Okay so, my struggle with sexual sin is ongoing and tends to obliterate all other things in my life. It’s as though the devil wants it to remain a stronghold so I am unable to actually spend time learning more about other things in my life and how the Holy Spirit can take control. However, I have made the decision to go back to the basics – communing and keeping a solid line of communication with God through the Holy Spirit that lives within me. And reading Galatians today simply confirmed this fact:
“Walk in the spirit and you shall not satisfy the lust of the flesh” – Gal 5:16
I was shocked at how simply it had been put. Like legit, that’s all that needs to be done. But then I had to break down what exactly ‘walking in the Spirit’ truly meant. Because I could already see myself closing up my bible and being like: ‘Okay, that’s it. God help me to walk by the Spirit. End of story and the next hour, I’m back to square one deciding whether or not to go on that pornographic site.’ So I needed to spend time, savouring his word the same way I do with the amazing meals I cook for myself (yup, #ChefTolz is not a myth ladies & gentlemen, LOL).
So I’m going to share all I learnt and wrote down in my journal concerning these few verses:
‘WALK IN THE SPIRIT AND YOU SHALL NOT SATISFY THE LUST OF THE FLESH’
A simple formula,
as easy as 1+1=2, as clear as day.
Your flesh failed you, your flesh disobeyed you
The Spirit calls you HOME
“Hold my hand” – He says, “Let’s solve this”
You don’t have to do it on your own.
The ‘flesh’ is simply put our bodies. All our thoughts, innermost desires, our souls, our heart lives within this vessel – the body. The body also lives in the world, there are currently 7.6 billion bodies interacting with and living in the different facets of our huge planet. Therefore, our bodies have to respond to where it lives. Historically, we have not always responded in the right way. Lust took over.
Now I always believed ‘Lust’ was solely associated to sexual activity BUT I’ve come to understand that ‘Lust’ actually means way more than that:
- A passionate or overmastering desire or craving
So essentially, lust can come in form of the strong desire for power as we’ve seen manifested through figures like Adolf Hitler during WWII and we all know how that turned out – I still get emails from the Holocaust Educational Trust encouraging me to not forget the atrocities and be part of a generation that ensures history does not repeat itself. ‘Lust’ has proven to be a highly detrimental force that obliterates everything in its way in the need to be dominant. But what’s so ironic about this phenomena that the Devil created (insert The Temptation of Eve and subsequently Adam..), is that it can only promise and achieve temporary/fleeting pleasure. So basics – IT IS A FRAUD!!!
Therefore, the flesh that tends to succumb to lustful desires will inevitably fail you.
‘FOR THE FLESH LUSTS AGAINST THE SPIRIT AND THE SPIRIT AGAINST THE FLESH, AND THESE ARE CONTRARY TO ONE ANOTHER, SO THAT YOU DO NOT DO THE THINGS THAT YOU WISH’
You do not do the things that you wish,
You seek pure bliss but instead are met with that poisonous Judas-kiss
Deceit personified, your flesh cannot be glorified
Because it fails, miserably
And only leads to a life of constant adversity,
Reading this verse immediately reminded me of an episode of Empire. Chill – let me explain fully. So in this episode, there was a powerful performance by an artist Andre had discovered who used his platform and rap persona as an opportunity to speak the Word of God. I remember the specific verse that had gained attention in that scene was Romans 7:18-19 which Andre referenced and led me to open up my bible to witness these fire, hugely relatable verses myself. You see, Paul was truly a G – just like us, with his own anxieties and doubts about the inability to do that which pleases God. Just gauge the situation:
18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
– Rom 7:18-19 NIV
I meaaaaan – #WHOCANRELATE (Let’s just all raise our hands in unison). Paul so intelligently captured the true problem a lot of us face and it’s so beautiful how it transcends every single time period and consistently remain relevant. It’s the old-age battle between the flesh and spirit. You want to do the right thing, but for some reason you can’t, and you end up in a constant cycle, doing those things you know you shouldn’t be doing. Sigh. The power in these verses – it’s fresh every time I read it.
Anyway, what I love about the word of God is that the Holy Spirit speaks and so even when I’m reading Galatians, suddenly this verse in Romans becomes relevant and then ‘ding, ding’ ding’ an answer arrives at the doorstep of my mind – Philippians 2:13.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. – Phil 2:13 NLT
Ultimately, God is the only one who can enable us to do that good we want to do and we know makes Him happy. And these verses in Galatians simply seek to confirm that it is God in the form of the Holy Spirit who does this in the most beautiful way.
