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Christ is Enough…to Equip us with His Spirit – Blog and Podcast

November 23, 2018

What does it mean to live by the Spirit? To walk by the Spirit? Does that mean that I’m waiting on some mystic power to come reveal itself to me and just go as the mystic spirit directs? Does it mean if my spirit doesn’t want to do something, I am not obligated to do it? Those may sound like ridiculous ideas, but there are likely some who would embrace those ideas, however unscriptural they are.

Paul spends the book of Galatians challenging the Galatian believers to follow the person of Christ rather than a list of rules. The idea is that in following Christ, He will equip you with the power of His Holy Spirit to live the best life. That is living by the Spirit.

In our passage for today, Paul contrasts living according to the Holy Spirit with living according to the flesh. It’s one or the other that has control. One leads to life and the other leads down a bad path.

Galatians 5:16-26,16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,,drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

So how can we do this? How can we live by the Spirit? First of all, we must acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is sufficient. The Spirit is complete in all that He does and works best when He’s given full control. I believe we can see from this passage, three things the Holy Spirit is sufficient to accomplish.

The Holy Spirit is sufficient to keep us out of conflict. Flesh desires what is against the Spirit and Spirit desires what is against the flesh. They are in conflict, and to try and live in both worlds is frustrating. Reliance on the Holy Spirit means God has control. Reliance on the flesh means that I’m in control. Who do I trust more – God or myself?

Secondly, the Holy Spirit is sufficient to reveal the works of flesh. Paul gives quite a list here, covering sex, religion and relationships. In regard to sex, he says works of the flesh include sexual immorality, moral impurity, and promiscuity. In regard to religion, Paul challenges believers to avoid idolatry and sorcery. In regard to relationships, Paul says that works of the flesh include hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and carousing. These are all opposed to the flesh.

Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is sufficient to equip us to bear fruit. The opposite of the works of flesh includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control. There is no law against any of these. Without the Spirit, we cannot remain faithful in these and with the Spirit, we naturally begin to bear these out. However, our motivation is not simply to bear fruit, because on our own we can get arrogant or begin to take credit for our faithfulness. It is the Spirit that equips us.

So, how do we walk in the Spirit?

First of all, we choose to follow the Spirit. Jesus said, “take up your cross daily and follow me”. It’s a daily choice to follow Christ, to be led by the Spirit. Consciously make that choice daily.

Secondly, we must deal with the obvious. If there are issues you struggle with that are in that list of works of flesh, take that as the Holy Spirit revealing that to you and deal with them right away. Don’t miss the full life in the Holy Spirit because of a personal conflict, habit or hang-up.

Thirdly, be honest about yourself. Don’t look at yourself as you see yourself, but through the lens of God’s Word. Don’t try to justify your behaviors and attitudes to the Lord. He knows not only your actions, but your heart. The more honest you get, the more you will be reliant on the Holy Spirit of God.

Finally, get to know Jesus. It sounds obvious, but don’t just pursue an obedience relationship to commands, pursue a true relationship with Christ. He is the Truth, He is the Light, He is the Way. Spend time with Him. Read His Word not just for knowledge but to get to know Him. Pray not only to give your list, but to get to know His heart and share yours.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts, Podcasts

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