“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. 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.” -Ephesians 5:16-17
If you are like me, you can relate to the statement “Because I said so.” My parents would use that phrase on me often when I was a young boy. I often liked to ride my bike down the middle of our street. There was a perfectly good sidewalk in which I could ride my bike down, but I preferred the wide open lanes of the street. My dad would repeatedly tell me to ride my bike on the sidewalk and I always asked “why?” More often than not his answer would be, “Because I said so.”
I never really understood quite why those words have always stuck with me until the last few years. I have three small children now and I have reverted to the same statement a time or two in the last few months. However I have added some context to the phrase with my children as I have learned more about Our Father.
God is passionately pursuing and loving His children. He wants the greatest joy for our lives and thus He gave us the greatest gift that would give us the greatest joy. He gave us his son Jesus as a sacrifice and payment for our sins.
Those called to be followers of Jesus have been given the Spirit that lives within us to guide and direct us. The Spirit indwells us and allows us to have victory over our flesh. In the verse above, Ephesians states “these are in opposition to one another.” Paul speaks of this in Romans 7 very clearly. Our sinful flesh desires sinful things. The Spirit allows us to live and experience the greatest joy in choosing not to engage in those sinful desires.
Back to my bike illustration, maybe my dad’s answer to my question of “Why” should have been, “Because I love you so.” My dad told me to ride my bike on the sidewalk “Because He loves me” and he doesn’t want to see me get hurt. It is the same with our Heavenly Father. He gives me instructions in Scripture on how to live in a manner that will bring me the greatest joy out of life and left me His Spirit to guide me “Because He loves me.”