“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
The Galatians were backtracking into living under the law. The law had so many rules and regulations about it. What you could eat, how many times a day you needed to pray, and so on and so on. These Galatians had learned about Jesus in the past and yet, there were others who were still trying to put the yoke of the law on them. Paul is using the practice of circumcision to drive his point home. Once you have been set free from Christ you do not have to look to circumcision or keeping the law to make you righteous. Your righteousness comes from Christ and your faith in Him and what you do with it.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” Galatians 6:6
“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Galatians 7-9
Paul is pointing out that these Galatians are listening to the wrong people. There is an old nursery school song that goes “oh be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little ears what you hear, for the Father up above is looking down in love.” This is what Paul is saying to them. And he is saying it to us too. We should always be careful who and what we are listening to that will form our views. Things can come at us from all sides. I am sure these Galatians thought that what they were hearing and who they were listening to was good. They were preaching circumcision and the law. Paul is telling them check it with grace. Whether it be someone who is trying to feed you things that appear good but they are not or whether it be someone trying to feed you evil and you can recognize it from afar. You check it by the Holy Spirit who lives in you and by grace to see if it should stand.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 6:13-14
I don’t know about you but in learning about Paul’s letters, I have come to know and love Paul better and better. I love that he preaches grace and love. He is not saying that we have the freedom to do whatever we want to do in our fleshly nature. He is telling us to check the way we love others. But how do we maintain this freedom and stay in check. It sounds so exhausting.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 6:16-18
You see it really can be very simple. When you exercise your spiritual muscle and you get closer to Jesus and you learn to hear the Holy Spirit in your heart and mind, then you are not walking by the flesh, but you are walking by the Spirit. It just takes time, time to let the Spirit take over your thoughts and your desires. And over time of spending time in the word and in prayer, with the Spirit, you find your thoughts and your desires changing. And this is where the fruit of the Spirit take over your life.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 6:22-24
If you belong to Christ, and you cultivate your relationship with Him and with the Spirit, these things will become easier to see in your life. I learned the list of the fruit of the Spirit by singing the VBS songs every year. But my heart learns the fruit of the Spirit by walking with Jesus every day. That is not to say there aren’t a couple of fruit that I still struggle with. But:
“If we live by the Spirit; let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 6:25
I want to live by the Spirit, I want to do my best to keep in step with Him. I am not here to judge or to tell you what to lay down or what church to go to or what you should believe. I pray that others can see Jesus in me. I just want to introduce others to my best friend Jesus. I want my life to always point to Him.
Oh sweet Lord, thank you for walking with me every day. Lord, please be my guide and help me to keep in step with You!
Please pray for the medical professionals. And while you are at it, we have another big storm in the gulf threatening our coast. I’ve got people I love down there that I am praying specifically for. Please pray that Sally will calm down and that the damage will not be what they are expecting.