When We Try to Fight the Battle Alone
“Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:2-3
Have you ever watched a toddler who is determined to do something on their own that you know they cannot do? You offer help, but they quickly retort, “I can do it!” And so you are forced to watch them struggle until they finally admit defeat (usually in frustrated tears).
We look at these children and laugh, thinking they are cute but foolish. But friend, don’t be so quick to think you are much different. In fact, we are often like them and the foolish Galatians.
The Galatians were led astray from the gospel of grace to a gospel of works. They were ignoring Paul’s teachings about Christ and were listening to false teachers who told them that they needed to keep the Jewish law, had to work to keep their salvation, and needed to perfect their flesh. They were trying to live the Christian life by their own strength and earn their salvation—which is completely contrary to the gospel.
We often do the same thing. We try to defeat our sins in the power of our flesh with discipline, apps, books, accountability, asceticism, and the like. Though these things can be helpful, if we are doing them in our own strength, we will not succeed. On their own, they have the appearance of wisdom but are of no value in stopping the flesh (Colossians 2:20-23). We are foolish to believe we could conquer the flesh with the flesh!
Before you were saved, your heart was so filled with sin that only the Holy Spirit could open your eyes to the truth of the gospel. Do you truly believe that you could finish out the Christian life without the Spirit? Though you have a new heart, you are still living in that sinful flesh.
We need to defeat sin in God’s power. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit, apply the Word of God to our hearts, and be on our knees in prayer when fighting against our flesh.
God, thank you for the Holy Spirit living inside of me. Thank you for giving me strength to defeat sin and live righteously. Help me to always rely on you in my battle. Keep me from the prideful temptation to rely on myself in the battle of sin. Teach me my desperate need for you. Teach me to walk by the Spirit, not by the flesh.
Turn to God’s Word today concerning your battle against the flesh. Consider what Scripture says about your specific struggle, and seek to apply it to your heart.