Thursday, March 19, 2015


I say then:
Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  (Galatians 5:16)

Christians know that they are supposed to be spiritual.  Thus, we try to be spiritual—and fail.  We know there are things we should not do and things we should do.  This leads us to act spiritual.  Acting spiritual, however, is hypocrisy!  The Pharisees were experts at it—and pointedly condemned by Christ for it.  What God wants is genuine spirituality!  This comes not from trying, but trusting; not of flesh, but of faith; not in rigor, but in rest; not an external code engraved on tables of stone, but an internal compulsion inscribed on the heart.  Genuine spirituality is not of self, but of the Spirit.

Consider THE LAW OF THE SPIRITUAL PERSON (Gal.5:13-15).  Paul has been stressing that believers are free from the bondage of the law.  Some would argue that preaching such a message of grace will be an excuse to sin.  True liberty is not license.  We are free—not to do what we want, but what God wills.  He cautions us not to use our liberty as an “opportunity for the flesh” (v.13).  The Greek word means, “a base of operations.”  We dare not let sin establish a beachhead.  Instead, it is by love that we serve one another in contrast to self-serving.  God’s commands are summed up in love (v.14) which sets our mandate and supplies our motivation.  The legalism Paul has decried instead provides fertile soil for conflict (v.15).  How sad when churches that profess love for God can become like a pack of wild animals devouring one another!

Observe THE LIFE OF THE SPIRITUAL PERSON (Gal.5:16-17).  Legalism is an impossible code that raises the bar ever higher.  Liberalism lowers the standards so that Biblical black and white become a gray mush.  Genuine spirituality is the life of the Spirit that not only embraces holiness—it enjoys it, being energized by His indwelling life!  There is a warning about the lust of the flesh (v.16).  So long as we are in this body of flesh, we are subject to lapse into the old patterns of thinking and living marked by the sin nature.  Church folk can become expert at hiding it with a façade of religious activity—driving the fleshly passions deeper, but allowing them to only fester until they emerge again—the infection of iniquity more loathsome than ever.  Flesh cannot defeat flesh (v.17).  Walking in the Spirit is the key.  When we walk physically, it is falling forward in faith—step by step—trusting that the leg and foot you throw out in front of you will catch you.  That is walking in the Spirit—stepping out in faith, trusting God.

Note THE LEADERSHIP OF THE SPIRITUAL PERSON (Gal.5:18).  To be led of the Spirit means hearing the Spirit’s message.  There is a Divine cadence that sets us to march in lockstep with Him—that is the Word He has inspired.  There is power in the Truth to set us free—as we meditate on its precepts and prayerfully apply them.  Hearing the message brings us to heeding the Spirit’s movement.  We walk in tandem with Him.  The further we go, the easier it is to recognize His leadership.  There is a comfort level developed in a consistent walk of faith—having our senses trained by holy habits (see Heb.5:14).  We rest in Him, rely on Him, finding both the desire and dynamic to obey (Phil.2:13).  This is genuine spirituality.

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