The Satisfaction Of Serving

Freedom in Christ is so hard for me.  On the one hand, I don’t want to go too far into sin and on the other hand, I don’t want to live as a slave to the law.  I don’t want to indulge my sinful nature, for as Galatians 2:20 (NIV) says, “I have been crucified with Christ…”  My sins have been forgiven and through the sacrifice of Jesus, I have been set free from the consequences of my sin.  Not only that, but I have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Christ’s very Spirit lives within me now and I, as Paul says in verse 16, must “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, NIV).  If I do that, I “will not gratify the desires” of my sinful nature (verse 16).  These two competing forces – God’s Spirit and my sinful nature – are in constant battle with one another.  I know the good I should be doing, but I don’t do it.  I know the wickedness I should be avoiding and yet it comes so naturally to me.  The habits and sins that I swear off each morning, dog me all day long.  The things I do, say and think are incompatible with the reality of the Spirit dwelling within me.  How I need His mercy and grace!
What does Paul say is the key to overcoming the sinful nature?  Love.  Loving one another as we love ourselves.  It is when we are so focused on ourselves that we indulge our sinful nature and we gratify the desires of our flesh.  There is no satisfaction in sin, only temporary gratification.  Then the guilt and shame set in as you realize what you’ve done.  Satisfaction comes from serving Christ by serving others.  If you want to be truly satisfied, you must serve God and others in love.

Galatians 5:13-18 (NIV)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.


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