In our tiny, 50+ member church we are privileged enough to have one of the premier Sunday School teachers for the state teaching the adult class. This past Sunday's lesson was particularly good.
Based off Galatians 5:16-25*, we were talking about the tug of war that Paul writes of in the passage; being led by the Spirit or driven by the acts of the sinful nature.
The one has nothing in common with the other. You can't be in step with the Spirit and a friend of the world at the same time. One is going to win over the other always. And you don't have to be in the power struggle with both.
If you give the rope to God.
Once you do, it gets easier to stay in step with Him; not by our power but through the power of the Holy Spirit. And when we hear the call of the world and it begins the tug at our hearts, the best thing to do is to give the OTHER end of the rope to God as well. Then we know that we are not in control, but can rest assured that He is.
Then we can live with the fruit of the Spirit in us, since we have yielded full control of ourselves to God. I don't know about you, but He does a LOT better job at managing me than I can do myself.
Who holds your rope?
*So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are lead by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissention, factions and envy; drunkeness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-25 NIV.