The War Within

Flesh Versus Spirit

war within

Article by John Piper; Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org
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But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do 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 prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.

Last week we learned from Galatians 5:13–15 that the good news of Christ is a call to freedom. God’s revealed will for all of us is that we have the opportunity, the ability, and the desire to do what will give us the greatest satisfaction now and in a thousand years. We also learned that the only activity which we can perform in freedom is love. “You were called to freedom . . . so through love be servants of one another” (Galatians 5:13).

This love is not optional. It is commanded. And it is very radical: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words, we are called in our freedom to desire and seek the happiness of others with the same zeal that we seek our own. But if you take this command seriously, it is so contrary to our natural inclinations that it seems utterly impossible. That I should get up in the morning and feel as much concern for your needs as for my own seems utterly beyond my power. If this is the Christian life — caring for others as I care for myself — then it is hard, indeed, and I feel hopeless to ever live it out.

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