Tender HeartsHow can we avoid being spiritually stubborn and unresponsive to God?
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My Greatest Enemy
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives (v.25).
A Christian leader was once asked: “Who is your greatest enemy?” He replied, “Every morning I see him in the mirror.” Perhaps that’s the real reason why some of us are facing challenges in our marriage, school, work, or church. The person who’s giving us a hard time isn’t our spouse, our boss, or someone else. We are our own worst enemy.
Today’s reading in Galatians 5:1 explains why. Review the list of relational woes that Paul mentioned in Galatians 5:20, “hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, [and] envy.” The general impression created by these words is an absence of peace and joy, and the common feature is a root of self-centeredness or egocentricity.
Paul says that these are “acts of the flesh” (v.19 niv). And he goes on to tell us that there’s a better way to live. He wrote, “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (v.16). In other words, we need to surrender control. Our conduct needs to be directed by the “Holy Spirit [who] produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (vv.22-23).
With that said, consider that the word guide in verse 16 can also be translated as “walk.” Bible scholar Leon Morris comments, “Even though walking was slow and unspectacular, walking meant progress. If anyone kept walking, she or he would certainly cover the ground and eventually reach the destination. So for the apostle, walking was an apt metaphor. If any believer was walking, that believer was going somewhere.”
How can you experience love, joy, and peace in your life? Walk by the Spirit!
—Poh Fang Chia
Read Romans 8:3 for additional reasons why we ought to walk in the Spirit and not obey the desires of our sin nature.
Think of a specific activity you’ll be involved in this week. Visualize how it will look as you choose to yield to and walk by the Spirit. How will your attitude, words, and behavior change?
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