SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Attempting to "earn" good standing with God takes away our freedom, makes us slaves, and actually alienates us from God.
- The Galatians thought that by being circumcised they could earn something from God, but by trying to earn good standing with God actually causes us to "fall from grace" (verse 4).
- We don't need to be slaves to a religious system, but instead can be free because of God's love freely given to us. Once we have this love, we are to love others (verses 13-14).
- We can live by the flesh (our natural and selfish instincts) or by the Spirit (the supernatural power and selfless instincts God puts in us). Those who live by the flesh will produce selfish and destructive actions, and will not inherit the Kingdom of God (verse 21). Those who live by the Spirit will produce "fruit" in their lives that are characteristic of God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- We don't need to earn God's love or acceptance, because He has already given it to us. Instead of trying to earn it, we simply need to accept it, and live the rest of our lives freed up to love and to live for God as a grateful response.
- There is a battle in every Christian. The flesh pushes us to live selfish and godless lives. The Spirit inspires and empowers us to live selfless and godly lives. We need to keep in step with the Spirit so our lives can show God our gratitude and be a reflection of Him for others to see.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Read the acts of the flesh (verses 19-21) and the fruit of the Spirit (verses 22-23) and honestly asses which are more characteristic of your life. Choose today to walk in the Spirit every day for the rest of your lives. The way you'll see this life change is not by trying, but by connecting with God so that His Spirit is full and alive in you. What are ways you connect with God on a daily basis so you can keep in step with the Spirit?