Romans 8: 12-16
“So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Most parents tell their children to study hard, wash their hands and feet when they come in from outside, and to eat a well-balanced diet.
But the children do not normally understand why their parents are saying those things.
However, as they get a little older, they understand their parent’s intentions a little better.
They understand that they said things like that because they loved them.
But knowing why does not mean they are ready to obey all the time.
Also, even though they are willing to obey, they might not be able to obey because it’s difficult to change their old habits.
It’s the same when you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and obey it.
As you hear and learn the Word of God, you can understand the voice of the Holy Spirit to some extent.
But even though you hear it and know that it is for your own good, you cannot obey it unless you are willing to obey it.
So, this is the last key to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly, it is the willingness to obey.
Deuteronomy 10:13 says, “…and to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good…”
How well are you obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit that is given for your own good-
This is the 17th and last session on the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Now, I urge you to have the willingness to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.
I pray in the name of the Lord that by doing so you will enjoy true happiness as children of God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In order to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly, I explained that you have to cast away untruths from heart.
As I told you many times, first, the untruths motivate our fleshly thoughts.
The fleshly thoughts block the Holy Spirit’s voice or confuse us in discerning the voice.
The stronger our fleshly thoughts, the less likely it is that we will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Eventually, we will follow our own thought, which more precisely speaking is following the guidance of the enemy devil and Satan.
But as we learn from the Word of Truth, we can discern to some extent which the Holy Spirit’s voice is and which the fleshly thoughts are.
The voice of the Holy Spirit leads us to follow the truth.
We can reduce our fleshly thoughts and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit more clearly, to the extent that we cast away untruths from our heart.
Secondly, the untruths motivate the desires of the flesh.
I said as we learn the truth, we can discern between the voice of the Holy Spirit and fleshly thoughts to some extent.
But many believers do not obey the voice even after discerning the voice correctly.
It’s because they are not willing to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.
In particular, it’s because the desire to follow the flesh is greater than the desire to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:17 says, “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.” The desires of the flesh as well as the fleshly thoughts hinder you from obeying you the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s now talk about what fleshly desires are, and, more specifically, what kinds of effects they have on us when hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Simply put, ‘the desires of the flesh’ are the things that the flesh wants to do.
Here, ‘flesh’ is not just the physical body of men.
‘Flesh’ is the generic term referring to the ‘natures of untruths revealed by actual deeds’.
Thus, the ‘desires of flesh’ are the characters that try to reveal the untruths in heart as manifestations of outward actions.
This desire of the flesh goes against the desire of the Holy Spirit.
For example, the Holy Spirit tells us to love even our enemies.
But, if we have strong desire of flesh called ‘hatred’, we don’t want to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit when we see somebody we hate.
We wouldn’t want to look at him through the eyes of gentleness.
We would want to stare at him and speak to him bluntly. We feel like we would feel better if we could just criticize him with piercing words.
Let me give you another example. The Holy Spirit tells us to pray without ceasing.
One day, it’s almost time to go to Daniel prayer meeting, but today, you want to watch TV some more, get some rest, and go to bed early.
You want to do the things which give comfort to your body.
It is in ways like this that the desire to follow flesh is the desire of the flesh.
Brothers and sisters, now, in order not to follow the desires of the flesh, what do we have to do-
Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
It is very simple and easy, isn’t it-
As written, what we have to do is just follow the desires of the Holy Spirit all the time.
Whenever we hear the voice or receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can just follow it.
As we keep on following the desires of the Holy Spirit, the desires of flesh will become increasingly weakened, and then finally disappear.
It is the result of the untruths, which is the source of the desires of the flesh, being removed from heart.
But is there anybody who says it’s difficult to obey-
Of course, you may feel that it is difficult to follow the desires of the flesh only at first.
Of course, you may feel that it is difficult to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit only at first.
It’s because two kinds of minds struggle against each other.
Namely, the desires of the flesh and those of the Holy Spirit struggle against each other.
This struggle is the fiercest in the second level of faith.
In the first level of faith, there is hardly any struggle.
At the first level of faith, most people follow the desires of the flesh just like when they were unbelievers.
They don’t know the truth well, and they don’t feel the need to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Of course, those who have good inner hearts will diligently obey the word they hear as soon as they accept the Lord. But these are rare cases.
Most believers begin to strive to live by the word of God as they get to the second level of faith.
Because they have listened to the word and have come to know about Heaven, Hell, and Judgment, they try to obey the Word.
But because they still have old habits, it’s not very easy for them to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit all the time.
Of course, if they do not lose the fullness of the Spirit, they can easily pass the 2nd level of faith.
But because most people do not keep the fullness of the Spirit, they have to go through the struggle in their heart.
The point in time when the struggle is the fiercest in the 2nd level of faith is when the truths and untruths are half and half.
This is the point when the desires of the Holy Spirit and the desires of flesh have the even strength.
Romans chapter 7 vividly describes this kind of struggle.
Romans 7:15 says, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”
Here, ‘what I would like to do’ is what the Holy Spirit wants, and ‘the very thing I hate’ is what the flesh wants.
Namely, the desires of the flesh go against those of the Holy Spirit to lead us to act in untruths.
Romans 7:21-24 says, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death-“
When the desire to follow goodness and the desire to follow evil struggle against each other, you feel afflicted in heart.
But, you have to overcome this difficult moment.
If you overcome this point and just go into the third level of faith, it becomes much easier to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit.
At the beginning of the third level, the two desires might clash with each other, but soon you decide to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit.
But many people become tired at the second level of faith.
