A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a banquet in Bismarck, North Dakota, & it was very cold. North Dakota is right up next to Canada, & the winters are long & harsh. I was housed in a hotel that had an indoor swimming pool, & since the summers are so short & there are no outdoor water parks in North Dakota, many motels & hotels have indoor water parks & indoor swimming pools. The motel I was at had a nice indoor swimming pool w/ a huge three-story water slide that twisted around like a snake, going up & down & round & round. Well, one afternoon I worked out in the exercise room & as I finished I saw that swimming pool & waterslide. There was no one else around. So I jumped the pool to get wet & in a lapse of judgment decided to give the waterslide a try. I climbed up the three flights of metal stairs, looked into the mouth of that steep dark tunnel, & threw myself down it. I went about ten feet & stopped. I realized there was no water running, no current, no flow, & the thing was as dry as a bone. I couldn’t climb out because I was too far down, but I couldn’t slide down because there were was nothing to make it slippery. I was stuck. I developed a couple of theories as to how to get out of the contraption, but really there was nothing to do but edge myself down inch by inch. By the time I got to the bottom & fell into the pool, I was so exhausted I almost drowned. I don’t think anyone saw me, but I did notice there were security cameras trained on the waterside from every direction, so I imagine someone was in a little room somewhere laughing their head off at me.
But here’s my point. A lot of people get stuck in their Christian life because it becomes dry. The outpouring & the flow of the Holy Spirit dries up. When we’re walking in the Spirit, when we’re being led by the Spirit, when we’re dedicated to Christ & surrendered to Him, & reading our Bibles & praying & trusting Him & asking Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit—we find that we’re carried along by the Spirit. We make progress. There may be ups & downs. There may be twists & turns. But there’s a sort of holy effortless-ness to the Christian life. We have momentum. We have grace. We have growth.
When we’re not surrendered to Christ & entrenched in the Word & filled with the Spirit, our spiritual progress grinds to a halt. The temptations of the flesh begin taking over: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, & things like these, as we’re told in Galatians 5.
That’s why the Bible says, “Walk by the Spirit, & you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”