This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.Doesn’t get simpler than that. How easy it is to hang onto the works of the flesh! Granted, I don’t do any adultery, fornication or witchcraft. I don’t get drunk unless my sister tricks me. But wrath and strife? I’m all over that. Envy? Probably. Emulations would be zeal for things other than God – check. Variations is translated elsewhere as strife or contentions, which again I can do a pretty good job at in my heart.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
We compare that to the opposite list and I really start to notice where I’m falling short. I love people, but longsuffering just sounds boring. I don’t think anyone would confuse me for gentle. And what makes it worse is I don’t even want to be longsuffering!
So there we have the problem. Flesh versus the spirit and what we think we want versus what we want for God. It isn’t presented as an optional choice though.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.Make no provision for the flesh. Sounds like make no provision for the enemy. There should not be any room there for the flesh.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.