Secrets of self-control (7)
Depend on Christ’s power to help you. ‘Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.’ The sequence in this Scripture is very important. ‘Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives’ – that’s the first part – ‘then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.’ Notice that it doesn’t say we won’t have those desires. Spirit-filled people still experience the desires of the flesh. The difference is that they won’t satisfy them. We usually get the sequence backwards. We might say, ‘I’m not good enough to have God’s Spirit in my life. Once I get my act together, then I’m going to let the Holy Spirit control my life.’ God doesn’t say, ‘Get your act together and then I will help you.’ He says, ‘Let my Holy Spirit control you while you’re still struggling with the problem. I will help you change.’ The sequence makes all the difference. If we’re feeling ill, we wouldn’t say, ‘I’m going to get well first, then I’m going to go see the doctor.’ We need Christ in our lives now, because He has the power to help us change. Often, sinful things are fun, exciting, or enjoyable. None of us would be tempted by ungodly things if they made us miserable. But what God can help us to do is overcome its appeal, and help us replace it with cravings for Him instead. ‘For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him’ (Philippians 2:13 NLT).
Next time you feel yourself being tempted, immediately ask God to fill that desire with a desire for His presence instead.