VICTORY! Feeding the Spirit, Starving the Flesh

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As I meet with and hear from people of all different ages, in varying stages of life there seems to be something that we ALL have in common …WE STRUGGLE! All of us struggle a little differently but the common theme in almost every conversation I’ve had in the past month is that we struggle with getting into the Word. The struggle to be in God’s Word amidst life is not exclusive to just you or me. We are NOT alone. In fact, to be honest with you…I struggle with daily and FAIL a lot of the time!

Here is a reality for us:
We are all strapped for time and struggling to fit the Lord into our packed schedule. If/When I find myself in this spot, I try to remember something from the book of Galatians. It seems that Paul was writing to a group of people that also struggled…

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

These verses in Galatians are talking about our struggle. Paul says that to live by the Spirit so we don’t gratify (to perform, execute, complete, fulfill) the desires of the flesh. Often I think of the mantra Ritchie Johnson set at Boot Camp a couple years back: FEED THE SPIRIT, STARVE THE FLESH!

Does your flesh seem to be getting the best of you? Does it seem like you are gratifying your desires more than you are seeing the VICTORY through the Spirit? If you said yes to these questions, I can relate. Lots of nights I lay my head on my pillow thinking through the day and I see so many places where I fulfilled those fleshly desires and dismissed the Holy Spirit. In those flesh filled moments I have some choices to make… I can continue on in guilt and shame for messing up AGAIN.  I could give up because this battle is too hard, and I’m tired of fighting.  I can harden my heart so I don’t feel at all. OR,  I can turn to the Lord, confess my weakness,  ask Him for His help, and thank Him for a fresh start in the morning (praise the Lord for this option, it’s only because of Christ we can have   fresh, clean, new beginnings)!

Please know that choosing anything other than turning to the Lord will begin the process of starving the Spirit. Turning to anything other than what we know to be true in God’s Word is to choose to feed the flesh. Oh, how I pray we won’t make that choice!

I recently heard a quote that speaks to our reality:

“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”

I find myself really tired of stuffing myself with the junk food at the world’s table. I want to feast on the delicacies of the Lord…I want to eat and be satisfied!

If you find yourself tired of the struggle and wondering where to turn next, take a look at Psalm 19:7-11. It gives a great source to turn to if you need to be revived, if you need wisdom, if your heart needs joy, if your spiritual eyes feel blurry, if you want to know how to live righteously.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
 the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
 the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

Let’s be nourished in His Word in this life. Even if you only have 15 minutes a day, spend those 15 minutes feasting at His table. I know we don’t always have time to do a full on Inductive Bible Study, but we can spend our 15 minutes delighting in the Lord. As you read, mark the places where the Lord is mentioned, and in prayer thank Him for the characteristics you learn about Him. I promise that time in His Word will transform your priorities in life! Remember: FEED THE SPIRIT, STARVE THE FLESH!

 

Brooke Ritterbush
Director of Transform Student Ministries

 

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