Following God Above All Else
There is a constant struggle in each person’s mind about whether to act according to the flesh or God’s teachings. As an example, crude joking has led me into many awkward situations because it momentarily urges me to prioritize laughter above all else. Just ask my wife, she will tell you that I used to be a master at being the only person in the room actually laughing. When this happened, the only accomplishment is that people feel uncomfortable. God was not glorified and a vast majority of the people were not laughing anyway. Have you ever said or done something that seemed good at first, but had unintended consequences instead?
Romans 7:14-22 says, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” The Bible affirms that the only way to overcome our fleshly nature is by walking with the Spirit of Christ and relying on His wisdom.
Galatians 5:16-24 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery…and thing like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Reading and knowing the word of God helped me to work on my unrighteous habits. Aside from my crude joking, another habit that made others feel uncomfortable was cursing. Proverbs 2:6 reads, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Once my relationship with God grew, I began to care less about trying to please myself and others. The more I knew about Him the more I desired to be like Him, especially once I saw how He was transforming me. When you get baptized and adopt the teachings of God, He will give you the strength to conquer the habits you seek to change. Proverbs 2:-12 says, “he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil.” If there are temptations and habits you want to conquer, then fear God and follow His teachings.