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Psychological Child Abuse: Raising Children as “Theybies”

The latest attempt at normalizing the popular idea of gender fluidity comes from a large group of parents in the U.S. who believe in raising their children as “theybies.” NBC recently published an article documenting what several couples are doing to shield their children from gender stereotypes: concealing their biological sex. These couples represent a growing number of parents who are bringing their children up without gender designation. Children should get to decide their own gender when they get ready, they argue, so the use of pronouns he, she, him, or her, are totally avoided. To ensure kids have complete freedom to decide what gender they want to be, their biological gender is hidden from the children and from everyone else. Parents who propose this are calling their children “theybies,” since they refer to their children using only gender-neutral pronouns such as, “they, them, and their.” Experts say this could prevent a number of problems seen in children (and adults) today, although they admit there is no existing scientific research conducted on the result of raising children this way. The experts claim that this way of raising children could prevent “gender dysphoria,” which is when a person feels that their gender doesn’t align with their assigned sex at birth. It reassures children that there is “more than one way to be a boy or a girl.” These parents readily admit that this approach to parenting is not easy or comfortable “in a gendered world.” Not everyone understands the reasoning behind the decision to keep their children’s biological gender hidden. The couples in the article explain several confrontations which have been awkward and even offending, simply because people do not understand their intentions. Modern-day society has not yet evolved into gender-nonconformity, they say, but they are willing to make whatever sacrifices necessary to defend their children from gender stereotypes for as long as possible. Society is the problem—it hasn’t progressed to the point where it needs to be regarding gender fluidity. Until society does, these parents will raise their children as “theybies,” without gender designation.

This movement and the ideology behind it is detrimental to the upbringing of children and extremely troubling, to say the least. Let’s start at the beginning with the ideology. The idea of gender fluidity is completely subjective, grounded in neither science nor biology—only in personal experience. Scientific or biological proof for gender fluidity is totally nonexistent. When an individual feels they should be a different gender than that which was assigned at birth—that’s all it is—a feeling. Thus, advocating that children should decide their gender on the basis of its fluidity (and because it is a part of the human process, as they argue), is misplaced and flawed from the start. Gender is assigned biologically—you are either male or female. This is something which the Christian worldview affirms (Gen. 1:27; 5:2) and recognizing the immutability of gender is crucial to how we relate to one another and contribute to society. This is especially important for children to understand—the truth should not be concealed from them. They need to understand the way the biological world works, especially given their developing minds.

Moreover, the whole concept of gender fluidity and identity is assuming too much about the mental capability of children. Children don’t make life decisions, much less the decision of what gender they want to be (which apparently happens at age 4, the proponents argue). If children believe that gender is fluid, they are suspect to change their genders multiple times throughout the course of their childhood. As children, how many times did we change our career interest, for example? Some of us wanted to be astronauts or firefighters, later changing our interests to photography or geology. And now the majority of us are pursuing none of those fields. The point is this: children are subject to change frequently throughout the course of their upbringing. Therefore, they do not have the comprehension to make the significant decision of gender identity (regardless of how irrational gender fluidity is).

Additionally, consider the practical inconsistency and the overkill of raising children without gender designation. This approach to parenting is practically inconsistent—parents know that a child’s freedom should be limited. No parent allows their child to decide for themselves what time they will go to bed, and no parent allows their child to eat junk food all day long. If you wouldn’t allow children total freedom in those insignificant areas, why would you allow them freedom in a significant area such as their biology? This proposed solution to preventing gender stereotypes is just plainly overkill—it is extremely disproportional to the problem. Complete annihilation of gender-specific pronouns is taking things too far. There is a plethora of other (and better) ways to ensure that children are not “pigeonholed into gender stereotypes.” Let boys have tea parties with their sisters and take your daughters fishing. But don’t obliterate empirical and biological truth.

This entire ideology and its proposed application is disturbing because, in it, you can see that the ripple effects of the sexual revolution in America have arrived at the most crucial and vulnerable area of human life: child development. As our culture has “progressively” abandoned sexual morality, they have also abandoned sexual reality. All of this arises from the idea of a secular nation—a nation free of objective morality—the morality which comes exclusively from a Christian worldview. Unfortunately, the influence of secularism has made its way to vulnerable children.

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What Does the Bible Say About Being Born Gay?

