“What’s going on? The map is showing a right turn, but she’s saying ’Turn left!’ What on earth do I do?”
“It looks like Waze may be talking, and your Apple Car Play maps may be showing a different direction.” My trusted sidekick and traveling companion Carmen – Thelma to my Louise, Lucy to my Ethyl – had discovered the problem. Two GPS programs giving me conflicting directions!
I stopped in the middle of the road. I needed a moment to figure things out.
“Ellen! You can’t just stop in the middle of the road!”
And in that instant, I decided to make a U turn, hoping and praying I was going in the right direction. Disclaimer: there was no traffic on the road, and no humans or animals were harmed during this maneuver. Unless you count the mental anguish that I caused Carmen in that moment!
As Christians, we also have dual GPS systems working in our lives. It’s our flesh versus the Holy Spirit of Jesus. I’m sure you’ve fought this battle a time or two. We all have.
We have dual GPS systems working in our lives: Flesh vs Spirit
“For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.” Galatians 5:17 CSB
Imagine those two little people (the ones we always see in the movies), one on each shoulder, arguing against each other all the time. They fight constantly and are polar opposites. There is always conflict and tension.
“Why are you telling her to do that? This is easier and more fun. Do this instead!”
I don’t know about y’all, but often times I tend toward the path of least resistance. I mean, what’s easier: grabbing a hand full of chips or prepping some veggies for a snack?
(Eat the chips! No, grab the carrots and broccoli!)
How about vegging out on the couch to another episode of Home Town (my favorite people!), versus going for a walk?
(Home Town, Home Town, Home Town)
And what about praying for that politician we don’t agree with and don’t like?
(Ok, we know the right answer, but we don’t always do it!)
Which voice is screaming loudest? Probably the one we want to hear, right?
But which voice should we listen to? The one that will take us in the right direction, the direction we know we need to go? Or the one that will lead us the wrong way, where eventually we must make a U turn?
It’s a battle, for sure. Warren Wiersbe says “If the Holy Spirit controls the body, then we walk in the Spirit; but if the flesh controls the body, then we walk in the lusts (desires) of the flesh. The Spirit and the flesh have different appetites, and this is what creates the conflict.”1
Scripture tells us how to win this battle in the verses before and after Galatians 5:17.
“…walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 CSB
“…if you are led by the Spirit…” Galatians 5:18 CSB
The verb “walk” in verse sixteen is an imperative, which means it is a command. God commands us to walk in and be led by the Spirit.
Yep, I get it. A command of God, which means I gotta do this to be obedient. And I want to be obedient!!
With practice. We need to habitually listen for and walk in the power of Holy Spirit. Be in God’s Word. Pray and pray some more.
By yielding. To yield means to surrender or relinquish to the control of another; to surrender or submit (oneself) to another. When we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit and His guidance in our lives, we have resurrection power that will enable us to defeat the battle of our flesh.
You know all those marvelous traffic circles popping up everywhere? Many people down here in south Louisiana need to practice yielding. When we yield in the correct way, traffic flows smoothly. We we don’t, what a mess!
To walk in Holy Spirit power, we need to practice being responsive to and guided by the Spirit. We need to make the choice to daily feed His Spirit more than we do our flesh. Our flesh will pull us toward things that will drain the life right out of us.
What this means is, every time we hear that pesky little voice leading us in the wrong direction, we need to make a U turn and follow Holy Spirit’s leading. Plus, we need to continue doing this each and every day, until His voice becomes the only GPS we hear.
- Is there too much noise in your life right now? How many voices are screaming for your attention?
- How can you practice being sensitive to Holy Spirit leading in your life?
Grace be with you,
1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 718). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.