16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves.17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
we just learned about the Holy Spirit on sunday at rockharbor. i feel like i've been ignoring the Holy Spirit a lot over these last few months. johnny said something that really hit me sunday night. he said that the more we ignore the Holy Spirit, the more we become dull to Him. that struck a chord in me. when you stop listening to the Holy Spirit, you stop letting Him direct your decisions, you refuse letting Him guide you, you become more and more dull to what He has to say. in other words, you get exactly what you wanted. you don't acknowledge the Holy Spirit, the Spirit starts becoming quieter and quieter to your ears. what He says starts having little effect on you. that's what happened to me. that night, we prayed to be refilled with the Holy Spirit, that we would break out of our dullness, that we would be sensitive again to the Holy Spirit's direction in our lives. i need Him. by running my life all by myself, i've only dug myself deeper into a hole that i was trying to get out of in the first place.
i saw this chapter this morning and it really hit me as well. i really like how paul says that when we let the Holy Spirit run things, we won't be doing what our sinful nature craves. i mean, when we're following the Spirit, we steer clear from temptation. i know that the Spirit is telling me to go a different route and to avoid that temptation altogether. when the Holy Spirit is guiding our lives, when we're in submission to Him, when we're choosing to follow the Spirit, what's most important to us? God! our own selfish wants go out the window and we want what God wants!
earlier in this chapter, paul talks about how we shouldn't return to slavery to the law. we shouldn't return to living by rules and regulations. if we do that, we have to follow every rule and regulation all throughout the old testament and the freedom that Jesus gives us is pointless! if we start living in a way where we think we can earn salvation and work for God's favor again, Jesus's death on the cross becomes useless to us! rather, paul encourages us to live by the Spirit. because when we live by the Spirit, we don't put our faith and trust in our own ability to follow the law and gain favor with God. when we live by the Spirit, we put our faith and trust in the Holy Spirit to guide and we follow. we simply follow. we don't try so hard to obey all these rules and commands, we simply listen to what He says we should do in every step of our lives. it's like instead of finding our way by consulting a map and following every single thing it says for getting to a certain destination we simply let the gps guide the way and let us know when to turn and where to go. by following a long list of twists and turns that a map gives us, we sometimes mess up and get lost. we lose our way. we end up having to make u-turns and we lose out on time! and also, when we use the map, we completely neglect the gps that we just bought!!! but when we follow the gps, we trust the gps knows where it's going, it calculates everything for us, it gets us there without hassle and we focus more on the journey than just getting to the destination. when we go back to just obeying the law, we neglect the Holy Spirit who's trying to guide us now!! He helps us get to where God wants us to be without hassle so we can focus on the journey and not just on the end point.
i really like how paul says this next part, too. he says that when we follow our sinful desires, the RESULTS are very clear. and he goes on to list all these sins. haha the sins are the punishments themselves!! that's deep! what he's saying is that when we follow our sinful desires, that's what we get, the sins themselves! that's it! i like how the message puts it. all we get is cheap, repetitive, loveless sex. fighting amongst ourselves. never satisfying pursuits. the list goes on. we realize that sin in itself, is its own punishment! it leads us nowhere! it leaves us with a bitter taste in our mouths. it leaves us searching for more. it hollows us out. but here's the good news. now that we've received the Holy Spirit, we bear different fruits. if we yield to the Holy Spirit, we bear love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. we bear real, deep, emotional relationships. we bear joy in life, through times of blessings and through times of hardships. we bear things that help us live life to its fullest, rather than things that snuff the life out of us!
in summary, follow the Spirit, not the law. sin in itself is its own punishment. but when we follow the Spirit, we live the life worth living, rather than the life that can hardly be called life.