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You’ve probably heard the expression, “new level, new devil.”
As we seek more of God in our lives and begin to experience more of His presence and a deeper desire for the things of God, the enemy will target us. There will always be a battle for righteousness, renewal, and revival.
Many times these attacks will come in the form of other people. Satan wants to bait us into being upset and offended, angry and unforgiving, or get us to gossip and complain. Why? Because if he can get us out of the Spirit and into the flesh, he can lead us away from the passion we were cultivating.
The Spirit and flesh are contrary to one another. We need to grow spiritually so that we can learn how to maintain our walk in the Spirit and not give in to the flesh.
“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 desires what is contrary to the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16-17a, NIV84).
As we grow and mature spiritually, we will get better at recognizing these attacks for what they really are.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
Spiritual growth comes through Bible study, fellowship with other mature Christians, and prayer. We have to choose to put ourselves in a position to grow. We may need to lay aside some other priorities in order to seek more of God. If we are serious about renewal and revival, we will have to make some sacrifices.
So how do we walk in the Spirit?
Honestly, if I had all the answers, I would be God. But I’m not, and I don’t. What I can tell you, is that it’s a daily process of seeking God with a sincere heart. I don’t always walk in the Spirit as I should, but I do know that I get into the flesh a lot less than I used to.
I can tell you what the two look like according to Scripture.
Walking in the flesh or sinful nature:
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
Walking in the Spirit:
“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 Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” (Galatians 5:22-26).
I love this description, because (even though it is very convicting) it gives me a description of what those who belong to Jesus should look like. Paul tells us that if we live like that first description–in other words, that is what characterizes us–then we’re not living in the kingdom.
So, when I get into the flesh and start acting with impurity or discord or selfish ambition, I am reminded to not let the devil drag me down to his level. I’m reminded to quickly repent and ask the Holy Spirit to draw me back to the place of bearing fruit for Him.
I want to crucify that sinful nature. We have to admit, crucifixion is painful. Our flesh will hurt when we have to turn the other cheek, or be wronged and not seek justice on our own, or not gossip to get validation that we are in the right. Our flesh will suffer if we turn away from the things that bring us temporary pleasure.
But I would rather suffer the pain of denying my flesh than to suffer the consequences of walking in sin.
You want to know how to overcome these attacks of the enemy as you are seeking more of God? Maintain your peace. Satan wants you to get upset, but God is a God of peace. The devil cannot overcome a child of God who refuses to lose her peace.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
That’s a promise from God!!
As you grow in the Lord, you will get quicker at recognizing the setup of Satan, and you will learn that peace is so much better than strife, bitterness, or jealousy.
As you stay in peace despite the attacks of the enemy, you will be able to maintain your witness (which is what Satan is after) and continue to lean on God and seek Him with passion. And that is what the Holy Spirit is after!
I’m not saying it’s easy. The more we seek God, the more we will be tested.
But it’s soooo worth it.
For further reading and study, here are some related posts and some great books on how to recognize the enemy’s attacks for what they are.
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