Freedom in the Spirit




Scripture:

Gal. 5:16   Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Gal. 5:22   By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

Observation:

Paul continues his writing, focusing on the dichotomy between life by the law, or freedom in the Spirit. The law continually sets us up for judgement and holds us bound in comparison to a set of rules we cannot keep, and therefore leaves us condemned. The beauty of Christ’s work is the he left us the Holy Spirit. In holy love the Spirit comes to transform the desires of the flesh and to give us new life in Christ. We are set free from the things of the flesh which condemn and empowered to bear much spiritual fruit. The works of the flesh are destroyed and no longer hold sway over our lives, and in contrast the fruit of the spirit reveals our driving force. We are free when we are living and are guided by the Spirit. 

Application:

We continue to be bogged down by the law and life in the flesh. The same naysayers are trying to tell us that we cannot live victorious Christian lives today. We are constantly being told that we will have to struggle with the flesh, day in and day out. That cravings and desires within us will become the driving force of our lives and that there is no way the we can find victory. Our identity becomes stamped with the things of the flesh and we continue to wear the titles given to us by the world. 

Paul is saying the we can have a new and powerful identity when we are living in the Spirit. No longer do we have to be defined by the titles given to us by this world, —  immigrant, divorcee, woman, homosexual, single parent, victim of abuse, unemployed, alcoholic, drug addict, porn addict, etc. For those who have been given new life in the Spirit, none of these should be what defines who we are. We have been given new life in Christ and it is that relationship that defines us. We don’t have to submit to the powers of the flesh. Yes, we may be tempted because of the things of the flesh, the realities of our lives, our history and where we find ourselves, but those things don’t have to define us! We belong to Christ crucified and with him, the things of the flesh have been crucified. We are now defined by our relationship to him. 

We are God’s children, empowered by the Holy Spirit to live in holy love. The works of the flesh are replaced by the fruit of the Spirit. The result is a life in which we do not have to struggle day in and day out, but can live into and be defined by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Daily, our prayers should be for this fruit of the Spirit to be revealed in us for the glory of God. Will the temptations come to us? Will there be thoughts which flash into our minds? Of course, but they don’t have to rule us. From the moment they enter, we must refuse to focus on the flesh, but turn toward Christ and pray the Spirit will continue to lead you toward freedom. 

A number of song writers have referred to life in the flesh as a feeling of being chained. When the Spirit comes, the chains are removed and we are set free to live life in Christ. Our hearts are set free and we can run like the wind as children of God most high. 

Prayer:

Lord, I pray that we, your people, would not live weighted down by the flesh. May your Spirit come and set us free. Amen! 

Comments

  1. You have a heart for the LORD which is so apparent in your lovely words and message. Beautiful site, I will return.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Blessings~

    ReplyDelete

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