We need to choose our audience. If we only seek to please people, we will walk according to the flesh. But if we seek to please an audience of One, we will strive to walk by the Spirit. Those who walk by the flesh cannot please God and are dead, but those who walk by the Spirit have life in God (Romans 8:1–8). The good news is that we are set free in Christ to walk by the Spirit and have eternal life.
Set Free in Christ
If we reckon ourselves to be dead to sin in Christ (Romans 6:6–7, 11, 13), then we will find true significance, security, and satisfaction. We have been set free in Christ to experience God’s unconditional love and acceptance. If we look for this type of love and acceptance from people, they will fail us. God, however, is the One who loves us in spite of us. In Christ, He makes us new.
Once we have been made new, we are free to walk by the Spirit. The problem is that spiritual warfare rages in our lives, and we always have a choice to make: will we choose to walk by the Spirit, or will we submit to the flesh?
When tempted to submit to the flesh, we need to recognize and admit that we are being tempted to sin. It helps to name the particular sin in order to combat that particular temptation with God’s Word.
Because we have been set free in Christ, we do not need to hide our sin in darkness. If we have a secret that we are keeping that no one knows about—particularly regarding our flesh signature, the sin we struggle with the most—we are in danger. We need to bring all our sin to God. Having an accountability partner also helps because they can aid us in resisting temptation and bringing our sin into the light. They can remind us that we are no longer under the power of sin but have been set free.
Walk by the Spirit
When we resist temptation, we are choosing to walk by the Spirit and live out out of our freedom in Christ. If there are any sins that particularly tempt you—your flesh signatures—it is wise to acknowledge them and prepare to resist them. After all, if you do not prepare, they will catch you off guard again and again.
For my own flesh signatures, I wrote out four words beginning with “G” that remind me to combat temptation with God’s truth:
- Temptation Toward Anger: Gratitude (I cannot be angry and grateful at the same time)
- Temptation to Seek Revenge: Grace (God gave me grace, not justice, when He saved me)
- Sexual Temptation: Glory (others are not objects but divine image-bearers)
- Temptation to Covet: Goodness (God has given me what He knows I need)
Try writing out your own flesh signatures and as well as the truth that combats them. The prayerful pursuit of humility as you acknowledge these sins will aid you as you seek to walk by the Spirit.
Want to go deeper? Ken Boa bases this study on the revised edition of Conformed to His Image, a comprehensive book on what it means to grow in Christlikeness. For the full experience, purchase the study guide and accompanying video series.
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