February 12, 2011

26 Devotions Based on the Alphabet: The Letter W



Monte Holland

Several persons have expressed an interest in having my husband, the Rev. Monte W. Holland, post an online series of devotions. Through their encouragement, Monte will post a weekly devotion on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS. To read the introduction click on 26 Devotions Based on the Alphabet: Introduction. Click on 26 Devotions Based on the Alphabet: The Letter V to read the previous post on the letter V.

Return to this site each Saturday to read his devotions.  Carolyn C. Holland


     Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

     You may have heard the statement, He is so religious and spiritual that he is no earthly good.  In our minds there often is a divide between being a “spiritual” person and being someone who is a “productive member of society.”

     We walk by the Spirit, not as people separated from the world, but as people fully immersed in this world, and with purpose. That said, are there any limits on what the Spirit expects? Our key verse makes one thing very clear: we cannot claim that the Spirit directs us to gratify the desires of the flesh. And now we have a problem—defining desires of the flesh.

     One approach could be to say that desires of the flesh are anything beyond the basic essentials of life. That’s probably a little too restrictive for most persons’ liking. It would mean we wouldn’t buy new clothes until the old ones wear out, we would run our cars much longer, we would pass up on many events, etc.

     Others might define desires of the flesh in terms of lust and adultery. That seems to be too loose as a definition, leaving a whole variety of other excesses on the table.

     There is some middle road that I suspect most persons try to travel, that of good stewardship. If, after we procure the basic essentials, we are fortunate to have some finances left over, we are careful to glorify God with our remaining resources:

  • First, we make our direct offering for God’s work—maybe a tithe, maybe less, maybe more.
  •  Second, we make choices that are not harmful to others and to the environment.
  • Third, we make choices that improve us as people—a good vacation to reinvigorate our family, an educational purchase or event to enrich our minds, something that helps us to better relate to those around us in love (e.g. a meal out with a friend, joining a club, supporting community events).
  • Fourth, we do not choose purchases or activities based on “one upping” our neighbors.

     There should be no divide in our lives between being a “spiritual” person and being someone who is a “productive member of society.” As Christian persons, we walk by the Spirit. We are Christian by claiming Jesus as our Savior and master teacher. One of Jesus’ later statements was that he was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:3). He also said The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26).

     Our key verse challenges to walk by the Spirit. We choose our framework for dealing with the desires of the flesh, but we trust the Spirit to guide us through the maze of putting that framework into practice.

To read 26 DEVOTIONS BASED ON THE ALPHABET: THE LETTER X, click on:  26 Devotions Based on the Alphabet: The Letter X


Don’t miss Monte’s devotions.




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