Compassion

The Work of the Spirit

today7 months ago

Background
share close


Photo by Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash

In Galatians 5, Paul gives us a contrast between the impact of the sinful nature and the work of the Spirit. The Spirit brings life!

Scripture:

Job, chapters 31-32; Galatians, chapters 5-6

Galatians 5:13-26 (NLT):

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

Living by the Spirit’s Power

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 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. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 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.

The Fruit of the Spirit

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Observations:

The Work of the Spirit: Motivating Us to Serve

Several things stand out to me from today’s passage. Paul makes a clear contrast between the acts and inclination of the sinful nature and those produced by the Holy Spirit. First, in verse 13, he tells us, Don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.This illustrates the concept that the freedom we have in Christ is not only “freedom from”; it is also “freedom to.”  We are free from the requirement to follow the law of Moses, and we are free to serve one another.

“Freedom from” is more of a judicial principle; we are not bound by the terms of the old covenant. (Please note that this does not mean that there are no commands to be followed. After all, Jesus told his disciples that their love is demonstrated by obedience [John 15:10, 14].) “Freedom from” also means that the Spirit cleanses us and gives us freedom from the control of our sinful desires. On the other hand, “freedom to” is a principle of empowerment. The Spirit’s presence in us enables us to live according to Christ’s example – love one another.

The Work of the Spirit: Transforming Our Desires

Second, in verse 17, Paul says: 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. As long as the sinful nature is still in control of us, our desires are evil. Even when we convince ourselves that we’re “doing something good,” the motivation is always directed toward self. “What’s in it for me?” But when the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires, we find that our priorities become more and more aligned to those of Jesus.

The Work of the Spirit: Producing Spiritual Fruit

The evidence of where are desires are directed – toward what is evil or toward what is good – is the fruit that we bear. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. All of these “fruits” have a common element: satisfying selfish desires.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As you might expect, all of these “fruits” share a focus on serving one another. And Paul closes with this challenge: Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Application:  The Work of the Spirit: Unifying the Church

Disagreements within the “big C church” (the whole community of those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord) are unfortunately common. Because we’re human, we’re not able to fully understand everything about God’s will and his purposes. That means that we inevitably focus on one part or another. In turn, we find that there are some who agree with us, and others who disagree.

I’m preaching through Philippians right now, and it’s interesting how many times Paul talks about unity and settling disagreements in that letter. That’s not unusual; agreement among believers is a common topic for Paul. Even in a letter to Philippi, in which Paul focuses on joy, he still talks about unity.

The work of the Holy Spirit is to produce unity within the Church. Jesus prayed for that in John 17, and it is still God’s desire for us today. But it does not happen through our efforts! It happens when we follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Prayer:

Father, we acknowledge that many times we focus more on what we think than on what you want. We do that primarily by assuming that we know your will, rather than actively and intentionally seeking your will. Help us each day to know your will, and to do your will. That is what will enable your Kingdom to come and your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Lord, as we seek to do your will each day, help us to recognize that doing your will often means that we “empty ourselves” just as Jesus did (Philippians 2:5-8). Thank you for “freedom from” sinful desires, and “freedom to” serve one another in love. Amen.





Source link

Written by: OchriO

Rate it

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


0%