Paul said in Romans 8:12-14, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
In spite of the fact that we are to actively put forth our own effort, Paul reminds us that it is only “by the Spirit,” that is, by the power and move of the Holy Ghost, that we can experience breakthrough in overcoming our flesh. In fact, more can happen in one hour in an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit is free to move and where hearts are yielded to Him than in a lifetime of purposing to live a mere “principled” life.
Principles can teach, but they cannot take you where only the person of the Holy Spirit can. In other words, principles show what could be and should be, but only the Holy Spirit can make it become a personal reality to you.
I know people who emphasize living “principled lives” and boast that they are not “emotional.” This is in response to the moving of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s meeting where there might be joy demonstrated in running, dancing, leaping, laughing, etc. Their attitude is that they have outgrown these things or even that God is not in them at all. They emphasize that “Holy Ghost services” aren’t the only kind of services, and this is true, but when was the last time they allowed the Holy Ghost to minister freely?
I believe in living a principled life as well, but I also understand the difference between yielding to expressions of emotion and just being emotional. I believe God gave us our emotions and I’ve learned that it is through yielding to expressions of emotions prompted by the Spirit that instant breakthrough happens– whether it be in addiction, trial, anointing, health or financial.
So many times the very thing that’s needed and sought for lies just on the other side of our obedience to a simple prompting of the Spirit to yield. For example, Naaman the Leper yielded to the promptings of the Spirit by obeying a ridiculous instruction to dip seven times in the filthy Jordan River BUT it yielded profound results. This tells me if you are expecting God to do the miraculous in your life, then you need to be willing to do the ridiculous!
Any time we are presented with an opportunity to yield to the Spirit, there’s something God wants to give but there’s also something He may want to take. Namaan received his healing but he first had to give God his pride. This explains why some people don’t receive what they are desiring from God. They may be holding on to something that’s preventing them from receiving. The same act (of yielding to the instruction) that brought Namaan healing also delivered him of his pride. If he had not let go of the one, he would not have received the other.