LIVE FREE Galatians Study Week Three

Day Nineteen. January 28. Galatians 5:16-26

Today, Paul gets down to practical business, doesn’t he? He’s naming the sins. He’s calling out behaviors that stem from our selfish sinful bad selves and then he’s highlighting what should be coming out of people who are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Even after we are saved, we still have choices to make. God doesn’t turn us into some sort of automated “good person” with no will of her own. Nope. We still get to choose every day whether we will listen to the Spirit’s good direction or stomp off on our own to create mayhem and mess up the works.

Let’s study the bad stuff first. Were you surprised at some of the behaviors that made the list? I think we all expect sins like sexual immorality, lust, idolatry, sorcery, drunkenness, and wild parties to make the list. And most of us are not drawn toward such things – at least not blatantly. When we dig a little deeper, though, we can see where idolatry slips in, for example. When we start putting a cause, a product or a person “first” in our thoughts and when we organize our days around that cause or product or person … we are basically lifting them up to a place that should only be held by Christ. Sexual immorality on a grand scale is pretty much avoided by Christians, but what about the books we read or the movies we watch with just a “little bit” of immorality? Yeah, we do have to guard our minds and hearts in this world against encroachment from things that do not please the Lord and will not help us live aright.

Some of the behaviors on the list, though, are ones that really convict me. God does not want hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, dissension, division, selfish ambition, or envy to permeate our lives either. All of these behaviors stem from a desire to get our own way or to be seen as “best” in some way or in some argument. Ouch. This is not how a Christ-follower is supposed to live. When we sadly see these behaviors in our lives, our response should be quick repentance and a “teach me, Lord’ heart as we ask the Spirit to replace these behaviors with kinder ones. Only through Him can we do this hard thing!

We end with the beautiful list of the fruit we should be producing. I often give myself the “fruit test” as I review my day or my week. Have I shown love, joy and peace this week? How patient have I been? When I had choices to make, did I choose kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness in my interactions with others? And how was my self-control? Now, I can’t manufacture these. These come about as a direct result of having spent time with God, surrendering myself to Him and asking Him to lead for the day. The fruit of the Spirit comes from Him. Our job is stay near Him so this fruit flows through us and out toward others. It’s not trying harder – it’s leaning in and asking Him for His help and guidance. This is relational living with our Savior, who is always patient with us, no matter how many times we fail. The way to joy is right here. Nestling close to the One who alone can give it us. All thanks be to God!


My verse: Galatians 5:24 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.”

My response: Yes. It’s that extreme, isn’t it, Lord? Any passion or desire for lesser things that pulls me from You – help me to put it to death, so that I can fix my eyes on You and gladly go where You lead!

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