With our first child, our son Zach, we thought we were such brilliant parents. When faced with a dilemma or a challenge, we did our best to offer him two good choices. He could choose either of them. He was happy to have a choice. He would make his choice and we would all go happily along.

Then, five years later, God gave us a precious little girl named Megan. She was not obstinate or rebellious, but she was always her own person. So when faced with a dilemma or a challenge, we did our best to offer her two good choices. She could choose either of them. She was happy to have a choice. However, she invariably would choose option 3 or 4 — neither of which we had offered, but which she had decided were better.

Both kids have turned into wonderful, godly adults. We are truly blessed. And, if I have to be completely honest, sometimes Megan's options were better than ours. In the process, we learned that we were good parents, but not brilliant ones. What we did right, we did right by grace and forgiveness.

However, when it comes to life, there really are only two choices. We don't get a third choice or an in between choice. We either live by the Spirit or we live by the flesh — many recent translations use the term "sinful nature," but I will use the term "flesh" in this article. A quick glance of  Romans chapter 8 or  Galatians chapter 5 reinforces this spiritual reality. There are only two choices. They are diametrically opposed to each — at war with each other Paul says.

There are two ugly little truths that we know deep down inside ourselves, but often don't want to admit.

  1. Most religion, including most of what passes for Christianity, is really living by the flesh.
  2. That's why religion — trying harder, trying to be better, trying to know more — doesn't work!

Don't take my word for it; go read what Paul says (Romans 7:18-23).

In fact, religion makes us desperate for two things (Romans 7:24;  Romans 8:1-4):

  1. A Savior who knows us and allowed himself to be sacrificed for our sin — we have to have Jesus!
  2. A Source who empowers us and is God's holy presence within us — we have to have the Holy Spirit!

Unfortunately, many of us in the Christian community have only preached half the Gospel. We've only shared half the good news. We've talked about the Savior — and rightfully so (John 3:16-17)! But we've neglected to talk about the Holy Spirit of God living inside us to be our source of life (John 7:37-39).

God sent Jesus to be our Savior! We must never ever compromise this truth. At the same time, we must never ever compromise the truth that when we come to Christ, Jesus pours the Holy Spirit out on us (Titus 3:3-7). He does it so that we are never alone and so that we are empowered to be all God wants us to be.

God sent Jesus from home so we could know that we are precious ... precious enough to die for and precious enough to live in. So I hope you will join me as we journey this summer through a series of thoughts we'll call SpiritFire. These compliment the daily devotional I offer on Holy Spirit called by the same name.

Haven't we tried to be religious long enough?
Haven't we tried to be religious long enough to know we're frustrated? Isn't it time we choose to walk by the power of the Holy Spirit? Let's journey together and see if we can find the joy of walking in the Spirit!

Please read  Romans 8:1-39 and  Galatians 5:1-26 before answering the following questions:

What are things the Holy Spirit does in the life of a follower of Jesus?

What are things the Holy Spirit has done in your life?

Are you consciously aware of the Holy Spirit living inside you?

Why do you think it is easy to sink back into living life by the flesh rather than walking by the Spirit?

Some make walking by the power of the Spirit an excuse for not seeking God in Scripture, worship, or fellowship with other believers. How is this just another manifestation of walking by the flesh?

Some see walking by the Spirit as simply meaning trying harder, doing more, or working more strenuously. How is this walking by the flesh?