This is an issue that affects all of us whether we like it or not. Born-again believers all over this country have been greatly impacted by the issue of homosexuality on at least three levels: on a cultural level, on an ecclesiastical level, and on a personal level. Culturally, it is not difficult to see its impact. Three years ago this month, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage be legalized and recognized in all 50 states. With enough liberal pressure, the justices ruled that the fundamental right to marry was guaranteed to same-sex couples. That event was a major milestone for the LGBTQ community, and it only fueled their fervent vigor for equality and acceptance. Although that particular day was of significant impact, it was not the first time the LGBTQ community has made waves. You may recall the Supreme Court case involving Masterpiece Cakeshop, for example. Thankfully the SCOTUS sided with him in that case but nonetheless, the majority of the LGBTQ community rallied against him. There are dozens of other similar examples of this. Although the LGBTQ community is an extreme minority, our culture promotes and accepts their lifestyle and views as though heterosexuality were the minority.

The issue also affects us on an ecclesiastical level. Many contemporary churches have changed their views on the issue and crumbled underneath the weight of liberalism. Countless prominent “Christian” leaders, authors, and musicians have broken with the hard-line position against homosexuality and gay marriage. Several books have been written by “pastors” and “theologians” defending the LGBTQ lifestyle and movement. Additionally, churches have been forced to confront the issue biblically and deal with the consequences.

And finally, the issue affects all of us on a personal level. This issue comes close to home for a lot of us. Most of us know at least one person in the LGBTQ community, whether they are family, friends, or just acquaintances.

The LGBTQ issue affects us all because it has had such great influence. And there are several reasons why the LGBTQ movement has had great influence. But for the sake of time and to prevent distraction, I won’t examine and review all of those reasons right now. But one of the main reasons this sexual revolution has gained such a following and has had powerful influence is due to the belief that your sexual orientation is entirely dependent on your genetic makeup. In other words, if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, you were born that way. All of us have heard that argument before. The argument follows that, if you are born that way, then it cannot be wrong and you cannot help it. If someone can be born gay, then a fair society could not possibly condemn him or her as being unnatural or immoral.

LGBTQ activists, the liberal media, and several scientists and researchers have actively encouraged the idea that sexuality (other than heterosexuality) is genetic, inherited, and therefore unchangeable. This idea has been proposed for many years and people have vehemently sought scientific evidence to back up the idea that one can be born gay. 

Of course, this claim is not biblical in any sense. But it is also logically inconsistent and the scientific “evidence” is incoherent (we will see why in a moment). Additionally, some have sought to counter this claim by saying that you are not born that way, but that it is a choice. Some say that such a lifestyle is a choice and has nothing to do with your birth. Well, that isn’t a sufficient rebuttal. Presenting only those two options in this debate creates the problem of a false dichotomy. Saying, “You are either born that way or it is a choice,” basically says its either/or and it leaves no room for another option which might explain it better. That would be like someone saying to me, “Are you stupid or just ignorant?” That is saying that those are the only two possible options. There is no option available where I could be smart.

But what does the Bible say about being born gay? Does it teach this? Does it teach something else? Is it a choice? Why are people with atypical sexual orientations the way that they are? Well, we will not go through the entire Bible on this subject, we will only focus on the subject of the origin of a such a sexuality. Let’s consider the answer in five parts.

First, what does the Bible say? The Bible says that all persons are born into this world with a natural inclination towards sin (Gen. 8:21; Job 15:14; Psalm 14:2-3; 51:5; 58:3; Prov. 22:15; Eccl. 9:3; Jer. 17:9; Romans 1:24-32; 5:12-14; Eph. 2:1-3). That is, we are bent towards committing sin. From the moment we are born, our desire and appetite is for sin and our hatred is for God. We will always choose evil over good. We are born with this inclination because of the entrance, curse, and corruption of sin since the Fall. Consider the words of Paul about human nature in Romans 1 and 5. In Romans 1, he teaches that our nature has been radically corrupted and we are born into the world with that corrupted nature. In Romans 5, Paul explains how this came to be. He says that through one man’s disobedience we all became sinners. Speaking of Adam, Paul explains that we are Adam’s children when we are born into the world. From birth we act like Adam – we sin like Adam. Over in the Old Testament, David states that it was in sin he was conceived (Psalm 51:5). And in Psalm 58 he states that the wicked are estranged from birth (58:3). There are statements like this in every book of the Bible, statements which describe our corrupted nature as sinners. And the thing about those statements is that they imply we are corrupted since birth. We do not become corrupted post-birth. We are corrupted from the very genesis of our existence!