‘IF WE LIVE IN THE SPIRIT, LET US WALK IN THE SPIRIT’
So now to the crux of the matter. ‘Walking in the Spirit.’ I had to use a metaphor to make this come alive:
Tolu Karunwi as ‘Human Being’ (just like you!)
Holy Spirit as ‘Interior Designer’
Flesh i.e. Body as ‘House’
Because I live at (insert your house address), I can walk around my house confidently. It’s MY house (okay I don’t earn to pay my own rent just yet but you get the gist – let’s forget semantics, LOL). I know about every nook & cranny of my house, I’m familiar with its layout and its smells.
In the same way, the Holy Spirit has been activated within me, He is alive in me and therefore since He’s made it easy (I no longer have to wait for Moses to come back from the mountain to tell me what God thinks #UnderTheCovenant #JesusDidThat) I can find Him in my heart. He lives there!
‘Abide in me and I in you’ (John 15:4)
So now I need to acknowledge His presence and learn to live in the house (which is my flesh i.e. my body) with Him. Once we are able to navigate our dynamic as housemates, this house can become a home. The things we do in our home are special and specific to our dynamic but the underlying values are the same in all other human beings who have allowed the Holy Spirit to enter their heart. These values are as follows:
So when we get the living situation right, walking around comfortably becomes inevitable. ‘Walking in the Spirit’ simply means being able to consult Him before I do anything so all I do, say, think is influenced by Him and in that way has an everlasting impact upon my life. The Holy Spirit and all He brings with him to my house has a sense of permanence that the house could not have provided itself. I mean houses are prone to collapsing, burning down, wearing out, being abandoned.
Therefore once these values become a standard in our home, once the fruits of the Holy Spirit become my #9ADay, it becomes so apparent and clear to any and everyone I meet.
Errbady finna be askin’ what diet I’m on and why I’m glowing and shiiii.
And I’ll simply have to tell them: “It’s the Holy Spirit homie!!” Soon enough, every and anyone that comes in contact with me is infected with the Holy Spirit. That precisely, is the POWER of the Holy Spirit. He isn’t selfish with His Love and transformative presence but wants to dwell and become a long lasting live-in Interior Designer and Best Friend with E V E R Y O N E because we were all created as God’s children and hence are all entitled to experience him to the fullest extent.
That’s why I absolutely LOVE that these verses end with:
‘LET US NOT BECOME CONCEITED, PROVOKING ONE ANOTHER, ENVYING ONE ANOTHER’
‘Let us not become conceited’: Remove YOUrself from the equation. The outpouring of His love has absolutely NOTHING to do with you but EVERYTHING to do with Him. He chooses any and everyone that’s willing to employ Him as their Interior Designer to make their house a home.
‘Provoking one another’: As Christians, it become very easy to sit on a high horse, dictating to others: ‘Oh, you truly need Jesus’ in the most condescending manner. However, it can become easy to forget that we are saved by grace hence we ALL need Jesus bby. No matter how much of the Holy Spirt you’ve tasted and experienced, there is always, always more to fill ourselves with. Humility people, gotta exercise it.
‘Envying one another’:
“Pressure gets hot and with heat come mirages
So you think it’s cool over there
Your thirst is real
But water can’t fill what comparison kills” – ‘Comparison Kills’ by Jonathan McReynolds
Comparison is a thief of joy. Don’t compare homes. Allow the Holy Spirit to work on/in you exclusively. Don’t want what He’s given someone else. It’s their gift from Him. Be content with the gifts He’s given or wants to give you. We can spend so long fixated on what someone else has that we miss what He wants to give us.
All of this is a reminder that in receiving and accepting the Holy Spirit, we truly need to let go of ourselves and let Him take full control. Let His vision become our vision. Ultimately, we are encouraged to remember that we thrive because of His grace upon us and His innate desire to save us over and over again despite us being the most unworthy, unqualified candidates.
‘Reckless Love’: Okay so after listening to all the versions out there countless times, I came to the conclusion that my personal fave is the Bethel Music’s version – featuring the iconic and powerhouse voice of Steffany Gretzinger. (TBVH – once I saw Bethel Music had a version, my decision was already made, LOL). Every version out there is INCREDIBLE – Israel Houghton kills it, Cory Ashburn takes me to that quiet place with the Holy Spirit, they’re all great and worth listening to and immersing yourself in BUT for me personally, Bethel takes the crown especially because ‘Spontaneous’ worship is included and it’s the only version that left me speaking in tongues and praying with my whole heart. So I pray that the Holy Spirit comes alive within you as you listen and you’re able to release yourself to accept this overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
Peace & Love,