Galatians 5:16 But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.
Here we have the formula for success in the Christian life and walk: Live by the Spirit and you won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh.
Nothing could be more simply stated than this; yet the struggles to not sin in the Christian life are tremendous–and for some, seemingly insurmountable.
The problem is that too many of us spend our time trying to NOT sin. This will only yield weak and temporary results at best. Following this method usually ends as an exercise in futility.
One of the main reasons this occurs is called the Law of Focus: what you focus on is what you get.
When you go on a diet, and you decide (for instance) that you will not eat banana splits anymore, it seems that the opportunity for a banana split is everywhere more accessible than ever. Just like when you buy a new car–all of a sudden, you see the same car on the highway in numbers you had never noticed before. It’s the Law of Focus. You will eventually cave in and eat that banana split you were so determined to avoid.
Safety courses in driving teach the same thing, especially when in dangerous situations. Do not look at the thing you want to avoid, because you will most likely hit it. Look, rather at where you want to go. (Does that not remind you of Hebrews 12:2—Looking unto Jesus?)
The exact same thing is true with sin–whatever its particular appearance may be in our life. Trying to not sin, to avoid committing that particular sin, almost always ends in failure at some point. Then we must throw ourselves on the mercy of God yet again.
Thank God for His mercy. Without it, we would all be totally lost and undone without remedy.
But, there is a better way. And Paul tells us what it is in this verse from Galatians.
Utilizing the Law of Focus, let us decide to live by the Spirit. Make that your ambition, your matter of prayer for help in time of need.
The one whose focus is on living in, with, by, through, and for the Spirit will find himself doing the will of God more easily and readily than the one who is trying to avoid offending the Lord.
Ephesians 5:10 tells us that we should be trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord–not trying to learn what offends Him.
If you can see this Law of Focus as it applies to pleasing the Lord, and begin to apply it on a moment-by-moment basis, your life will change dramatically for the better.
Try it. You’ll like it.