30 • Walking with God
God wants us to live our lives with Him. God’s Book says that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the desires of our sinful nature (Galatians 5:16). We must realize that we have three main enemies who will try to keep us from walking with God, the Holy Spirit. These are the devil and his angels (Ephesians 6:12), the world (sinful people and the world system of this age), and our own sinful desires (1 John 2:16). Some of their attacks on our lives can be summed up by the word ‘temptation’. Temptation comes to us in many forms. The world, Satan and our sinful desires try to keep us from walking with God by tempting us into sinning against God (1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:13-15). All sin is against God. When we give in to temptation and sin, the Holy Spirit is grieved (Ephesians 4:30). That means we make God sad when we give in to our sinful desires. We ought to remember that God the Holy Spirit is a Person.
There is a constant battle between the desires of the Holy Spirit for our lives and what our sinful nature desires (Galatians 5:17). Although God saves His children by granting them faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9) and giving them a new nature (Ezekiel 36:26, 27), they still have a war to fight. Our tendency to sin will never go away in this life (Romans 7:13-25). It is part of the fallen nature we inherited from Adam when he sinned. David said in Psalm 51:6: ‘Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me.’ Only when we leave this world and exchange our natural bodies for glorified bodies (Philippians 3:21) will we be free from temptation. 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22 says, ‘For since by man came death, so by Man came also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive.’
The way to win the war between good and evil in this world is akin to two dogs that need to get food in order to survive. The one is an evil dog, and the other the good dog. If you want the good dog to win, feed him. If you want the bad dog to lose, starve him! Philippians 4:8-9 states: ‘Everything that is good and right and just and noble and true and praiseworthy and lovely and of good report, think on those things and the peace of God will be with you.’ In other words, to win the war you must set your mind on heavenly and good things (Colossians 3:2). The Bible also teaches us to flee certain temptations. Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:22, writes that we should flee youthful lusts. And if you do sin, run to Jesus and confess your sin. 1 John 1:9 states: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to forgive us our trespasses.’
Walking with Jesus can also be compared to a marathon runner who must compete in a race according to specific rules (2 Timothy 2:3-5; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). He trains himself for months, abstains from certain foods and follows a strict discipline in order to win the race. So the Bible tells us to run the race of faith with endurance, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despised the shame of it and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, ruling in power (Hebrews 12:1, 2).
Reality to consider: We have a Mediator in heaven Who prays for us 24/7 (24 hours a day, seven days a week) 365 days of the year (Hebrews 7:25). If we sin, Jesus is our Advocate to state our case before the Father and to forgive our sins (1 John 2:1, 2). Jesus is the only One Who can do this because He was tempted in all ways, yet remained without sin (Hebrew 4:15, 16). His Divinity and finished work on the cross ensure ultimate victory over temptation.
Read: Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 6:12; 1 John 2:16; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:13-15; Ephesians 4:30; Galatians 5:17; Ephesians 2:8,9; Ezekiel 36:26,27; Romans 7:13-25; Psalm 51:6; Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Philippians 4:8,9; Colossians 3:2; Timothy 2:22; 1 John 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:3-5; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrews 12:1,2; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1,2; Hebrews 4:15,16.