Based on the accounts of the Word of God, there’re just two ways people can live. The first one is according to the flesh, and the second one is according to the Spirit. The first thing to remember is that by nature we’re predisposed to live according to the flesh as a result of our fallen nature which we’ve inherited due to the fall of man. By the way, it doesn’t take that much sacrifices and efforts to live according to the flesh because all you really have to do is to follow the sinful desires found within you. To put it differently, living according to the flesh comes naturally.
On the other hand, living according to the Spirit is another form of life found in Christ contrary to the flesh. It’s a form of life that determines whether someone is a true Christian or not. They are both fundamentally different to each other in every aspect. One is centered upon pleasing self, whereas the other one is centered upon pleasing and glorifying God by denying self.
You cannot try to live a life in accordance with both at the same time. As a recap, living according to the flesh is to set your mind on the very things the flesh desires. And living according to the Spirit is to set your mind on the things the Spirit desires (Romans 8:5). The question is what does both the flesh and the Spirit desire?
The flesh desires things like sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like (Galatians 5:19-21). In other words, these things are the fruit of the flesh. Conversely, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). These are the very things the Holy Spirit manifests in anyone who is in Christ.
Nevertheless, it’s important to realize that one leads to death and the other one leads to life (Romans 8:13). The choices that people make in the present determine what will happen later. The direction that you take with your life determines your own destiny. If you’re not saved, it’s a clear indication that you’re living your life in accordance with the flesh whether you realize it or not. However, if you’re in Christ, it simply means that you’re living in accordance with the Spirit.
Let’s Use a Balance Scale Analogy in Order To Further Illustrate Both Lifestyles.
Let’s say, for instance, you have a balance scale which is representative of your life in relation to the choices that you’re making. In other words, the balance scale is symbolic of your own God-given free will. In a balance scale you have two sides, meaning that if either one of them has more loads, it will surely outweigh the other one.
Let’s say that the right side represents what ought to be the good side of our being, and the left side represents the bad side. To proceed with that simple analogy, the Holy Spirit would actually dwell on the right side in order to empower us to live a life pleasing to God through our own human spirit in relation to the new nature we’ve been given in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The left side is actually where Satan dominates people’s lives through the flesh by taking advantage of their sinfulness. Prior to being saved, it means that the left side had literally outweighed the right side since the Holy Spirit had not been there yet to provide self-control. And every sin we had ever committed was turned into heavy loads being placed on the left side.
The more we had continued to sin against God, the more and more loads that were being placed to the extent that Satan literally chained up the left side. Consequently, we had become more prone to do evil. God along with His Word had become repulsive to us. We had been programmed only to act upon our sinful desires. Thus, our minds had been hostile to God because we had no desire at all to submit ourselves to God’s law (Romans 8:7).
As you reading this post, there are many who’re currently living their lives in such horrible state of total depravity. We’re currently living in a culture of mental illness. Critical issues that have extreme eternal implication are seen in complete reverse while they should have been given top priority.
Sinful lifestyles that people should have fled from at any cost due to God’s impending eternal wrath are being embraced as normal. It’s mind-numbing to even see how people are celebrating their own eternal condemnation.
Christ Reverses The Tide With His Own Death And Resurrection.
When we came to Christ, a mind-blowing transformation occurred. He took care of that colossal imbalance issue by paying off the massive debt that we owed with His own precious blood. He broke up the chains that had bound us by cutting off Satan’s influence over our lives.
As a result, we were automatically transitioned from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light. He then sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us in order to preserve the victory He’s given us on the world, Satan, sin, and the flesh. In that case, it’s easy for us to see from this illustration above, there’s a complete reversal that initially took place during the moment of salvation.
Since the Holy Spirit dwells on the right side of the balance scale’s analogy being used, that particular side has come to outweigh the left one. It means that there’s a change of attitude that must be taken place.
Even if we’re still struggling with the impulses of the flesh, but the Holy Spirit is infinitely more powerful than the impulses of the flesh. Our minds are to be set on the things the Spirit of God desires in order to counterbalance the impulses of the flesh. Unlike Satan, the Holy Spirit respects our free will and will not impose on it. Therefore, it’s left up to us to choose whether we want Him to control every aspect of our lives.
Living in accordance with the Spirit means being willing to put to death the misdeeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13). That’s to say we have to stop following the sinful desires of the flesh. Doing that isn’t about following a simple magic formula. This can only happen by allowing the Holy Spirit to carry out what He was sent to accomplish in our lives by submitting ourselves to the authority of the Word of God through which He operates.
Living according to the flesh is to be shortsighted, selfish, deceived, desperately wicked, and blinded by the impulsive desires of the flesh and Satan. Living in accordance with the Spirit is to look up to God by coming out of our human ways in order to let Him transform us into the person that He wants us to be by His own Spirit.