Intro: I really do not know anyone who enjoys being controlled by another human being(s). We might put up with it for a while, but dealing with controlling personalities gets old very quickly. It is suffocating to our need for the secure freedoms Jesus died to provide us. As believers, we have been set free from sin and death, SO that we can live each day being led by the Spirit of liberty and truth. There’s something repulsive about others trying to control us through pressure and force when Jesus has set us free by the Truth of his love, right? Many times we feel the battle for control coming from the world outside of us; however, how do we respond when we realize a battle for control is actually raging within us?
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Romans about this very thing. As believers we serve God—the Lord wants to be at the center of our lives. We live by faith to please him rather than by gratifying our flesh or by struggling to obey a set of rules (Heb 11:6). We love and serve Christ from renewed hearts and minds that are filled with the love of God. We are confident the Holy Spirit is helping us live in agreement with God, so when we feel that fight for control on the inside, our flesh that wants gratification may be fighting the Spirit for control (Gal 5:17). It is the work of the Spirit to make us more and more like Jesus on the inside, but as that process is going on we realize we are losing control of certain areas of our lives and we may be tempted to resist it.
Please don’t fight the work of the Spirit within you. Honor the Spirit who was sent to help each of us produce righteous fruit for the glory of God (Gal 5:25). As we surrender spiritual control to the Holy Spirit, we can live these new lives in great power. If you feel an inner battle, pause, pray, and permit Christ to have his way; this is living a new way in the Spirit.
5 When we were merely living natural lives [before we came to know Christ], the law, through defining sin, actually awakened sinful desires within us, which resulted in bearing the fruit of death. 6 But now that we have been fully released from the power of the law, we are dead to what once controlled us. And our lives are no longer motivated by the obsolete way of following the written code, so that now we may serve God by living in the freshness of a new life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, when I feel like I have an inner battle for control, help me to focus on Jesus. Bowing my flesh to the work of the Spirit takes faith, but you have given me grace for the journey. Thank you for your great love and provision. In Jesus’ name. Amen.