Saturday, June 21, 2008

S.O.A.P. - Galatians 5 and 6

Scripture

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

“You were running well, who hindered you from obeying the truth?” – Galatians 5:7

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”- Galatians 5:9

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkennes, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:19 – 25

“Do not be deceieved, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” – Galatians 6:7-10

Observation

Christ set us free from the slavery of sin. Why is it that we continually pick our sins and our burdens back up and forsake the freedom we’ve been given? I know I’m guilty of it! I know that I fail to trust God to take care of things and I feel like I have to take care of them myself (as if I could!). In taking those things back upon myself or choosing not to walk in the Spirit, I hand over the freedom Christ has given me and put myself back in chains. It seems so crazy, yet I do it all the time!

“You were running so well…”. How many times have I suffered set backs in my walk because I got tired of being “good” and choosing what is right. How many times have I felt like God has let me down and that what I’m doing for Him isn’t paying off like I think it should? How many times have I let the words or teachings of other people distract me from what I know to be true. Too many. We are to hold fast and stand firm and not grow weary or lose heart in doing good. “In due time we will reap if we do not grow weary”. My timing is so often not the Lord’s, but His is always right. I’ve learned that lesson over and over again, but I still get tired sometimes. I think that’s our nature as humans, but I shouldn’t be living in my flesh but walking in the Spirit.

If I am walking in the Spirit, I “will not carry out the desire of the flesh”. It is by walking in the Spirit that I am able to subdue and control my sin nature. It is also by the Spirit that I am given the gifts of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. I like how Paul compares the things of wickedness to the fruit of the Spirit:

Deeds of the Flesh
  • Immorality
  • Impurity
  • Sensuality
  • Idolatry
  • Sorcery
  • Enmities
  • Strife
  • Jealousy
  • Outbursts of Anger
  • Disputes
  • Dissensions
  • Factions
  • Envying
  • Drunkenness
  • Carousing
  • (And things like these)

Fruit of the Spirit

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

Which list of words would you rather have describe you? I know that too often, the list on the left characterizes my actions more than the one on the right. “Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked; for watever a man sows, this he will also reap”. Am I sowing the fruits of the Spirit into my life? Am I daily meeting with the Lord and falling in love with Him? Am I pursuing holiness and the things of heaven or do I envy the things of this world? Am I choosing the desires of the flesh and wondering why I have outbursts of anger or fits of jealousy? I shouldn’t wonder. What a man reaps, that will he sow. What we put into our hearts and minds and allow into our lives WILL BEAR FRUIT! What seeds am I sowing? Am I taking time to pull the weeds out of the garden of my heart and make room for the fruit of the Spirit or am I letting them grow and strangle the things of the Lord?

Application

I need to pay attention to what I am sowing in my life and into the lives of others. I need to pursue holiness and choose to surround myself with others who will sow good things into my life and keep me accountable for what I am choosing. I need to walk in the Spirit and spend more time in the Word and in prayer so that those seeds bear fruit in my life. I need to be a careful gardener in my heart. I need to plant only what is good and remove what is of the flesh before it has time to take root and bear fruit.

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough”. “You were running so well, who hindered you from obeying the truth”. I need to remember that my associations matter. It’s important to surround myself with people who love God and who are willing to call me out when I am being disobedient. It is also important to connect with those who do not believe, but I need to be careful in those associations to not let them pull me down. My close friends should be those who love God and are seeking holiness. I need to be around those who will sharpen me and allow me to sharpen them so that we may be better servants of our Lord.

Practice Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. Be aware of when these things are missing from my life and uproot the weed that is choking them out.

Prayer

Dear Father,
I pray that You will help me walk in the Spirit. I want to be more like You and have the fruit of the Spirit present in my life. Lord, help me not grow weary but to choose what is right. Give me eyes to see the things in my life that need to be uprooted and that are producing fruit of the flesh. Help me trust You and lean into You and live in the freedom You’ve given me in Christ.

(These chapters are also great to read in The Message Version: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians%205-6;&version=65; )

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