“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:45, NIV
Pressures of the past year have triggered society’s best and worst behaviors. During the evening news, reporters share ways communities have united to make a positive impact. Yet, in a moment’s notice they switch stories to describe heinous crimes committed by mankind. How can one person exude beautiful qualities and another wickedness? The answer comes when we realize that people do not develop their behaviors overnight. Our behaviors are birthed from desires that are stored within the heart.
A number of desires lie within our hearts – righteous and unrighteous, some active, others dormant. To better understand our desires, let’s read Galatians 5:19-23 (NLT) together:
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
There are two sources of desire: our flesh and the Holy Spirit. Our flesh longs for instant gratification without consequence. It is our “sinful nature” (Galatians 5:19). On the other hand, the Holy Spirit leads us into “the way, the truth, and the life” of Jesus Christ (John 14:6). He reminds us of the teachings of Jesus. Our flesh causes us to sin, but the Holy Spirit always inspires us to live righteously. As Christian women, we must examine the desires stored in our hearts, judge whether they are fleshly or Spirit-driven, and then either cultivate or uproot them.
Cultivate every desire that the Holy Spirit gives you! Cultivate love by encouraging a friend that’s facing hardship. Cultivate goodness by serving your community. Cultivate faith by choosing to believe in the promises of God even when life isn’t panning out the way you imagined. Ask God how you can cultivate your Spirit-driven desires during the week. He will open opportunities for you to exercise the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
There’s a tug of war taking place between our flesh and the Holy Spirit. Some days it’s easy to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, but on others we rush to satisfy our flesh. Temptation is real. In our own strength, we cannot uproot our fleshly desires. We need God’s help!
Start by surrendering to God. In prayer, confess every fleshly desire and ask God to forgive you of your sins. Then petition Him to transform your heart. God is faithful to uproot your fleshly desires and fill you with the Holy Spirit. This way you will be willing to obey and honor God. There’s no time stamp on this process nor a guarantee that it will be easy. Thankfully, God will be with you every step of the way, providing His grace to bring you through.
Pray this scripture from Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV): “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” In Jesus name, Amen.
When you trust God to manage the desires of your heart, He will enable you to bring forth good things!
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