“Do You Think Those Guys are Gay?” (Part 5)
Is walking by the Spirit anything like walking like an Egyptian? What in the world would that look like?
Of course we understand that the outcome of walking by the Spirit is good. Not only will we not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:16); we’ll be led into all truth (John 16:13); exhibit character traits like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23), and basically become the children of God we always wanted to be.
BUT HOW DO WE DO THAT?! By relying on the Spirit.
HOW? By faith!
Am I talking in circles? No. I’m not, and through God’s Spirit – the Helper Jesus sent us – let’s prayerfully see if we can reach some understanding.
Walking by the Spirit means living by faith that God Himself can (and wants to) accomplish through you what you cannot accomplish by yourself. Can you see how walking by the Spirit could change your life whether you were struggling with unwanted same sex attraction or a good ole fashion porn addiction? Well, here’s the basics of what that requires:
First we’ve got to be willing to admit we’re not currently walking by faith. This isn’t always easy to tell either. Walking in our flesh could have us drowning in pornography and sexual fantasy or it could have us exulting in our virginity and high dating standards. Or BOTH! Yes. In both instances we’re walking in the flesh because we’re living by our own strength. In one case we know we’re failing (“I can’t do it! It’s hopeless!”) and in the other we think we aren’t failing (“Check me out! I’m doing pretty good!”), but in both we’re in the flesh. The question isn’t whether you’re doing good things or bad things, but whether you’re doing what you’re doing all on your own or in the power of Christ.
If I’m ready to be honest with myself here’s what I’m going to be willing to do:
- Confess my sin (and I won’t call it a habit, an addiction, or an identity)
- Confess the conflicted motives that led me to my sin (pride, fear, bitterness, greed, etc.)
- Confess the painful consequences birthed out of my sin (both for me and others)
- Confess my natural sin nature which has kept this sin alive in me all this time
Then we have to decide we don’t want to keep doing it on our own any more. We’re done trying to impress God. (What a funny thing to think we could do, anyway.) We have to give up. We need to surrender. Note I said surrender – not resign. Resignation says, “I quit. I fold. I want out of the game.” Surrender says, “I give up. You win… and I want to join your side.” That’s literally what God is waiting for us to do (and He has all the time in the world): give up and join His side.
If I am ready to humble myself here’s what I’m going to be willing to do:
- Admit I need God’s body to help me and prayerfully seek out brothers to whom I can confess and submit to for counsel and accountability
- Admit I need God’s word and begin to intentionally read it, memorize it, meditate on it. And BELIEVE IT!
- Admit I need God’s supernatural guidance, protection and empowerment and then pray for it desperately and continually.
Finally we have to believe that following the leading of God’s Spirit (as it is revealed through His body, His word and His presence in prayer) is going to set us free – in God’s timing – not our own. Like Naaman (who was cured of leprosy) only after he dipped in the Jordan River seven times, God may not break our drug addiction, fix our finances or tame our sexual urges overnight, but we must believe that God wants us to be free from sin at least as much as we do. And we must believe that He can set us free.
If I am ready to hope in God alone here’s what I am going to be willing to do:
- Follow God’s instructions to the letter – not out of legalism (“I will please God.”) or fear (“I will appease God.”) – but out of faith (“I will believe God!”)
- Find my identity in Christ alone (not my sin or virtue, not my struggles or success, not my race, gender, nationality or any other identity)
- Fear God more than anyone, any outcome, or anything
And on that hopeful note I leave you. Know God loves you and accepts you not just the way you are, but in spite of the way you are. And because of His great love for you He will not leave you the way you are!
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