Gal. 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

The natural man has little struggle with the flesh, he just yields to it. He is controlled, more or less, by the appetites of his body and his soulish nature. He has no pressure to live a holy life, that never even comes on his radar. When someone is born again, that’s when the struggle starts. Suddenly there are conflicting desires in this new Christian’s heart. With his spirit he wants to live a holy life, this is actually a new growing desire in the Christian’s life. At the same time, he has been spending his whole life doing what his body or his soul wanted to do, and now there is a conflict in his soul. With his heart he wants to glorify God and delight in holiness. All his body wants is to eat a cheeseburger and watch a few movies or football games. These are now conflicting “delights” living in the same heart. This is part of our fight of faith. Jonathan Edwards said that this desire for holiness is rooted in our desire for heaven. Check this out.

“The spirit lusts against the flesh, Galatians 5:17. The strife and struggle of the new man is after holiness. The heart struggles after it. The heart of a good man, one who has an interest in heaven, and has an inward active, heavenly seed in him, is in a struggle with sin, as Jacob was with Esau in Rebecca’s womb. There are ardent desires, and breathings, and cryings, and strivings; and it is to be holy. And the hands struggle as well as the heart. A man strives in his practice; his life is a life of sincere and earnest endeavors to be universally holy, and to be more holy. He is not holy enough, but is very far from it. He desires to be nearer perfection, or more like those in heaven. And this is one reason why he longs to be in heaven, that he may be perfectly holy. And the principle when he thus struggles is love. It is not only fear, but it is love to God, and love to Christ, and love to holiness. Love is a holy fire in him. And fire, if it be pent up, will cause a struggling for liberty.”

This desire for holiness is the love of God, it is a passionate fire that will be satisfied only by the holiness found in the presence of The Lord. Is this seed of love, this passion for a deeper, more holy life, in you? If it is, stir up that fire in your belly. Be relentless in your pursuit of God. Pray in the Spirit. Dig for treasure in the Word of God. Flee from every appearance of evil. As you press in, it will be easier to resist temptation and you will begin to taste the pleasure of a holy life.


  1. Amen! There seem to be three distinct types of people and the possibility to be any of them exists in each and every one of us.
    I have observed that there are :

    Body people- completely controlled by their baser instincts, yielding to every hormonal nudge and controlled by fleshly urges

    Soulish people- worshiping on the alter of their intellect and living by their human logic
    Both of these are different but equally corrupt manifestations of the flesh.

    It is only when a born again believer submits their life completely to the Holy Spirit’s leading and walks in complete dependence on Him that the world sees a different kind of man; the Spiritual man. Take one step away from that and you will find nothing but the smell of rotting flesh.

    Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
    Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
    Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
    Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
    Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
    Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
    Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
    Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

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