Life In the Spirit

Posted: January 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

Galatians 5:1 tells us that, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. And yet for the first century Christians this was a hard concept to grasp. After all, it had not been that long ago that the law of Moses was the way to God. Now Paul and others were proclaiming that salvation was by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus alone.

Coming from a works-based background many struggled and found themselves trying to incorporate faith and works as the means of salvation. This lead to strife among the believers, in effect dividing them into two camps. On one side were those who accepted that salvation was a free gift based on the grace of God received by faith alone. On the other side were those who felt that salvation was a combination of faith and works based on the law. Paul warned in Galatians 5:15 that, If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. He then went on to exhort them in verse 16 to live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

It’s interesting to me that Paul saw this division as a means of gratifying the sinful nature. However it makes a lot of sense when you consider that virtually all of our “issues” are a result of the sinful nature.

Paul spends the next several verses clearly detailing what the sinful nature looks like and teaching us how to walk in the freedom that is ours in Christ. Take a few moments and read the instructions Paul gives us in Galatians 5:16-26 (NLT).

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

That’s quite a mouth full. Let me simplify it for you. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him (Colossians 2:6).

Sounds great doesn’t it? But how does it work here in the real world? It’s great to have this list of does and don’ts, but how do you actually do this? How do you follow the Spirit?

It’s really quite simple. Go back to Colossians 2:6. Paul said, As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. How did you receive Christ Jesus as Lord? You received Him by faith. How then do you follow Him? You follow Him the same way… by faith.

Think of it this way. God has called us to follow, or walk in the Spirit not the flesh, but most of us have it backwards. We look at our circumstances and pray for deliverance rather than recognizing by faith that we have already been delivered and walk accordingly.

Faith is easy. We make it difficult when we try to fit it into our belief system. What if we open our minds and our spirit to the reality of faith in spite of our belief system. Isn’t that what Paul was saying when he said that since we live by the Spirit we should also walk in the Spirit?

As we have discussed before, our problem is one of focus. We already have the power to walk in victory over our circumstances. Ephesians 3:20 says, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

How does He do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine? He does it according to his power that is at work within us.

I think there comes a time for each of us where we have to stop and take our eyes off of ourselves and our “stuff” and just look at Jesus. Instead of trying to “fix it,” whatever “it” is, let’s take on the attitude that Paul had in Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Now that’s life in the Spirit!

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