Part 3: Rulers of the Heart: 2 Options

If your childhood was anything like mine, you probably loved Saturday mornings for the cartoons. No matter which cartoon was your favorite, it seems like every time a character had to solve some sort of moral dilemma we witness two familiar characters appear on the scene. Do you remember? From thin air, a little angel and devil pop up on each shoulder and begin arguing back and forth between right and wrong. After these characters war against the other, the confused “middle man” must choose between right and wrong and face the resulting consequences.

 

You may not realize it, but every day we are faced with those types of moral decisions too. However, the battle is not fought by two cartoon characters on our shoulders (and aren’t you thankful? Cause that would just be weird), but it’s fought in the depths of our hearts.

What Is Really Going On?

 

In Part 1 of this blog, I discussed the topic of laziness and how we have two options: laziness or diligence. In Part 2, I discussed the effects of laziness on others and the heart behind it. Laziness is something practical that almost everyone deals with in life and doesn’t seem like a big deal. Yet, by peeling back the layers of laziness we can find the core of almost every problem we deal with in life: the battle for who rules the heart.

The Battle

 

Paul hits the core of the issue straight on in Galatians 5:17,

 

“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.”

 

We can see from this verse that the flesh (self-rule, pride) is against the Spirit of God. This can be really easy to read and understand, but it’s very hard to apply. I don’t know about you but that’s not fun for me because, more often, I operate from the ruler of the flesh.

The Ruler of the Flesh (Pride or Self-Rule)

 

Did you notice what Paul had said in Galatians 5:17 about the flesh? He said that the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit. One way that the flesh rules us is by screaming, “I WANT!” So in part 2, we discussed how laziness becomes a way of life that begins to affect others and that ultimately, the sin is about me! I shared how many times when I didn’t get what I wanted I would become angry and lash out and we looked at James 4:1. We argue because we are not getting what we want. What results is strife, fits of anger, and divisions between us and whoever is threatening our desire and control. Galatians reveals this clearly,

 

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Gal 5:19-21

 

The battle is revealed by the results or works of the flesh, but what happens if I allow the Spirit of God to rule?

The Rule of Spirit (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit)

 

It is so easy to SAY that we need to let God rule in our lives but it’s difficult to actually ALLOW God to rule our lives. Our natural tendency is to be ruled by the flesh, because it lives through lust (I WANT!). But the Word of God tells us that the rule of the Spirit is much different. Let’s read Psalm 23: 1 and 4,

 

“A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. … Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

 

  1. We can live in contentment
  2. We can live in peace

We can know that God is our shepherd who leads us in righteousness and from Part 2 we know that His Word is the only way that we can see sin for what it really is.

 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Gal 5:22-23

Wrapping It Up

 

Every day, I have a battle raging within me, a battle for my heart. This battle can be seen in the way I handle every decision in life. It seems easy enough to say but the battle is complex. I want what I want. That is natural. Yet, we have a problem…we live in community…in a community of others whose hearts are being fought for as well. In our next blog, I’ll discuss in how Scripture tells us to handle such a situation. Until then…

 

Is there any situation that has become frustrating, maybe there has been argument with a sibling, friend, spouse, or child? Is Christ or Flesh ruling that situation? What are you not getting what you want?? How can Christ rule?

 

Ryan Thomason works with Transform Student Ministries as the product development and events coordinator. He is married to a wonderful woman named Madison.  He has voluntarily served Precept Ministries for close to 10 years before coming on staff full time. He has interned with their media department in 2008 and with the student ministry in 2009. He has lived in Guatemala to learn Spanish.

“I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints.” Colossions 1:25-26

 

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