According to the Word of God, there are just two ways that men can live their lives. They can either live according to the flesh by following their own carnal nature, or live according to the Spirit of God by putting under control the insatiable desires of the flesh. In fact, the unregenerate person is very sensitive to their carnal nature, which is why they are more prone to follow their own sinful desires.
However, if we are serious about pleasing and glorifying God, we have to be willing to make a crucial decision that excels our very being by submitting ourselves completely to God, so that He can transform us into the person He wants us to be. With that being the case, our Christian life is based entirely on being willing to make choices that are contrary to what our human nature would want us to do.
Why Does The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit is so Critical?
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (Romans 8:13-14)
In this passage of Scripture, Apostle Paul is trying to establish a clear distinction between living according to the Spirit of God and the desires of the flesh. Anyone who lives according to the desires of the flesh will surely die. Because living according to the flesh equates to living in sin or living for oneself. However, those who live their lives according to the Spirit of God by putting to death the sinful desires of the flesh will surely live, and they are considered as children of God.
The Spirit of God started His works through us even before we were saved. By the way, we don’t become Christians on the basis of our own initiative, otherwise we would have still been in the world indulging in all types of sinful pleasures. It was the person of the Holy Spirit who brought a fierce conviction upon us regarding our sinfulness by showing us how wicked, detestable, and unacceptable we were in the eyes of a holy and righteous God. He convicted us of God’s righteousness, warned us of the coming judgment that will befall unrepentant sinners, and then pointed us to the Savior Christ Jesus.
After accepting Christ as our personal Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us. Our bodies become His temple according to (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Why did God send us the Holy Spirit to indwell us in the first place? Just as Jesus came to this earth with a clear mission, so is the Holy Spirit. His main mission is to transform us into the likeness of Christ, the One who gave His life for us. His purpose in our lives is to preserve the imputed holiness and righteousness that we’ve received from Christ upon salvation.
The Role of the Holy Spirit is to Empower us to Live Holy Lives.
Let’s put that into perspective, Christ gave His life by shedding His blood, so that He can redeem and purchase us from our sins. Therefore, since He’s purchased us in full (1 Corinthians 6:20, 1 Peter 1:18-19), we’ve become His own property, and He gets to be our Lord. Prior to being saved, our lives were like a complete wasteland that could not produce anything valuable in the eyes of God. Christ has taken care of the toxic wastes symbolic of our sins that had spread all over that land.
Thereby, the Holy Spirit is sent in order to plow and then fertilize that land. In other words, to work through us, so that we can be fruitful in every good work. The main role of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ through us. He enables us to live in such a way that brings honor, glory, and great pleasure to the Lord. So when the Lord looks at our lives, He’s very proud about His tremendous sacrifice on the cross that He has invested into us. By the work of the Spirit of God in our lives, we can move from being loved by God to being enjoyed by Him.
God knows that we cannot live the kind of life He desires us to live base on our own human ability and effort. He sends us someone powerful just as He is to fill the huge gap within us as far as our human ability is concerned. The Spirit of God comes to empower us, so that we may be able to do what our human ability could have never enabled us to do in the first place such as living a holy life, remain faithful to God in the midst of trials and persecutions, resisting temptation, and everything this evil world has to offer us.
The Flesh Leads to Bondage, and The Spirit Gives Freedom.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. (Galatians 5:16-18)
What really stands out the most out of that passage of scripture is the underlying ongoing conflict that exists between what the flesh desires, and what the Spirit desires. The flesh relates to our physical body, and the desires that are contained within. In fact, most of these desires are natural, which means that they are God-given desires. However, since they can be perverted and misused due to sin, God has imposed strict restrictions regarding how these desires should be manifested and used. Consequently, anything that crosses the boundary set by God is sin.
There is also a huge difference between where both the flesh and the Spirit want to take us. The flesh is always seeking gratification by regularly pushing us to indulge in sinful activities. Even though it can never be satisfied fully because we cannot satisfy ourselves with anything outside of God’s will for our lives. So no matter how long you have been practicing a particular sin, you will never be satisfied. This clearly explains the reason why people have to keep on engaging into a particular sin repeatedly in order to try to maintain a level of satisfaction. In addition, the more you keep indulging into sin; the more you want to sin, and the more enslaved you become as well.
When we are tempted, we find ourselves being very excited and curious about acting on what we are tempted about. Sometimes it may come so powerfully, it’s as if there is no way we can escape it. But after succumbing to it, we are left with a huge gaping hole in our hearts.
First, the basis of engaging into sinful activities has to do with self-deception because of people’s tendency to falsely believe that they can fill up the deep hole found within their soul with sinful pleasures.
The truth of the matter is that this hole can only be filled by Christ. Consequently, sinful lifestyles literally dig that hole deeper and deeper. The flesh is always exerting intense pressure on us, so that we can do things contrary to what God wants us to do. However, the Spirit of God always wants to lead us in an entirely different direction because His main mission is to enable us to please God.
As Christians, if we want to please God, we have to bring these evil desires, which are waging war against our soul under subjection. Like Apostle Paul said in (Galatians 2:20) “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” We are dead to sin, the carnal man, the natural man, or our old version of ourselves has already been dead. Since we were dead to sin and made alive in Christ through His resurrection, we are now free to live holy lives, and serve the Lord wholeheartedly because we are no longer slave to sin.
God is calling us to put aside our sinful desires such as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, and orgies by depending completely on the Holy Spirit.
How Can we Truly Live a Spirit-filled life?
1) We have to truly understand the role of the Holy Spirit into our lives as Christians. Keep in mind that, His indwelling into our lives clearly demonstrates our inability and inadequacy to God. We should also treat Him as a person because nobody would ever be pleased if they are being treated impersonally, and so is the Spirit of God. He is a divine being with an intellect, emotion, and will. Although, He is the most ignored person out of the trinity; however, He still yearns for us to have an intimate relationship with Him.
2) We have to be honest with ourselves in the sense of being willing to acknowledge our human weaknesses as well as our inability. And most importantly, we have to get a hold of why the help of the Holy Spirit is so critical to us.
The truth is that we just cannot make that walk without being empowered by the Spirit of God. By the way, the enemy knows all of our weaknesses, and he is constantly devising plan regarding how he can take advantage of us in a wide variety of ways. However, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, this enables us to have a strong edge over him. Therefore, he can’t run our lives through manipulations.
3) We have to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit moment by moment. He is our constant companion, our teacher, our comforter, our helper, and our advocate. Submission means that giving Him complete access to every aspect of our lives by aligning our will to the Word of God through which His Spirit operates. Most importantly, living the Christian life is based entirely on the work He is doing through us.
The question is do we live our lives in a way that demonstrates that we are filled with the Spirit of God? Is our walk with the Lord, our conducts, our ways of life indicate that we are being led by the Spirit of God? Oftentimes, we live our lives in such a terrible way; we don’t even give the Holy Spirit a chance to operate into our lives. As scripture says in (1 Thessalonians 5:19) do not quench the Spirit.
As a final point, without the Holy Spirit, our lives would be a complete disaster. If God sends someone to help us and commands us to constantly follow His leading, it is because that is of great importance. For this reason, we should truly appreciate and welcome the Holy Spirit and depend up on Him completely.