According to the individual difference, that struggle lasts from a couple of years to 5 years, 10 years or more.
As the struggle continues, they have troubles in heart, so they feel a Christian life is difficult.
They know life in faith is to cast off evil, but they store up more evil as they lost the fullness of Spirit.
They again take up what they had cast off before.
They ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit repeatedly, and they might commit sins leading to death.
As a result, the works of the Holy Spirit becomes increasingly fainter in them.
Even though they listen to the word of truth for so many years, they cannot remember those words in their everyday lives.
They heard they had to be meek, but they get angry over even the smallest matters.
They know it is truth to seek others’ benefit, but they cannot bear with a situation where they face a loss.
They learned that they should love their enemies, but if there is anybody who gives a hard time to them, they pay it back with evil.
They live just like unbelievers and finally, the works of the Holy Spirit in them stop completely.
Likewise, if you take fleshly things only because it is difficult to struggle against your flesh, it will only make the struggle last longer.
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life are the reinforcements for the desires of the flesh.
Brothers and sisters,
Even in the marathon race, there is an end; even very long tunnels have an end.
There is an end to your process of casting off the desires of the flesh.
The time of that end depends on your decision.
If you run without a rest, the time will end quickly. But if you stop in the middle or backslide, it will last longer and you will feel it to be tiresome.
If you finish your struggle and go into the 4th level of faith or higher, it is more difficult to follow the desires of the flesh than spirit.
It is much easier and happier to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit.
I hope you will only follow the desires of the Holy Spirit, finish your struggle in your hearts quickly, and come into spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
There are some things you have to keep in mind to finish your struggle against the desires of the flesh.
First, you have to obey as soon as you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
If you ignore the voice thinking, “Maybe not this time, I will obey next time,” then, the voice will become increasingly faint and finally disappear.
As you keep on disobeying, you might also create a wall of sin against God.
On the other hand, if you just obey as soon as you hear the voice, you can be guided by Him correctly.
It does not take many years before you are able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly.
I urge you to have firm determination and do the following.
Brothers and sisters,
In order to finish your struggle against desires of flesh quickly, secondly, you must not cease to pray.
Prayer is like the energy to your spirit, just as you put gasoline in the car.
If you stop praying, you cannot gain the fullness of the Spirit, and the desires of the flesh that have been suppressed gain strength again.
Thus, we have to pray fervently all the time to be full of the Holy Spirit.
To finish your struggle against the desires of the Holy Spirit quickly, thirdly, you diligently have to change your feelings about the flesh.
To finish your struggle against the desires of the flesh quickly, thirdly, you diligently have to change your feelings about the flesh.
The reason why men of flesh follow the desires of the flesh is that they feel more comfortable that way.
On the other hand, they feel it more difficult to live by the word of God.
This is a wrong kind of feeling.
It means they are being cheated by the enemy devil and Satan.
In fact, it is much more comfortable and happier to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit.
But why do men of flesh feel better when they follow the untruths-
It’s because they have the old habits in their bodies.
Before we accepted the Lord, we followed the ways of the world.
Ephesians 2:2-3 says, “You formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
We once did what we wanted, but not what the Holy Spirit wants.
As long as we have these old habits, we feel more comfortable following the desires of the flesh.
Also, when we follow the desires of the flesh, we might get some gratification or pleasure, too.
For example, if you enjoy worldly entertainments or rest instead of praying, you might feel comfortable for the moment.
But this is only momentary.
After that period passes, you feel more afflicted in heart rather than satiated.
The joy that was experienced disappears quickly, and you are left with the feeling of vanity.
Therefore, if you have the feeling that it is comfortable to stop praying and experience difficulty praying, then you have to change your feelings.
You have to change your feelings and feel that it is uncomfortable to skip prayers. You have to feel happy and energized when you overcome tiredness with prayer.
Also, if you pour out your temper when you get angry, you might feel relieved for a moment.
But these people always have to get angry and fight with other people. How pitiful it is!
On the contrary, if you follow the desires of the Holy Spirit to understand and bear with others, you are at peace and happy.
If you follow the truth in all things, you can have joy in the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:18 says, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
In the Old Testament times, those who violated the Law were punished or put to death.
Even today, those who follow the desires of the flesh always have to worry about whether or not they will fall into Hell or experience some form of disaster.
For these people, the word of God feels like restraints and fearful lashings of whips.
How difficult they must feel that life is!
On the other hand, if you cast off all desires of the flesh and follow the desires of the Holy Spirit all the time, you will always enjoy freedom and peace.
You will not be bound by the Law.
You are filled with true joy, peace, and hope of Heaven since you are filled with the Spirit.
Wherever you are and whatever you do, you always sing praises. You are protected and blessed by God all the time according to the rules of His justice.
You never face any disasters or accidents, and forms of darkness such as loneliness, worries, and fear cannot take hold of you.
It’s because the Holy Spirit will always walk with you.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Numbers 12:8 says, “With him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD.”
As written, God had an intimate friendship with Moses.
Today’s reading passage Romans 8:15 says, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!'”
Now, I hope you will also become children who have close relationships with God the Father.
God the Father has sent the Holy Spirit to gain such children.
As I explained in many sessions, the secret of hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice is actually very simple.
It is to cast off all untruths in heart and cultivate holy heart.
If you become holy children who resemble God, you can have clear communication with God.
It is because the heart and mind become one.
Whatever you have in mind, whatever you say, or whatever you do, you can do everything as God wants.
I hope you will feel the joy of walking with God having clearly established communication with the Holy Spirit.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will become precious children who will reveal the great love and will of God the Father at this end of days.