One of the awesome things about Christianity is that we do not have a long list of do’s and don’ts that we must follow. God saves us from our sin through faith in Jesus alone. Nothing we do adds or takes away from that. Furthermore, God, though His Spirit, gives us a new heart that desires to worship and walk in His ways. We change our actions and behavior because of love for Him. Instead of enforcing holiness externally, via exhausting rules, the Bible teaches that we become Holy through the work Jesus does in our hearts.
Yet, just because our changes comes from the inside does not mean we should not take certain steps to move towards holiness. The Bible paints the picture that actions we take can strengthen the spirit, empowering it to stand strong against the temptations of the flesh. Conversely, when we make provision to satisfy the lusts of the flesh, we weaken our connection with God’s Holy Spirit, leading to darker acts.
Galatians 5.16-24 addresses this nicely.
16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For 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. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who doe such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
In the United States, we live in an entertainment-saturated culture. We have television on demand, unparalleled access to books, and video games on our cell phones. I often speak about how important a good diet contributes to healthy living. Similarly, the types of entertainment we consume and the company we keep can significantly influence our spiritual health.
Therefore, I wanted to take a moment to remind my friends, and myself, to dwell on those things that are good and virtuous, and especially, on God. In looking for stories, songs and more, we can seek those things that draw our hearts and minds back to Him. Of course, the Bible, God’s Word, remains our primary means for feeding the Spirit that dwells within us. Yet, God has used others to glorify Him through other works. Personally, I enjoy the writings of C.S. Lewis, and the music of TobyMac and Lecrae. Currently, I am progressing through the book, Hiding in the Light by Rifqa Bary, a young lady who grew up in a Muslim home, but decided to follow Christ at a great, personal cost. These stories can help inspire us to walk closer after God.
What steps are you taking to glorify God in your day to day life? Does the entertainment you consume feed the spirit or the flesh? Do you have some recommendations you would like to share down in the comment section below?
Sometimes, the internal battle between the spirit and flesh can make one feel like Jekyll and Hyde.