Navigating Temptation and Embracing the Holy Spirit’s Transformative Power

By Sarah Hanson

Do you follow Stephen on social media or just pretend to? He recently shared a humblebrag about his accomplishments, and it got me thinking. When my husband Chris and I bought our first house, it was a challenge. The real estate market was difficult, and we had the added challenge of finding an accessible home for Chris, who uses a wheelchair. But through it all, we saw God’s provision. Our dream home had almost everything we wanted, including fruit trees and plants that Chris had mentioned. We even started planning to transform our yard into a permaculture food forest.

During this process, I realized I developed a fascination with plants. While they are not inherently bad, I noticed that it could become a temptation for me to overspend on plants and neglect other important areas of my life. We all face different temptations, whether it’s shopping for deals, binge-watching TV shows, or succumbing to other cravings. It’s important to acknowledge that we are not as good at resisting temptation as we might think. Research shows that people who are overly confident about their self-control are more likely to give in.

In Romans 7:15, the apostle Paul expresses his own struggle with temptation, which resonates with many of us. We often find ourselves torn between what we want to do and what we actually do. But there is hope. The Holy Spirit desires to walk with us through these battles and lead us to freedom. The Holy Spirit, a divine person and a member of the Trinity, is often mysterious to us. In this series, we explore the role the Holy Spirit wants to play in our lives.

Our strongest desires, driven by our flesh, are often a counterfeit version of our deepest desires. We might feel an intense desire to indulge in food, lust, or substances, but our truest desires lie in our well-being, meaningful relationships, and making a positive impact. The Holy Spirit can guide us towards our deepest desires, preventing us from being led astray by our strongest cravings.

Paul begins Galatians 5 by reminding us that Christ has set us free for the purpose of experiencing true freedom. Our culture often confuses freedom with indulging in whatever feels good at the moment. However, pursuing our strongest desires can lead to destructive outcomes such as immorality, hostility, and division. The works of the flesh destroy unity and community.

We need the Holy Spirit’s guidance to avoid being consumed by our fleshly desires and to experience true freedom. When we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, we can resist the destructive temptations that hinder our growth and relationships. The Holy Spirit desires to help us in our battles, providing the wisdom and strength we need to overcome temptation and live according to our deepest desires.

In conclusion, we all face various temptations in life. Whether it’s the temptation to overspend, indulge in instant gratification, or give in to harmful cravings, the Holy Spirit wants to guide us towards freedom. Our strongest desires often deviate from our truest desires, but the Holy Spirit can lead us back on the right path. By relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and resisting the allure of the flesh, we can experience the freedom and fulfillment that God intends for us.