Galatians 5:16-21 - The spirit Within
Two spirits are battling for your allegiance. Which will you follow?
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Read Galatians 5:16-21
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 87
Q. Can those be saved
who do not turn to God
from their ungrateful
and impenitent ways?
A. By no means.
Scripture tells us that
no unchaste person,
no idolater, adulterer, thief,
no covetous person,
no drunkard, slanderer, robber,
or the like
is going to inherit the
kingdom of God.
If you attended Sunday School growing up, you likely learned about fruit of the Spirit. Perhaps you have even memorized Galatians 5:22-23: “But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against these things there is no law.”
While many know of the Fruit of the Spirit, much less attention is typically paid to the warning that comes immediately before that famous passage. Before we are given the Fruit of the Spirit, we are first told of the desires of the flesh. These desires of the flesh are aligned with our human nature, which is part of a fallen creation.
Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians to warn them about the danger of thinking their own good deeds were necessary for salvation. By comparing these two lists - the fruit of the Spirit vs. the desires of the flesh, Paul shows them (and now us) the danger that comes from depending upon our own selves rather than having faith in Christ.
Everyone has their own unique quirks, one of mine is that I do not like to leave things unfinished. A side effect of this is that I prefer to not start watching a movie in the evening. While others may doze off during the movie, I will stay up until I’ve seen the ending.
In matters of entertainment, missing out on a few details is not a life altering event. However, in matters of faith those few details can be very important. This can be seen in the desires of the flesh of which we are told those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Upon reading the desires of the flesh listed in Galatians 5, you may be tempted to become hyper-focused on avoiding those sins. And while we are called to repent and turn away from our sin, there is more to this teaching than just trying to not sin. It matters not only that you depart from sin but also to where you are placing your trust upon that departure.
This teaching on the desires of the flesh is intertwined with the Fruit of the Spirit. The encouragement is to walk by the Spirit, trusting the work of the Holy Spirit in your life rather than your ability to not sin. The presence of the Spirit is what leads to the manifestation of the Fruit of the Spirit in your life. Alternatively, if your life is oriented around the desires of the flesh, you will not inherit the kingdom of God because you have instead established a kingdom of your own.
Be mindful of not only the presence of sin in your life but also where you are placing your trust.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who sends His Spirit to walk with us each day;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be led by the Spirit and not your own desires;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Corinthians 9