Devotion #46

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:16-17 ESV

We don’t have a lot that God has promised yet, but we do have His Spirit. So it begs the question, if the very same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of me, why do I continue to struggle? If the very thing that defines love, joy, and peace lives inside of me, why do I continue to live with heartache and with conflict in my marriage?

At the moment of our conversion, we get all of the Spirit. We get all of the strength, the joy, and the peace of the Spirit. The problem is the Spirit doesn’t get all of us—that’s why we still struggle with anxiety, anger, fear, despair, loneliness, and all those other heavy emotions, that’s why we have relational strife, that’s why our marriages fail. We bring all those defeating emotions into our interactions with our spouse because the Spirit doesn’t have all of us. We lose focus on what He wants us to do or say, we forget how He wants us to behave or respond, and we respond from our hearts. We do not live in a position of full surrender; we still want what we want. Even though we have all the power to restore our broken marriages, the Spirit doesn’t have all of us. 

Even though the Spirit of the sovereign and holy God dwells inside of us, even though the One who made the heavens and the earth has been poured into us, even though the same power that moves mountains and raises the dead lives inside of us, we try to manage our marriages in our own power. We put a lid on all that power and say, “No thanks…I’ve got it,” because our hearts want something different. We have the power to do the impossible living inside of us, but we opt for our own fragile self-reliance. We are such a prideful people. 

When we find we struggle—whether it be in our hearts or in conflict with our spouse, it should prompt us to look deeper. Our flesh and our Spirit are in constant battle, and when our flesh wins, our hearts feel those defeated feelings. But because we have the Spirit dwelling within us, we don’t have to stay there. We can capture that thinking and look for where our hearts are getting in the way of the Spirit filling us. For us to be filled with the Spirit all of the time, we need to recognize these thoughts and confess them as sins. Then we need to ask God to fill us again. He will. Those defeating feelings will evaporate, and they will be replaced with a sense of purpose, a sense of love, and a sense of peace. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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