Just because we are born sinners doesn’t make us morally exempt, it doesn’t mean we won’t be held responsible, and it doesn’t make it God’s fault. It also doesn’t mean that people are born with an inclination towards specific sins or immoral lifestyles, either. The Bible doesn’t say that we are born in specific sins, only that we are born in sin. We will inevitably commit specific sins, but we are not bound to one sin over another – we are simply bound to sin (in a general sense). Obviously we will yield ourselves to all sorts of specific sins and immoral lifestyles, but that is not where our problem begins. Our problem begins with having a corrupted and sinful nature. So then, according to Scripture, people are not born gay, people are born sinners. You are not born gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or something else. People are born sinners and because of the internal and external influence of sin, some will be more inclined towards sexual immorality. Even if you were born with tendencies towards sexual immorality, that doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean you should act on it. A person may have a greater susceptibility to homosexuality because of the internal and external influence of sin. Because of the desires of his corrupted heart, or the influence of his environment, or the temptations of the world.

Second, there are logical problems with the claim that people are born gay. It is logically problematic to claim that you are born gay. Of course, the reason for such a claim is to suggest that one must not be responsible for his or her homosexuality since it was a part of them since birth. There’s a serious problem in the implication of that claim. The implication is that you are morally exempt on the basis of genetics. In other words, it must not be wrong if it’s a part of who you are from birth. But genetics do not trump morality. If I have a genetic tendency to be an alcoholic, that doesn’t make it morally acceptable. Also, no one would consider it morally acceptable for a person to be extremely perverse or violent even if they did have a genetic disposition to do so. Even if you are born with a predisposition towards something, that doesn’t make it right. Genetic makeup does not nullify moral responsibility. If Scripture says it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Even if you were born that way doesn’t change the Bible’s teaching or objective morality.

Furthermore, the claim that you are born gay is also logically inconsistent. If you begin to apply that claim to other areas, it becomes easily recognizable that it doesn’t hold up. For example, if it is true that you are born gay, then how do you explain twins who have different sexual preferences? Their genetics are all the same, so why does one turn out gay and another turn out straight? Since they have identical genetics, they should always share the same sexual preference, according to those who make this claim. In other words, if you are born gay because of your genetics, then those twins should either both be heterosexual or homosexual. There is no room for one to be straight and another to be gay. They either have to both be straight or both be gay if their genetics are identical. And you can easily see that this is a problem. One may turn out heterosexual and the other not.

Another way to see the logical inconsistency of this claim is to apply it to other predispositions. What if a person is born with a genetic disposition towards the hatred of homosexuals? If it is a part of their genetics, it cannot be wrong, based on their claim. If genetics solely determine sexual preference, then there can be no sexuality which is wrong. Being sexually attracted to monkeys, family members, or even children should therefore be just as morally acceptable. Obviously same-sex attraction (or anything other than heterosexuality) is not in the same category as those examples – the point is, when you begin to apply that claim to other sexual desires, it crumbles. And if the claim applies only to same-sex attraction, then it is logically inconsistent and even biased. 

Third, the scientific “proof” is incoherent and inconclusive. No matter how much research you conduct, there is no scientific proof for such a thing as a “gay gene.” There is no genetic evidence that people are born gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The studies that have been done are extremely surface-level observations, and not actual chemical-developmental studies. The studies they have done are on adults, who have lived homosexual lifestyles for a long period of time. Researchers think that it is some profound discovery that homosexuals have homosexual desires. The only way to get accurate proof would be to study a developing child in the womb and none have done so (because it’s inhumane and impossible). In one of the most massive studies of gay individuals, the leading researcher admitted that even if such genes were found, they would have a very small effect and being gay would depend largely on environment. How is that conclusive proof? Other researchers state that if one has the so-called “gay gene,” it doesn’t even guarantee he will have homosexual tendencies. If it only increases their chances, but doesn’t guarantee anything, then how is that conclusive proof? The claim that you are born gay also introduces problems for the theory of evolution. For the naturalists conducting these studies, who firmly believe in evolution, how is same-sex attraction beneficial for human survival? If it is part of genetic makeup, it is either a problem from which we have not evolved, or it is something our species has evolved into for its own good. That stings either way you go. If it’s a genetic problem, then it is our duty to find solutions to fix it. If it’s a genetic good, then you would have to explain how non-reproduction helps the survival of the human race. 

