Reading For Monday Galatians 5:16-6:10
Paul offers the remedy for the dilemma that he has just established and exhorts the followers of Christ to walk by the Spirit because the Spirit will not lead people to sin. Our conflict with the desires of the flesh come from the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. Our flesh is the enemy within that seeks our destruction. Augustine used to pray, “Lord, deliver me from that evil man, myself.” Paul comments on this war that rages within when he said:
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” (Romans 7:18–21, ESV)
However, when we walk by the Spirit, there is joy and freedom. Paul then begins a list, not exhaustive, but extensive. Do not be misled into thinking that this by checking this list and that one is free from the works of the flesh because Paul places the addendum, "and things like these" at the end. The ongoing practice of the works of the flesh results in not inheriting the kingdom of God.
Paul then juxtaposes the fruit of the Spirit with the works of the flesh. Here one finds the beauty of the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer next to the destructive works of the flesh. This fruit is the result of a rooted abiding. This fruit is not perfect immediately, but it grows over time as we abide in Jesus. We must kill the flesh. This is the daily challenge and directive for the believer. If you are not mortifying the flesh, it is killing you. Does mortifying the flesh and keeping in step with the Spirit mean perfection? No. We will never be perfect this side of heaven. Every Christian has an inner struggle, and the mortification of the flesh takes a long time.
Part of sanctification happens in a community as the body of Christ cares for one another. When someone falls into sin, those who are mature should gently restore that person. It is a careful process, and must not be done out of curiosity or pride. It is not condemnation; we carry one another’s burdens. We each have a load to bear—made up of temptations, failures, problems, and sorrows, but we are called to help one another. Paul compares our life to a harvest. What we grow will depend on what we sow. Teachers should receive a harvest of good things from those who learn. This is also true of our spiritual life. God will not be mocked. If we sow to satisfy our old nature, we will become corrupt and be destroyed. If we sow to please the Spirit, we will grow in holiness and reap eternal life. So as we have opportunity, let us do good to all.
Things To Consider:
- How do you walk by the Spirit?
- How does one wage war against the flesh?
- What are the weapons of the internal war?
- Since we do not experience perfection in this life, how must we cope with sin?
- How can we assess whether or not we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit?
- What are some temptations we face when we see our friends sinning?
- How should we approach the one caught in transgression?
- Why must humility be a part of restoration for all involved?
- Does holiness matter? Why or why not?
- How do we fight against the weariness of doing good?
- What opportunities do you have around you for doing good to those in the household of faith?