The soul, which is spirit, is not a real thing we can touch or see. Yet, it’s there. Similarily, we can’t see confidence, hope, or even love. Yes, we see acts of love, hope, and confidence, but there is no physical thing I could point to and say, “That’s love.”
Paul often discusses the battle between the Spirit and the flesh in the letter to the Galatians. The flesh is not our skin. The flesh is a biblical term, but is represented as a strong desire that is opposite of what the Spirit wants. What does the Spirit want? The Spirit engages in hope, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, and kindness.
Paul lists the obvious practices of the flesh and the Spirit in Galatians 5:19-23:
“Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like…but the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].”
I find myself struggling with the practices of the flesh, which is proof that there really is a battle going on between the Spirit and the flesh.
The struggle is real. The Galatians are struggling with the practices of the flesh, and I am, too. Yet, Paul brings hope; he reminds them of who they are in Christ. As children of God, they are free. The Spirit whispers in my ear in the midst of the struggle, and teaches me how to react and interact with all the obstabcles of life. There is hope. I repeat, there is hope.