For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16

The Message Bible puts it this way, “Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him.”

As I reflected on this verse I remembered a Joyce Meyer talk. Joyce spoke about the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the spirit. Our flesh, she explained, is never satisfied, it always craves more—more food, more possessions, more attention. Yet even when we succeed in getting more, we’re still not satisfied. It’s the nature of addictions.

Walking in the spirit frees us from the perpetual cycle of constantly striving for more. Instead, we learn to be content with what we already have. We’re freed from the bondage of having to have our own way.

Jesus taught us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Denying ourselves isn’t fashionable. Taking up one’s cross declares death to having our own way. This is directly opposed to the philosophy of the world which would have us believe we’re entitled to a life of comfort and ease.

Learning to walk in the spirit is a process. It took most of us well over a year before we could physically walk any distance. It may take much longer to learn to walk in the spirit. However, despite the cost and discomfort, it brings a freedom that’s worth the effort.