Power and Presence
Mighty God, sometimes I forget Your awesome power and glory. I kneel before You, the One who was, and is, and is to come.
Read Galatians 5:16-26
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The evidence of the fullness of the Holy Spirit is seen in moral righteousness and in the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (22–26).
Yesterday’s reading ended with a command to love (Gal. 5:13–15), but love is easier said than done. How can we be loving when we lack the inner goodness to manage this on our own? Some Galatians might have said, “That’s why we need the Law. It shows us how to behave. It will teach us what to do.” Paul, however, tells of a different resource—God’s Holy Spirit. The Galatians had encountered the Spirit at the very start of their Christian lives (Gal. 3:2–5). Now Paul wants them to draw on the Spirit’s strength and guidance in their daily conduct. He is confident that the Spirit, unlike the Law, can supply power and goodness.
How should the Christian relate to the Spirit? Be led (18). Nurture what the Spirit wants (17). Let your lives be a harvest (22,23). Keep in step (25). Christian living is about path and product: choosing the Spirit’s route and growing the Spirit’s fruit.
The expression “sinful nature” appears several times in these verses (16,17, 19,24). The Greek word is “flesh,” suggesting the frailty of character that goes with being human. Not that all our sins are bodily. The “acts of the sinful nature” (19)—”works of the flesh” in some older Bibles—are the product of a flawed will and fragile emotions, as well as of selfish bodies. The Holy Spirit transforms all of this. The Spirit is a power from outside ourselves, sent in the name of Jesus (Gal. 4:6), breathing surely and strongly through our humanity and bearing rich and gentle fruit to nourish our neighbor and honor our Lord (22,23). “Flesh” no longer calls the shots; its era has come to an end (24). The Spirit sets the pace and rhythm of our living (25).
“Keep in step” (25). Like soldiers marching? Like partners dancing? As music to move to? Like following footprints on a beach? How do you respond to the life of God’s Spirit?
Come, Holy Spirit, renew me and renew my world with the love of Jesus.
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