Extreme Mind Makeover - the book on how to Overcome Sinful Habits and Glorify God with your LifeVictory over sinful habits that are hard to break - About the Book Extreme Mind Makeover About the book Extreme Mind Makeover - transforming sinful habits into patterns of life that please GodAbout Author & National Mens Speaker Steve EtnerOrder the book Extreme Mind Makeover and learn how to have victory over your sinful habits Recipe for Victory over Sinful Habits: Live by the Holy Spirit - Chapter 7 Extreme Mind Makeover

"Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature"
Galatians 5:16-17

As long as you live here on earth you're going to battle daily with your sinful flesh, there's just no way to get around it (Rom.7:15-25).  The great news is that although you will always struggle against the desires of the flesh, you do not have to be defeated by them.  God promises that when you "live by the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature [flesh]" (Gal. 5:16-17, adition mine).

Consider this carefully: to gain spiritual victory over the flesh, you need to live by the Spirit.  Ok, that sounds great, and we know it's true because God said it; but what does that mean?  How exactly does a Christian live by the Spirit?for Victory over your Sinful Habits: Live by the Holy Spirit - Chapter 7 of Extreme Mind Makeover

First, let's make sure we understand what living by the Spirit means.  The word "living" is defined as regulating or conducting your life according to a specific purpose and guide.  It is a term that refers to taking charge of your life in such a way that you are making constant decisions and adjustments throughout the day to conduct yourself according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  And how does the Holy Spirit lead you?  How do you know what the Spirit wants you to do?  He uses God's truth - the Scriptures - to guide you (John 16:13).  As you read God's Word, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it, the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance what God says you should do every time you face a decision.  Just as God promised the Children of Israel in Isaiah 30:21, so His promise stands for us today: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"  The Holy Spirit is that voice, guiding you through the promises and principles of God's Word.

Paul wrote this phrase, "live by the Spirit," in the present tense, active voice, and imperative mood.  By now you are somewhat familiar with these terms.  Present tense refers to a continuous, ongoing, regular action that is happening in real-time.  It is something that you need to do every moment of every day.  By using the present tense, Paul is telling us that every moment of every day you need to regulate your life; conducting yourself according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  As the Spirit reveals God's truth to you - showing you things you need to either do or stop doing - you immediately yield your life to Him and put that truth into action in your life.  This is living by the Spirit in the present tense.

The active voice means that this is something that you have to do.  No one else can do it for you.  It is personal.  If you don't do it, it won't get done.  Living every moment of every day under the direction of the Holy Spirit is something that only you can do.  Only you can hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He guides you into God's truth.  Only you can make the decision to yield to His will and apply God's truth immediately to your life.

Finally, the imperative mood means this isn't an option - it's a command.  We are commanded by God to conduct our everyday living according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  He commands it because He knows it is best for us.

Notice, as well, that the verb, "live by" (the King James Version renders it "walk by"), indicates forward movement.  In other words, you are going from where you are right now to where you ought to be.  We often call this "spiritual growth."  Only as you submit your life to the Spirit's control will you move forward - growing spiritually.  You see, step-by-step the Holy Spirit moves you from where you are to where God is leading you, where He wants you to be.  The Holy Spirit is your guide.  This is exactly why Paul said that when you live by the Spirit you will not gratify the sinful desires of the flesh.

The fact is, you cannot live the Christian life by your own strength and resources any more than you could save yourself for eternity ...

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