Paul’s Footsteps #68

Footsteps #68

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. NLT (Gal.5:13-25).

The second intriguing difference between Paul’s two lists is that the vice list is deliberately labelled as plural in number: “works of the flesh.” “The fruit of the Spirit,” however, is in the singular. This difference suggests that the life lived in the flesh can promote nothing more than division, turmoil, divisiveness, and disunity. In contrast, the life lived in the realm of the Spirit produces one fruit of the Spirit – love, which manifests itself in nine qualities that foster unity. Joy is love exalted, peace is love at rest, patience is love enduring, kindness is love refined, goodness is love in practice, faithfulness is love confiding, gentleness is love with bowed head, self-control is true self-love. Everything is in the word ‘fruit’. It is not by striving, but by abiding, not by worrying, but by trusting; not by works, but by faith.  

Some people claim that what a person believes about God doesn’t really matter as long as he or she is sincere. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul’s list of vices suggests the opposite: corrupt views about God lead to distorted ideas about sexual behaviour, religion, and ethics, resulting in the breakdown of human relationships. Furthermore, such ideas can lead to the loss of eternal life (Gal.5:21).  

I was once asked by a well-meaning Christian if I was “filled with the Spirit.” My answer was, “Yes, but I Leak!” I need a daily infilling. My spiritual life is like the moon, waxing and waning, at best full of holes but at its finest when fully facing the full radiance of light.  Vs16-26 contains 5 key verbs that describe the Spirit-controlled life. First, the believer needs “to walk” in the Spirit (v16.) This is a daily choice. The second verb is “to be led,” (v18). We need to allow the Spirit to lead us, our job is to follow. The next 2 verbs are in v25: “to live” refers to the new birth experience and is in the present tense, indicating the need for daily renewal. The other is “to walk” by the Spirit. This ‘walk’ is a military term that literally means, “keep in step,” or “conform.” This indicates that the Spirit should direct our lives on a daily basis. Lastly, v24, “to crucify” means in a figurative sense we must make a firm decision to put to death the desires of the flesh. We do this by starving the desires of the flesh and feeding our spiritual life.

No Comments

Post A Comment