1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
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[c] 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.
What was the scripture that stood out to you from this passage?
Besides the obvious fruit of the Spirit that we will get to, I found a lot of takeaways from this passage. In verse one we see the words “stand firm” again. This is a reminder that despite our situations or what the world is telling us, God is our truth, He is the way and we need to stand firm in that. What is a way that your faith has felt as though it may be possibly wavering or hard to stand firm in?
There’s some background to verses 2-4 that I think are important to share/touch on. We see here once again the reiteration that obeying the law isn’t going to make God save us, but our faith in him and Jesus alone. Circumcision is being used as a symbol here, it is a symbol of not only having the right background but also doing and following everything that was required by the religion. So for example, someone couldn’t just be circumcised and expect to be saved, they would also have to follow all the other laws perfectly, and we know that is impossible, no of us are perfect, which makes salvation through faith all the more wonderful.
Let’s look at verse 11 because Paul being persecuted for preaching the gospel is super important. I think about Paul and all the other disciples and people who saw Christ after he rose from the dead, I think it was like 500 people, and it is impossible for me to believe that they would preach a message that wasn’t true, especially because their lives were on the line for doing so. So many times throughout the Bible people in power are afraid of God, Jesus in the New Testament, because they are able to recognize the power and I believe it intimidates them and leaves them feeling threatened, so they go against him. I think our world can look so much like this to this day. I want to share a piece of our application here, “Jesus said not to be surprised if the world hates you, because it hated him. (John 15:18,19) Just as Paul continued to faithfully proclaim the message about Christ, you should continue doing the ministry God has given you-in spite of the obstacles others may put in your way.”
I love verses 13 and 14, they remind us about what is the most important thing we do, we love. We love others. We don’t have to agree with everyone. This makes me think of the song “Revolutionary” by Josh Wilson, specifically the chorus : “Why does kindness seem revolutionary. When did we let hate get so ordinary. Let’s turn it around, flip the script. Judge slow, love quick. God help us get revolutionary” Judge slow, love quick! How can we choose love even when disagreements and hatred are in our faces? What’s one way you can show love today?
Before getting into the fruits of the spirit, I want to talk about living by the Spirit first. I love how our application shares with us what it means to live by the Spirit, “Being led by the spirit involves the desire to hear, the readiness to obey God’s word, and the sensitivity to discern between your feelings and his promptings.” I want to share a prayer with you that I read in the book Jesus Over Everything on this exact thing: Pray that I am “under spirit control, that despite how out of control the circumstances may be today, that the things that come out of my mouth will be filtered through the Holy Spirit who gives self control, help me to always be under the control of the Holy Spirit.” Spirit, lead us! I encourage you to pray this and ask the Spirit to help you hear his leadings.
And our last place of digging in through this passage today is verses 22 and 23. When you read through these character traits, which one stands out to you? Maybe it’s one you feel you are good at, maybe it is one you really need the most help with. Write down what about these verses grabs your attention. Thankfully our application has such a wonderful explanation on how to achieve these, because I am guessing that we all desire to have these qualities, that we want to leave a legacy of this exact thing, but it is impossible to do on our own, that is why they are called “of the Spirit” they are from the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Spirit produces these character traits that are found in the nature of Christ. They are the by-products of Christ’s control-we can’t obtain them by trying to get them without his help. If we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must join our lives to his. We must know him, love him, remember him and imitate him.”
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this chapter in Galatians. We see so much of you, so much of your character, so much of your desire for us and the need we have for you. Help us to stand firm in our faith, even when it feels like the world is against you. Help us to stop our immediate fleshly desire to judge and to choose love in that moment instead. You love, help us to love like you. I pray you help us to be under control of the Holy Spirit, that everything we do during our days comes from the leading of the spirit. We all desire Lord to obtain these qualities of the Spirit, we learned this is impossible to do on our own, help us to know, love, remember and imitate you so that we too can have these fruits of the Spirit. Lead us and guide us in everything we do. Help us to be more loving, peaceful, forbearing, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. We love you and we thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. In your loving name we pray, AMEN!
Here’s a link to that song just in case you want to listen. SO.GOOD!