Day 31: Galatians 5:16-26
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
The entire letter to the churches of Galatia addressed specific issues arising among the body of Christ there. Scholars believe that the issues Paul addressed came about due to some teachings of a group known as Judaizers. These Jewish Christians taught the early Gentile Christians that along with trusting in Christ, Christians needed to honor the previous traditions found in the Old Testament of following the Mosaic Law and being circumcised. This, they taught, was how one’s faith was justified.
Throughout the entire letter, Paul rebukes this new ‘distorted’ view of the Gospel and reminds the Galatians that through faith in Christ and Christ alone is our faith justified. Paul reminds them that Christ not only provided their freedom through faith, but he also equipped them to live out this faith through the Spirit. Paul’s letter rebuilds the foundational truths of the Gospel for these early believers. Keeping this in mind and looking at today’s text, think about how this applies to us today.
What fleshly desires are frequenting our lives? Are we giving the Spirit the authority over our lives so that we can walk in the freedom Christ provides? Has our view of the Gospel been distorted by other ideas? What are some of those ideas? How do they hold us back from the fruit God desires for us? Which verses describe you best: 19-21 or 22-23?
Joe Earl | Co-Director, Meals 'Til Monday