Fourth, saying that it is a choice doesn’t exactly resolve the issue. Something else to consider is that being homosexual is not as simple as a decisive conscious choice. There are conscious choices involved, most certainly. But there is clearly not just one decisive choice. There is always a conscious choice involved when you act on your sin, but it is not as though a person decides on a particular date in time that they will become homosexual. There is no decisive moment in a person’s life when they become gay. One simply has a pattern of giving in to the sin of sexual immorality and the longer that pattern continues, that person becomes characterized by the sin they commit. A person who lies compulsively does not make an appointment to become a liar. They become a liar through the continual act of lying. There were conscious choices made in their telling of lies, but there was no one-time decisive choice whereby they became a liar at that very moment.

Fifth and finally, how should Christians approach the issue? We are often mistaken in thinking that heterosexuality is the answer to this issue, but it is not. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer because it is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). We need to be a friend to anyone in the LGBTQ community, and we need to love them. Admittedly, it is far easier to sit in the judge’s bench when it comes to this issue. And it is far more difficult to express sincere love and concern. But we must avoid critical, overbearing, and unloving judgment, and we must pursue loving such individuals. Of course, part of the way we love them is telling them the truth. We must tell them the truth about their spiritual condition, the truth about God’s holiness and wrath, and the truth about Jesus Christ and His accomplished work. We don’t have to try to change them, the gospel will do that (1 Cor. 6:11).

Those who believe they are true Christians while practicing and condoning homosexuality must be evangelized with the gospel as well, since they demonstrate unbelief by their actions (1 John 3:4-10). There’s a difference between struggling with it in order to overcome, and approving, condoning, or proposing it (Rom. 1:32). A person truly saved will make a decisive break with that behavior though he may still struggle with it. On the other hand, a person who is unrepentant is unsaved.

So, what does the Bible say about being born gay? All persons are born with a natural inclination towards sin, but this doesn’t make sin right or God’s fault. And persons are not born into specific sinful lifestyles, and even if they were, it doesn’t make it right. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to support such a claim.

What Does the Bible Say? is a question and answer series which seeks biblical answers to pressing questions.

26219980_2002699353334045_1898487006197556984_n.jpgBrandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with free Christian resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their dog, Susie.

What Does the Bible Say About Sickness Being a Result of Sin?

You’ve been sick before – I guarantee it. You might be sick right now. I’m sure your loved ones have had their share of sickness as well. You probably have loved ones who have suffered or passed away from sicknesses and disease, or there might be someone you love who is currently sick. But what does the Bible say about sickness? More specifically, what does the Bible say about sickness being a result of sin? Let’s found out.

First, let us define sickness. For the purposes of this post, we will use the word sickness in a general and broad sense to describe any state or instance of being ill. Sickness can mean being in the state or condition of illness. That could be having a cold, the Flu, cancer, HIV/AIDS, or anything else that is abnormal for a healthy human being. But sickness can also mean instances of sudden ailments such as having a stroke, a heart attack, or anything other event that would not be normal for a healthy human being. Sickness is real and both Scripture and experience confirm this. I state that because there is a “Christian” group which has existed for many years who believe and teach that sickness is not real, but an illusion. The proponents and adherents of Christian Science believe such, and that belief is demonstrably false and destructive.¹

Second, in a sense, all sickness is a result of sin. The question concerns whether or not sickness can be a result of sin, and in a sense, all sickness is a result of sin. That is, all sickness is a result of sin’s effect. The reason for the existence of pain, sorrow, ailments, sickness and even death is because of the effect of sin on the universe. When sin entered the world in Genesis 3, the world became cursed and corrupted. Therefore, anytime you have sickness (of any kind), it is because we live in a fallen and corrupted world which is awaiting its renewal (Romans 8:19-21). One day the world will be made new and there won’t be any sickness at all (Rev. 21:4; 22:3), but as long as we live in a world cursed and corrupted by sin, there will be sickness. Most of the sickness we experience is merely a result of sin’s curse, because our bodies are fallen. Sickness occurs most often not because God is punishing or disciplining us, but because of the condition and world in which we live.

