"I say then walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." – Galatians 5:16
I looked up the word “frustration” in the Merriam Webster dictionary. I wanted to start today’s lesson off defining what frustration is. The dictionary’s first definition was “the act of frustrating”. Because I was doing it online. The word “frustrating” was in red and I could click it and see it’s definition – so I did so. Upon arrival at the new web page which defined “frustrating”, the first definition was “tending to produce or characterized by frustration”. I still had not found a definition, only another usage of the same word. This was… well… you know. Nevertheless, I didn’t give up. I looked at the next definition hoping to find an absolute. So I clicked the word “frustrated.” Ah – now we have a working definition “to balk or defeat in an endeavor. To induce feelings of discouragement in.” I almost got frustrated and became discouraged trying to find the definition, but sticking with it paid off and eventually there it is, the definition.
While that is kind of a funny introduction, frustration in the Christian life is not funny at all. In fact I have been reading books on what we might call “spiritual depression” in the life the believer. Several good books have been written on the topic. By the way, several really bad books have been written as well, so ask your pastor or elders if you are thinking about studying the topic. Something that all the good books have in common and something that we see throughout the scriptures, is that God never intends for our walk with Him to be frustrating.
Now let me start by saying, we don’t want to spend all our time in discussion of our frustrations. God does desire for us to live in victory. However it is noteworthy at this point in our study to deal with the reality of the feeling of discouraged. Many times in the body of Christ, I see well meaning Christians in one of two camps. Either all their time together is spent in discussing their frustrations and failures, or all their time is spend glorying in successes.
We need to start our days with the presupposition that we are going to “Walk in the Spirit.” Perhaps you’ve heard that phrase used before in church. In fact, Paul uses it in the Word. He says “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The direction here is to be under the direction or control of the Holy Spirit. What does it look like? Let me use a contrast that Paul uses. He says, “Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit”. In other words, you can’t be filled or directed by the Holy Spirit if you are under something else’s control.
Do you realize that in that whole process, I am glorifying God? Every time we acknowledge God’s forgiveness, he is glorified. However, let’s not think that we should sin, just so we can see God’s glory and allow Him to be glorified. That would be foolish, and really would not be glorifying to God. Instead let's walk in the truth that we know to be true, and watch God do amazing things with our lives!