WALKING IN FREEDOM
- Key Verse
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (Galatians 5:18)
- READ THE CHAPTER
There is freedom found in living by grace through the Spirit, not striving for perfection through our own strength.
I can't help but think of the chorus of an old Darrell Evans song, "Freedom," in which Galatians 5:18 (and 2 Corinthians 3:17) is proclaimed. I also can't help but think of all the ways I've experienced freedom through Christ. One of the most significant ways in which I've experienced freedom is through recognizing my need for God's grace and accepting it.
Like me, you've probably had the experience of studying something for a long time, but, for whatever reason, never really "getting it." But then something happens that makes you finally understand it. A few years ago, I had such an experience regarding God's freedom-giving grace. My son, Jonathan, and I were on the road to visit my parents and were listening to Bible verses set to music. At one point, he asked me what one of the verses in the song meant. While I was being super-Christian mom and in the middle of my explanation, a truck suddenly swerved into the HOV lane in front of me, forcing me to slam on my breaks. I went from explaining a Bible verse to my young son to shouting an expletive at the top of my lungs in an instant, followed by a few miles of honking my horn (literally).
In the past, I would have beat myself up for weeks, feeling guilty for using that kind of language, especially in front of my kid. I would have changed nothing in my heart, only tried harder to control my actions and speech. Thankfully, after seeking forgiveness from both God and Jonathan, I was able to laugh about it not long after it happened. Of course, the sin was no laughing matter, but the irony of what happened was funny, you have to admit. Because I was no longer letting guilt rule and focus on my actions alone, I was able to examine my heart and work on increasing some of the fruits that come from walking by the Spirit (found in Galatians 5:22) -- especially patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control -- all while decreasing "deeds of the flesh," especially anger (verses 19-21).
1. Paul wrote this to the churches in Galatia because they were too focused on what people did or didn't do (circumcised vs. uncircumcised). If he were to write to you, what would he say you're too focused on that is preventing you from being led by the Spirit?
2. Review the list of "fruit of the Spirit" found in verses 22-23. What fruit do you need to increase? Make a plan today that includes Scripture memory related to that fruit and time in prayer asking God to make them available to you when you need them.
3. How would your speech, actions, and thoughts be different if you focused on the "whole law" of loving others as yourself (Galatians 5:14)?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
Galatians 3 - Ephesians 1 (July 30 - Aug 3)
Read Galatians 5:16-26.
• Look at the list of what your life looks like if you follow the sinful desires (flesh) and then look at the list of a life controlled by the Holy Spirit.
• What are your responses to the two different lists?
• Which list shows more about God's love to others?
• What are ways that you can be more diligent to let the Holy Spirit be in control more than your flesh?
• Talk through each of the qualities of being controlled by the Spirit . . . what do the words mean and how do they play out in your life?
Activity: Go to the grocery store together. Each person should pick out nine fruits. When you get home, take each quality of a life controlled by the Holy Spirit and attach it to one of the fruits. Take one fruit with you for lunch each day. Before you eat the fruit, think back about how your morning has gone. Have you allowed the Spirit to be in control? Have you shown that fruit in your life to those around you? If so, praise God that He is working in your life and pray that you will continue to choose His way over your flesh. If not, pray now that you will have a better afternoon . . . of listening to and following the Spirit.