It is crucial for us as believers to recognize the war against our souls. The enemy is more personal than we tend to realize and more publicly encouraged than we often recognize. Being conscious of it and entering the battle is one of the first steps to living in the Spirit. The following is a short clip from a sermon called, How to Live in the Spirit, which lays out five encouragements to live in the Spirit. Encouragement number one addresses the war against our souls. Below the video, you will find the transcript with minor edits for reading and to fill in context.
Encouragement number one. The first thing we need to know is that we owe our sinful nature nothing. Look at Romans 8:12. “So then, brothers, we are debtors and not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” Here is what you need to know and what I need to know. Our sinful desires are not working to fulfill us. They are not desires with ends to make us happy. These desires are warring against our souls, as 1 Peter 2:11 tells us.
It is our sin that is speaking to us when we think, “If I deny these desires, I will be failing to live life to the fullest.” It is the sin in others that tell us that if we do not live in these desires that, we will miss out on true happiness. It’s all lies.
This has grown so bad in our culture that we now call some sinful desires “identities,” and if you do not live out your identity, you are stifling yourself. And if you as a believer call someone else’s identity, which is really just their sinful desires, sin, you are a bigot, and you are holding people back. All of it is lies.
You owe nothing to the sinful nature. What has sin ever given you? It may have given you minutes of pleasure, but it can give us years of shame. It has given us pain, regret, and in all our trying to appease it, we are still unfulfilled. We have nights of anxiety. John Owen said it best. “You cannot satisfy sin by sinning.” You are only feeding it.
You will never be satisfied in sin. We have spent enough time serving sin. It has never fulfilled us. Oh, and also, it leads to death. Look at Romans 8:13. “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. That is not talking about the mortal death of the body. That is talking about the second death, an eternity in hell.
On top of that, if you go back to Romans 8:6, it says, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death.” Not only does sin lead to the second death. It is death. You are already spiritually dead if you are living to serve the flesh.
We are not debtors to the sinful nature. We are debtors to the Spirit who has set us free. Set your mind on the Spirit instead. That is the first encouragement to live in the Spirit. Do not listen to the lies of the sinful nature. They are warring against your soul.