A battle rages every single day that no one will ever hear anything about. It won't be on the evening news. You'll never find updates about it on CNN, FOX News or MSNBC. You won't see expert analysis from any retired generals or admirals. The fact is, you probably won't hear a word about this critical daily struggle from any media outlet.
It's interesting. This battle affects all of us, but so few of us are even aware of it. You are right in the middle of this battle every single day of your life. And what determines your success in this fight can largely be attributed to whether you walk in the light or in the darkness. I'm talking about the daily struggle between your flesh and your spirit—your flesh warring for what it wants and your spirit fighting for what is right.
Your flesh and your spirit are constantly at war. Your flesh is only concerned about itself. That is the one thing on which it dwells. It will always fight for its comfort, its will to be done, its way to be followed, its desires to be fulfilled…to the total exclusion of everything else.
Have you ever watched little kids playing? Everything goes along fine until one of the kids has something that another one wants—and the battle is on! Small children don't have the maturity or the discipline yet to even understand self-control, let alone begin to incorporate it into their lives. When they are hungry, they want to eat NOW. When they are sleepy, they want to go to bed NOW. When they see something they want, they want it NOW…no matter what.
Sadly, we all know adults like this. We may even end up acting like this from time to time! Self-control is one of the signs of maturity. And it's also part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In Galatians 5:22,23, Paul lists the various characteristics of the Holy Spirit. He says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (NIV).
When you see people yielding their rights and giving way to others or putting the needs of others ahead of themselves, you are seeing the fruit of the Holy Spirit known as self-control.
People who have no self-control will always yield to their flesh. Look at it this way: We have two sides—our flesh and our spirit. These are the two parties battling tooth and nail every single day for control of our lives.
Potentially, our recreated, born-again spirit has more than enough power to dominate our flesh and help us live in victory. However, many of us have spent most of our life feeding our flesh and giving it whatever it wants while neglecting our spirit.
If we've spent so much time making our flesh stronger, it's no wonder that our spirit struggles in this battle. But it doesn't have to be that way. By the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we can begin to say "NO!" to the flesh, while feeding and nurturing our spirit with the Word of God.
The only way to ultimately win this battle and start making right decisions instead of wrong ones is to ask God for more of His fruit of self-control. Only when we develop this fruit and nurture a strong spirit will we be able to say no to the bad attitudes, the wrong thinking, the addictive behaviors and the other destructive ways that our flesh constantly desires.
Strengthen your spirit today by reading and studying God's Word, staying in prayer, entering into His presence through worship, and developing relationships with others in church or a local fellowship. God has given us the power through the fruit of self-control to win this battle once and for all and to bless those around us while advancing His kingdom!
Author/teacher Joyce Meyer has been helping people overcome life's problems through biblical keys to practical Christian living since 1976. Her radio and television programs are broadcast throughout the United States and much of the world. For additional information, you may contact Joyce Meyer Ministries at P.O. Box 655, Fenton, Missouri 63026 or visit www.joycemeyer.org.
© 2007 Printed with permission of Joyce Meyer Ministries