For the past few days, God has been speaking to me through Galatians 5. I’ve read over it and just let it simmer in my spirit. It’s a passage full of deep truths about walking by the Spirit instead of the flesh. I’m not going to attempt to break down each verse. Rather, I’ll discuss what the passage has spoken to me, in light of my daily application of the scriptures.
So a little overview … In Galatians 5, Paul is speaking to believers (those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior and Lord). He explains that we have received freedom in Christ. The yoke of slavery to sin has been broken through Christ’s shed blood on the cross. Christ washed our sins away through the sacrifice of himself and has given us the Holy Spirit who lives in us. The Spirit empowers us to live holy lives, set apart for Him. But we still live in this world in a fleshly body. Here’s the chunk of scripture that has really been speaking to me:
16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Gal. 5:16-25, NASB)
That Word preaches! God is so good. He has given His expectations for us, but He has also given us exactly what we need to accomplish them! His Spirit guides us. Oh, how I desire to walk in His Spirit! I pray that my life displays the fruit of the Spirit!
As a wife and mom at home with my babies most of the time, I am given ample opportunity to act and make choices from my flesh. I assume you can relate. Some days are better than others as far as the kids’ behavior. But daily surrendering my day to Him is essential. If I get up and going and into my daily routine without getting into the Word and praying early on, I pay for it later! And sometimes not so later!
I’m the lifeline for my five month old. Let’s just say, I’m her “dairy queen.” She lets me know when she needs me, and I can never be too far away. And it never fails, I just get settled nursing her when another one of my children needs something or starts being mischievous. I’ll give you an example. I sit down to nurse baby girl when my three year old says he has to go use the bathroom. He usually does just fine by himself until he’s done. Then I hear, “Momma, I’m done! Come wipe me!” And if the other two boys are home, that can very well be accompanied by wrestling and loud rough housing going on, and I have to referee and make them stop! I’m just one person being pulled in many different directions! And I’m the only one there at the time to do the job! Some days, just the thought of all I’ve got ahead of me is enough to bring a stress knot on my back. But this is when I’m acting with my own strength. Or lack of! When I do things in my flesh, I always fall short. I’m much more prone to be negative, to yell at my kids, to turn into a stressed, crying, emotional mess, to be short or snap at my husband … you know how it goes. When you feel you’re at the end of your rope, it’s much easier to break. To me, flesh equals fail.
But walking in the Spirit equals victory. God has already won. And He gives us everything we need to overcome “the deeds of the flesh” and exude “the fruit of the Spirit [which] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” That sure does sound better to me!
So I know that if I “walk by the Spirit, [I} will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” But how do I walk by the Spirit? Galatians tells me “if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” If Christ has set me free (which He has), then I have His Spirit living in me! I just have to choose to walk in Him, rather than live according to my fleshly desires or in some cases, tendencies (like the tendency to raise my voice when I’m up to here *hand above my head* in stress). And I’ve found some practical ways that help me walk in Him daily.
The first is prayer! We underestimate the power of prayer far too often! I was just talking the other day with my friend, Katie (who is also one who encouraged me to start this blog -- she also has a great blog), about how prayer really makes a difference. She shared how He has been answering her prayers, big and small, and making her prayer life stronger. Friends, He wants for us to cry out to Him, thanking Him for His love and goodness. He wants us to relinquish our control and recognize that without His power in our life, we will fail. He wants us to express our needs and longings to Him. We tell our best friends and spouses what we’re going through. And y’all, he’s the best friend we’re ever going to have!! Think about that. If that doesn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will!
Just this week, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time praying for my children throughout the day as I think of them. Just this one act of obedience has helped me. It doesn’t necessarily mean the kids act better (although it can, just not in my case yet). But it does mean that I no longer get impatient and stressed when dealing with them! The prayer changes me. It aligns my heart and perspective with the Father’s! Prayer makes all the difference in the world! It is walking in the Spirit. For me, prayer helps me to see things outside of the box, like I’m looking in on the situation. It’s like I can see myself in the moment on the verge of a choice to do it His way or my way. And when I’ve prayed, my heart is softened to His way.
Another huge way I’m able to walk in the Spirit is reading the bible at least a few minutes each morning. The encouragement and LIFE that I gain from reading His words to me are irreplaceable. You’d be surprised at how just being obedient in reading His word, He will pinpoint your situation or struggles that you’re going through at that moment and offer His way, His encouragement. It’s supernatural and amazing the way He works!!
Friends, I pray that as you read through Galatians 5 and all of the living Word of God, that He speaks to you in a fresh way. Be encouraged and challenged to walk in His Spirit every day!