We are at war. But it’s not what many would recognize when first they heard those words. I’m not talking about a war between nations, not a war on some inanimate concept, such as the “war on poverty” or the “war on drugs.” I’m not even talking about the great divisions we see in the world today along political and ideological lines.
The battle I’m addressing is the one that rages within us, the battle between the Spirit and the flesh. The apostle Paul spent quite a bit of time dealing with and writing about this battle. It is this internal conflict that led Paul to write, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” in his letter to the Romans.
He also addressed the issue in his letter to the Galatians. He begins this particular discussion on the topic from a slightly different perspective. That of the freedom we have in Christ. Paul warns that we not turn or take advantage of the freedom we are granted in Jesus as an opportunity for the flesh, but that we should instead use that freedom to serve one another in love.
“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Paul then goes on to illustrate the differences between those ruled by the flesh and those walking in the Spirit. It’s interesting how Paul chooses to phrase this section. In his list of the “deeds of the flesh,” he uses the plural, “the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are…” But when it comes time to enumerate the qualities of a Spirit-led life he uses the singular, “the fruit of the Spirit is…”
The implication being that the deeds of the flesh are fractured, lacking unity and operate independently of one another. You can exhibit outbursts of anger but not necessarily be a jealous person. But the fruit of the Spirit is unified and each element complements the others. Love leads to joy which produces peace and so on.
The trick then for us believers is to allow the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in our daily lives, walking by the Spirit so that we “will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
This week I’ll be sharing verses from this passage in Galatians during Midday Prayer Time, around 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM.
Mon 05/07 Galatians 5:13 – 15
Tue 05/08 Galatians 5:16 – 18
Wed 05/09 Galatians 5:19 – 21
Thu 05/10 Galatians 5:22 – 23
Fri 05/11 Galatians 5:24 – 25
More Recent Posts