I really like what John Piper has to say about “walking by the Spirit” in his article, The War Within: Flesh Vs. Spirit, which I’d highly encourage you to read.
The Spirit is not a leader like the pace car in the Daytona 500. He is a leader like a locomotive on a train. We do not follow in our strength. We are led by his power. So “walk by the Spirit” means stay hooked up to the divine source of power and go wherever he leads.
Our goal is to remain connected to Jesus and let Him lead us where He wants us to go. But, how do we know if we are on the right track? Well, Jesus tells us the following:
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
So, we know we are on the right track when we look back and see that our lives are producing fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Apart from Jesus, when we are nursing our flesh, these fruits of the Spirit dry up in our lives.
Okay, then what is our role? How do we nurse our spirit and stay close to Jesus? I’ll point you toward something that John Piper calls, “The secret of walking by the Spirit”. He quotes George Müller, the great Christian evangelist that cared for over 10,000 children as Director of the Ashley Down orphanage. In his autobiography, Mr. Müller wrote:
I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished…Now what is the food for for the inner-man? Not prayer but, the Word of God.
The greatest thing you and I can do to nurse our spirit is to spend time reading and meditating on the Word of God until it makes our soul happy.
I guess this is why, when he was being tempted, Jesus told Satan, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” He obviously knew the “secret of walking by the Spirit”.
What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment and let me know.