Reading the Word
Galatians 5:16–24 (ESV)
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. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Understanding and Applying the Word
Paul gives us a contrast between living life according to the “flesh” and living life according to the ‘Spirit”. The word flesh in this passage refers to our natural or worldly way of life. It is the life of sin that all people live before they are born again through faith in Jesus Christ. When we come to saving faith in Christ, we are given new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. That new life is a life of holiness and obedience to the word of God. When Paul speaks here of the Spirit, he is referring to the Holy Spirit and the life we live under his direction.
What does new life through the Holy Spirit look like? We are given a list of characteristics beginning in verse 22. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As we grow in our Christian lives, these characteristics should become more and more the defining markers of our character. Our old way of life should fade away as the work of the Spirit grows and grows. Lord, let your Spirit continue to work in us and let our lives be a wonderful display of the fruit of your work in our hearts!
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