“ For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Galatians 5:1 ESV

This greedy little squirrel and my husband are engaged in a conflict. Every morning John fills the bird feeder and scatters sunflower seeds across the deck for birds that prefer to eat it there. This squirrel not only gobbles up the seeds on the deck but also climbs up the pole into the bird feeder and eats the seeds in it.

John keeps chasing him out but he persistently returns. I’m amazed at how many times this happens in one day. It reminds me of another conflict–the conflict Paul speaks about in the book of Galatians. Here, the conflict is between the desires of God’s Spirit and the desires of the flesh.

In this context, the word “flesh” refers to the sin nature passed down from Adam to every human, not to our physical bodies. Our struggle with the flesh continues throughout life. It’s through grace, not law, that we win this battle. As usual, I think my poem conveys this truth better than these preceding paragraphs.

 When we embrace law 
 Instead of grace,
 Life is not easy;
 There’s no smile on our face.
 We get stuck in our structure
 And fight with each other.
 Feeling “right” in our ways,
 We wrongly appraise
 Our status and worth—
 Thinking it’s based on our work,
 Our wealth or position;
 What God wants is contrition—
 A heart that is humble,
 Repentant and thankful,
 A heart of submission 
 Instead of ambition;
 A spirit that’s willing
 To follow his calling,
 Unafraid of the pressure
 That this might engender,
 From family and friends—
 To whom this change makes no sense.
 Let us not fear it!
 For life in the Spirit
 Brings great freedom and joy, 
 Peace that no one can destroy,
 Strength and contentment
 ‘Cause Jesus is present!
 What hope this engenders.
 What strength it inspires.
 What wonderful knowledge.
 He shatters all bondage!
 Let us never despair
 But with praise fill the air;
 He sees our need and answers our prayer.
 We, his children, are safe in his care. 
 Jane Ault 

6 Responses

  1. Thank you , Jane – for explaining that the flesh is sin. You show me how to see things more clearly. For that I am grateful

    1. Thank you, Genie, for letting me know my words were helpful. I feel grateful to God because he is the one who gives me clarity, as I write.

  2. Jane, I appreciate the way you make the truth of God’s Word come alive through your poems. You are a woman of grace and compassion, and the light of Christ shines brightly in and through you! Thank you for continuing to share your gift with the world.

    1. Laurell, thank you for your encouragement. I feel very grateful for to God for giving me the ability to put the truth of his Word in poetic form. It’s often a reflection of what the Holy Spirit is teaching me.

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