Third, some sickness is the direct result of sin. It is a possibility that sickness comes as a result of having committed sin. Unfortunately, there are some old fashioned fundamentalists who believe that every time you get sick is because you’ve sinned against the Lord, but the Scripture simply doesn’t teach this. It does teach that sometimes sickness can be a result of sin in our lives. Sickness can be the result of committed sin in three ways: 1) Sickness can be the following consequence of committed sin, 2) sickness can be the way God disciplines you when sin is committed, or 3) sickness can be what God uses as a means of judgment. Let’s talk about each of these individually.

  1. Sickness can be the consequence of having committed sin. By this I mean that some people get sick as a consequence of their actions. It doesn’t necessarily mean the Lord is punishing or disciplining them, it’s just reality taking place. Someone who gets blackout drunk cannot expect to be healthy and well the next morning! Or if you constantly eat junk food you’re not going to be healthy. If you don’t take care of your body, you will succumb to sickness more often. Sometimes sickness is merely eating the fruit of your deeds. Fruit is a result of what is sown, and what kind of fruit you eat depends on what deeds you have sown. When you commit certain sins which will inevitably affect your health, you are the reason why sickness was brought upon you.
  2. Sickness can be the discipline of the Lord. Sickness is one of the most severe forms of God’s discipline of His children. Sometimes it’s the only thing that will get our attention. We have an example of this in Paul’s instructions about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11. The Corinthians were misunderstanding and abusing the Lord’s Supper, namely, observing it in an “unworthy manner” (v. 27). Because they wouldn’t stop doing so, Paul says, “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (v. 30). God disciplined the believers there through weakness, illness, and even death. Another example of this is found in Psalm 6, where David prays a prayer of repentance. Apparently, he had committed sin. He doesn’t say specifically what it was, but it was obvious he was suffering from it. And one of the ways he was suffering was physically. He expresses in the psalm symptoms of an illness, which he appears to say is the Lord’s discipline. In v. 1 he acknowledges that God is disciplining him, and he notes that his “bones are greatly troubled” (v. 2), and that he is “weary” and “weak” (vv. 6-7). Although he doesn’t specifically say that he was physically ill, he certainly was not physically well. As a form of discipline, God allowed for him to experience great pain and it was probably some form of illness. Clearly, God can use sickness as a severe form of discipline upon His children. For determining whether or not your sickness is God’s discipline, look to see if you have unrepentant sin in your life or a pattern of serious sin. The reason I say that is because sickness is usually one of the most severe forms of God’s discipline. If He’s already tried to get your attention through other means and you still haven’t repented, He may resort to a more severe method of discipline – sickness.
  3. Sickness can be the means of the judgment of God. Finally, sometimes sickness can be the way God executes judgment upon an individual or individuals. Let me clarify at this point: the words judgment and discipline are not the same. Judgment refers to God’s punishment of sinners, discipline refers to God’s fatherly discipline of His children. And sometimes God will use sickness as manifestation of His judgment on the nonbeliever. There are several examples of this in the Bible. One example is in Exodus, where God caused a plague of “festering boils” to come upon the Egyptians in an effort to free His people from slavery (Exodus 9:9). Granted, boils aren’t an illness like a cold or the Flu, but they are in the category of physical ailments like illness. Another example is in Daniel, where God smote king Nebuchadnezzar with mental illness, changing his mind into “the mind of an animal” (Daniel 4:16). The king completely lost his mind and began acting like an animal (v. 33). When God deems it necessary, He will use sickness and other physical ailments as means of judgment.

Sickness is real and it exists because of sin’s effect on the world. It may or may not be the result of committed sin. Sometimes sickness is circumstantial because of the world we live in. Sometimes it is consequential – the direct result of your actions. Sometimes it is God’s discipline, meant for your repentance. And sometimes it is the means which God chooses to use to execute His judgment.

There are two more important matters I want to note in passing. The first is a pressing question often asked when talking about the subject of sickness: why are some people healed of sickness and others are not? The overarching answer is simply this: it either was or wasn’t the will of God. If God wills something, it will occur. If God doesn’t will something, it will not occur. And whatever God wills will always be for His glory. So, healing may or may not be God’s will for an individual who is sick. Why sometimes it is His will and other times not, we cannot know for sure. It is certainly not because an individual didn’t have enough faith. Some proponents of the health, wealth, and prosperity “gospel,” say that the reason why Christians don’t experience healing is because they didn’t have enough faith – their faith was the reason God didn’t heal them. Such a teaching is man-centered, non-biblical, and false. For believers who are sick, there is great hope even if they don’t receive healing. God uses physical ailments for His glory (see the story of the blind man in John 9), and believers can cling to the promise that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Those who do not believe cannot hope in that promise, for they are not those who “love God,” and they are not “called according to his purpose.” The second thing worth noting here is the obligation that Christians have to care for those who are sick. Scripture tells us that we should visit the sick (Matthew 25:36) and pray for them (James 5:14). It reveals much about our love for the Lord and for the brethren when we fulfill those responsibilities.

