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May 29th, 2022: The Fruit of a Godly Life- Galatians 5:16-26

Think about the last time you drove your car. You got in, you had a destination in mind, and you started it up and took off. Contrast that experience to the way you behaved at 16 driving a car. At 16, you were thinking much differently. You were thinking about which pedal to push for gas and which for the brake, most likely taking a glance at your feet. You were thinking about the position of your hands, most likely looking at the steering wheel to find 10 and 2. You were thinking about the mirrors and gages, although you still should, but you were spending an unhealthy amount of time focused on them. What are you looking at today when you go for a drive? The road. There is a reason that insurance is higher for young drivers. They look everywhere except where they are going.

In a similar way, there is a difference between the behavior of a person who is trying to keep the law and a person who is walking in the Spirit. The first has an eye on their mistakes. They are focused on the rules. They are looking at themselves. The second has their eye on Jesus. They are following him. They are looking at the goal.

16: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

The beginning of this chapter persuades us that it will not benefit us to try and live by the law. No one will be saved that way. Those who kept God’s law in the Old Testament were saved by the fact that they trusted God to fulfill it, and He did by sending his Son. So, how are we to live on this side of the cross? We will never live a godly life by concentrating on our own behavior. We have to concentrate on the person, pattern, and perfection of Christ.

Walking in the Spirit means to set our minds on who Christ is and on His character. The Holy Spirit’s job is to glorify Jesus. It’s our job as well, to know who He is and worship Him. Our behavior then is patterned after the heart of Jesus. We want to love because He is love. We want to offer hope because He is our only hope. We want to be obedient to the Father because Christ was obedient in all ways. The pattern of His life, even His willingness to lay it down for others, is the one we are striving to honor.

Also, the perfection of Christ stands in stark contrast to our imperfection. A godly life is not a person glorying in their own self-righteousness, but humbly confessing their weakness and boldly proclaiming the strength of God. Not one person will be won by you talking about how good you are, their only chance is for you to introduce them to how good God is.

17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit lusteth against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things ye would.

Our human flesh is at war with the Spirit of God. The things I want, in the flesh, are always opposite of the things the Spirit wants me to have. When I am prevented from doing the good things I’d like to do, it’s because I am walking in the old way. A Christian can walk in the flesh, and they will be frustrated and dissatisfied, because the Holy Spirit’s job is to make them aware that those ways are dead and unprofitable. There’s misery in that way of living.

18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

If we are getting our direction from the Lord, following after Jesus and living His way, we don’t have to be under the burden of the law. Having our eyes on the goal, Jesus, will set us at liberty to do the things that please our father and escape misery that living a self-focused life produces.

19. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication uncleaness, lasciviousness,

20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21. Envyings, murders, drunkeness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

“The works of the flesh are manifest” they are easy to see and very obvious. Try as we might to live a good life outside of the power of God, we will fail. We won’t be able to hide works of the flesh because they are unmistakable. It’s an interesting list. Right there beside murder is envy. In the same line as witchcraft is strife. It’s interesting that some of these words have lost their meaning in our day, and yet they are prevalent. They rule churches sometimes and Christian families and they are destroying our joy and our witness to others. Some are easy to condemn and some are hard to deny.

Idolatry: extreme admiration, love, or reverence for anything but God.

Witchcraft: the word comes from a word that means “one who knows”. Beyond our idea of someone who has made a pact with the devil, a witch is someone who claims spititual knowledge and insight outside or contrary to the word of God.

Hatred: extreme dislike, aversion, or animosity.

Variance: the state or fact of disagreeing and quarreling.

Emulations: an effort to match and pass someone in achievement, making yourself higher than another.

Wrath: vengeful anger and retribution.

Strife: angry bitter conflict over fundamental issues.

Seditions: encouragements to rebel against authority.

Heresies: willful and persistent resistance to the word of God.

Envyingings: to feel unhappy because someone else has, or has accomplished something that you wanted.

Murders: the unlawful and premeditated killing of another. Jesus said, “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.”