Are you looking for the secret to fruit-filled living? Well, look no further, here’s your answer.
Walk by the Spirit.
That’s it folks. Galatians 5:16-26 does not tell us “Go, be more patient. Learn to be more self-controlled. And, would you stop those fits of anger already?”
There is just one central command. Walk by the Spirit.
In verse 16, the Greek word used here is peripateo, which is derived from the word peri (all around) and pateo (to tread). So, the meaning here is to walk around.
Everywhere, all the time, walk by the spirit.
But Paul uses a different greek word in verse 25. Stoicheo, which means to keep in step with. Like those following their military orders.
“Left, left, left, right, left.”
The Spirit of God is moving and active. We are to follow Him, listening and waiting for our marching orders, ready to conform to His plan for every moment of our days.
If we do not keep in step with the Holy Spirit, we do not just stand still. By default we walk in the flesh.
Walk by the power of the Holy Spirit, and fruit will come.
Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
Oh how I get this backwards! I like to focus on the “to-do”s, as if I can produce patience or love through working hard for it. But trying to keep up with any sort of list is exhausting, and ultimately a futile pursuit. My “to-do” list is ultimately the way of the flesh.
I can never do all the “do”s and don’t all the “don’t”s. There is only one thing I can do that will bring any hope for change. Stay needy.
As you and I walk by the power of the Spirit, it is only then we have hope for the fruit we long for in our lives. Because, it is only then we are in step with the only One who can bring fruit.
Seeing the fruit of the Spirit in my life brings assurance of my salvation.
I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God…And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:21,24
The nastiness of the flesh comes easy. I don’t have to exert much effort to have fits of anger when my children push my buttons. The outbursts just happen. I don’t tell myself to be jealous of another’s waist size, most days it seems innate.
But there are days when I can see the fruit and I know that it came from outside of myself. When I get a paycheck, and I want to give as much of it as I can to gospel causes. When I pick up the messes in my house one more time, and find joy in serving my family. When I shut the computer down and get to bed on time, so I can wake at 5:30 to spend time with my God.
My sinful flesh wants to sleep in (and does), it constantly craves more stuff, and it certainly does not want to serve others. So it is in these moments, when I do contrary to what my flesh desires, that I see fruit. It is through seeing this fruit in my life that I can know that there is an all-powerful God who loves me and is working in me to produce this fruit, because I am His child.
Walk by the Spirit = Abide in Christ
This coming week we will be studying John 15:1-11, a passage all about abiding in the Vine. This is just another metaphor for the same thing- stay in His presence.
What did you learn this week through Galatians 5:16-26? Feel free to share any links to posts you’ve written!