What Does the Bible Say? is a question and answer series which seeks biblical answers to pressing questions.

  1. George Shaw Cook, “The Remedy for Illusion,” Christian Science Sentinel. www.sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/50tfglv60w (accessed June 16, 2018).

26219980_2002699353334045_1898487006197556984_n.jpgBrandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with free Christian resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife, Dakota live there with their dog, Susie.

QUESTION: What Does it Mean to Walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16)?

This question comes from Galatians 5:16 where the apostle Paul says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The idea in this verse is that if we will walk by the Spirit, we will overcome our sinful desires. So it is imperative that we discover what it truly means to walk by the Spirit. 

This term “walk” carries an interesting meaning. It was a Hebrew term that described one’s life, one’s conduct, or someone’s “walk of life.” This is repeated throughout the Old Testament in various passages like these:

“For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him” (Deut. 11:22).

“But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’” (Jeremiah 7:23)

This Hebraic term is used repeatedly in the Old Testament to picture one’s life. It’s another word for living or life. And life is a lot like walking isn’t it? Walking is something we learn to do. We are taught as a toddler how we are to walk. That’s how life is—it’s something we learn how to do. We learn how to interact with people, develop relationships, get jobs, have families, and so on.

Walking is also step-by-step. Life is a lot like that. It’s just one day at a time—one small step at a time. We learn one thing one day, and another the next. So we understand walking in the Scriptures as talking about our conduct, conducting one’s life, living step-by-step just like walking. So Paul tells the Galatians to live step-by-step “by the Spirit.”

Walking by the Spirit is a continuous, regular action. It is a habitual way of life. It is submitting every step of our daily lives to the Spirit’s control, so that He can move us forward in our Christian lives.

Now, already we live by the Spirit because He gives us new spiritual life. Everyone remembers what Jesus says to Nicodemus about this (John 3:3-6). Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be “born of the Spirit” in order to enter the kingdom of God. This is what happens at conversion. When we trust Jesus by faith and repent of our sins, the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual life. It is by the Spirit that we are born again. He takes what Jesus did on the cross and applies it to us—the Spirit gives us life. (Rom. 8:11)

So although we already live by the Spirit in this sense, then why are we commanded here to live by the Spirit (or walk by the Spirit)? Because there is action required of us. We take many “steps” every day. We make a choice whether or not we will pray and read the Bible in the morning. We make a choice to call other drivers something non-Christian. We make a choice to minister to someone or stay quiet and do nothing. We make a choice to fall into temptation or resist it by God’s power. Every step we take needs to be guided by the Spirit in this walk we call life.

There’s a wonderful result from walking by the Spirit. Paul attaches a wonderful promise onto this command saying that when we do walk in the Spirit, that if we will make the effort to walk by the Spirit, we “will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (v. 16b). There is no negotiating here. You will not gratify the desires of flesh if you are walking by the Spirit. These desires of our flesh are what remains of our sin nature. Yes Christ redeemed us, and yes we are new persons in Christ, but we are not entirely free from the presence and power of sin—and sin has power through our desires. The Bible says that the desires of our flesh are not from God, we should avoid them, and abstain from them because they wage war against our own souls (1 John 2:16; Rom. 13:14; 1 Pet. 2:11).

We will be fighting our old sin nature until the day we pass from this earth and are glorified with the Lord in His eternal presence. But until then, we are in a constant fight. The only way to overcome the desires of our flesh is to submit each step of our daily lives to the Spirit. To walk by the Spirit. This is ultimately the only way to overcome our sinful desires. There are no other solutions or ways. Often times we try to solve the problem of sin in our lives with the wrong solutions—trying harder, committing ourselves, saying to ourselves, “Never again will I sin in this or that way.” But the only sure solution to overcoming sin is by walking by the Spirit of God. The flesh cannot be tamed, it cannot be reformed, it cannot be trained, and it cannot be improved—but it can be overcome by walking by the Spirit.


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