Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July 5 - Galatians 5

Today's reading in our daily plan is Galatians 5. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Paul continues his thoughts from yesterday. We are free in Christ. So, living by the law and attempting to "earn" his approval takes away our freedom, makes us slaves, and actually alienates us from God.
  • The Galatians believed that circumcision,  an act that was part of Jewish law, would make them "better" people, and therefore, bring them closer to God. But once again, trying to earn good standing with God doesn't work. It actually causes us to "fall from grace" (verse 4). As Paul says, you either need to follow all of the law or none of it. You can't pick and choose. The only thing that saves us is faith.
  • God's gift of grace allows us to be free from religious systems. But, his love is not an excuse to sin, but rather to serve and love each other. Under Jesus there is only one law, and that is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
  • We all have a choice to either live in sin (our natural and selfish instincts) or to live by the Spirit of God (the supernatural power God gives us when we accept him). These two are in complete conflict with one another and cannot co-exist. If we feed our sin, it will lead to destruction and selfish behavior, and we will not enter heaven (verse 21). But, if we live in the Spirit we will produce spiritual "fruits" that expresses the character 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 to love and to live for God as a grateful person.
  • There is a battle in every Christian. Our natural flesh pushes us to live selfish and godless lives. But God's Spirit inspires and empowers us to live selfless, loving, 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 fruits of the Spirit (verses 22-23) and honestly assess which ones are more characteristic of your life right now. Choose today to walk in the Spirit every day for the rest of your life. 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 are connecting with God on a daily basis so you can keep in step with the Spirit?