Friday, June 30, 2017

June 30 - 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 the previous chapter, saying that we are free in Christ. So seeking to live by the law and attempting to "earn" God's 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 tradition and law, would make them better people and 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 need to approach God through the law or through faith. You can't do it through a combination of both. If you pick the law, you have to follow it perfectly. That's why the only thing that can truly save us is faith.
  • God's gift of grace allows us to be free from the law. But God's grace does not provide an excuse for us to sin, but rather a motivation for us to love and serve.
  • 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 conflict with each another. If we feed our sin, it will lead us to selfish behavior and to destruction, and we will not enter heaven (verse 21). But, if we live in the Spirit we will produce spiritual "fruit" 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 in gratitude.
  • 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). Honestly assess which ones are more characteristic of your life right now. Choose 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 daily 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?
    • Is there something you're not doing consistently that you need to start doing?