How do you know when you've hit a snag? When you find you have been "walking by the flesh".
Jesus said, "walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."
What is the fruit of the flesh? It is rotten fruit. The deeds of the flesh are things like "jealousy . . . strife . . . outbursts of anger . . . envying . . . disputes . . . drunkenness. . . ."
Do these negative emotions rule the day? Is your mind always roiling, peering into others' motives, anxious, disturbed . . . ready to accuse, control or punish?
To varying degrees then you are walking by the flesh and NOT walking in the Spirit.
The "flesh sets its desire against the Spirit." They are at war; but when you keep your mind in thoughts that are rooted in the flesh you are choosing sides in that war and demons are your generals and will run you through the day fulfilling their tasks. You are working in the trenches for the army of darkness. You are an enemy of God, of truth and light, salt and life.
What a dangerous, disrespectful game to play. What mockery before God to claim His name and ways and then go about working against God all the day long in thought, feeling and deed, throwing in with His enemies!
Whereas those who walk by the Spirit produce different fruit and show other kinds of deeds.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
Do you have peace? Joy? Patience? As in, are you patient with the mistakes and blindness of others? Are you kind toward their immaturity, their weaknesses? Or are you haughty, swift to anger, resentment and envy?
When contentions arise--which are common and consistent in this fallen, dark, misguided world--and someone were to peep into your mind would they find gentleness and self-control? Or would the way of the flesh be there raging on with thoughts of hate, sneering critique, self-righteousness, resentment?
In the walk of sanctification, if it is real, increasingly there ought to be a habit of reigning in the tendency of the "old man"--of that old, unregenerate self which supposedly was nailed to the cross and died with Jesus. But is he still there raging away, directing your thoughts and emotions regarding others? Maybe the "old man" is not so old or dead after all?
The beginning of the Master's teaching, through Paul, on the fruit of the Spirit versus the deeds of the flesh starts with the bold statement: "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'"
If you walk by the Spirit then this should be a real effort and intention to attain. But instead, is it still just you pitted against all others? "King Me" against the world, against God?
Where did you get the idea that you are owed something? Where do you come off demanding this and that because you are so special--such a "cut above" everyone else? This is not "loving your neighbor as yourself" but instead is the clarion call of the devil himself who says, "I am best! I am above all! Serve and worship ME! I deserve all obedience, all reverence. I am the most important of all creation! Look to me, look to me! Satisfy ME!"
Whereas the disciple of the Lord is wanting to please others before self; is always lifting up others, putting others first, sacrificially. The one who walks by Spirit is always saying "less of me, more of He", which means, more of the others while lowering myself in genuine humility.
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
This is not just a quaint saying to be quickly set aside as one goes back to the business of hating and trying to control others because of prideful, selfish agenda.
You are either walking by the flesh or by the Spirit of God. You cannot be doing both for they are in opposition to one another, at war continually. There is no respite. "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one
another, so that you may not do the things that you please."
Gentleness, kindness, goodness, patience. . . . It is easy to be experiencing these things when all is going well for you. What challenge is there then? Of course you can be kind, giving, patient, when your life is going well and full of abundance. What test is this?
Which is why God chastens those He loves and wants! It is when you are beset, troubled, suffering lack . . . that you are able to show the true condition of your heart, your mind and spirit. Woe to those who--when things are going better than usual--only become more angry, jealous, impatient, intolerant, controlling, demanding!
But in all seasons, whether good or bad, rain or shine, the true disciple of the Lord remains unfazed and continues steadily exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. And this fruit should be increasing, not shriveling and dying. The follower of Jesus is attached to the vine, which is attached to the root which is fed by ever-living, refreshing spiritual waters! Onward and upward the believer goes! They have been reborn and on a path of supernatural regeneration, actually changing from an old, sinful, dark, hateful soul to one of light, love, peace, joy, goodness, kindness, self-control and the like.
The old ways are dead and withering away. New life, new power, new growth and depth of Spirit ought be blooming in the heart of the authentic believer who has put their full trust in the work and perfection of the Lord, God, Jesus Who leads the Way, and no more relies on small, petty self whereby to operate.
Still stuck on a snag? While claiming to be a Christian? Best be demolishing it once and for all and get on with the business of witnessing to the world the truth of Christ! Otherwise, you are still in the employ of the enemy ranks with but moldering ghouls as your guides--a way which leads to more darkness and death and worse. Get on with it!
"Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit"!
[see Galatians 5:14-25]