Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
When I started teaching in 1982, at Greenside High School, I could barely make ends meet but I’d been promised a salary increase and was looking forward to buying a car audio system. Then we had a staff meeting and the principal told us we wouldn’t be getting the increments we’d expected. Boy, was I upset. For months I’d been contemplating a drive down the freeway to the beat of Keith Green or Petra. Now it was just a pipe-dream.
A week later I was still fuming about how my rotten salary wasn’t even enough for a “basic necessity” like a sound system when one of my grade twelve students came up to chat with me. “Sir,” he began. “I notice your car doesn’t have a radio and tape deck.” “Everyone knows that!” I said somewhat sarcastically. “Well I was wondering if you’d like me to get you one Sir?” “Listen Sean. It’s good of you to offer but I don’t have any spare cash.” “Oh! But it wouldn’t cost much Sir. I can get you one for 10 percent of the price of a new system!” “What! That’s impossible! Where do you get them from?” “Well Sir, you probably don’t want to know the answer to your question but the bottom line is I can get you a really great system for next to nothing. So how about it?”
Needless to say it was a tempting offer. Obviously Sean was fencing stolen goods but I desperately wanted the system and for a few days I fought a tremendous inner conflict. It was a case of “the sinful nature (desiring) what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They (were) in conflict with each other” Galatians 5:17.
Now this was no small conflict. It raged on and on. It gave me restless nights and it was even worse when I drove past another car with music blaring out and the occupant singing along. But a few years previously I’d accepted Christ as my Saviour and now I was having to learn that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” Galatians 5:24. So because I was living “by the Spirit” I kept “in step with the Spirit” Galatians 5:25 and turned Sean’s offer down.
Similarly, when temptation comes your way “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” Galatians 5:16.