Summary: There are life style options for Christians.In Galatians 5th chapter the Apostle Paul points out two ways of living and their consequences.
For many in America daily breakfast happens on the run on their way to work, for others it happens at home at the kitchen table. It is a matter of making choices between an endless variety of cereals, breads, pastries, or maybe plain oats. If you are to choose between a BIG Mac and a platter of fruit in the morning which one would you choose? As early as 1871-1884, “Hamburg Beefsteak” was on the “Breakfast and Supper Menu” of the Clipper Restaurant in San Fernando. It cost 10 cents. In our breakfast, my wife makes sure and insists that we eat some fruit every day. I wonder why anyone would choose a hamburger instead of fruit.
The following incident may throw some light on why people like to eat certain bad foods to their detriment In Feb 2012 the Heart Attack Grill in downtown Las Vegas lived up to its name Saturday night, when a customer dining on a "triple bypass burger" suffered an apparent heart attack. The restaurant is known for not holding back on its menu. Signs around the business glorify bad eating habits and the menu includes items like Flatliner Fries, and Butterfat Milkshakes. One meal, the "Quadruple Bypass Burger," contains 8,000 calories. The staff at the Heart Attack Grill willingly glorifies bad health. If you weigh over 350 pounds, you eat for free.” It looks like we have a preference for bad food because; as we've so often observed, bad food seems to taste better than good food. A Hamburger, McDonald’s creation tastes good but is bad for our health. On the other hand fruit is God’s gift to mankind and it not only tastes good but is essential for a healthy life style.
Thankfully our nation has come a long way in recent years. There is a lot more awareness about healthy choices. The food habits of many are taking a turn for the better.
At a whole other level, we see a presentation of lifestyle choices for Christians in Galatians 5th chapter. The Apostle Paul points out two ways of living and their consequences The first option is to live according to the flesh or sinful nature. What would that look like? The Message Bible renders it so poignantly, it is “repetitive, loveless, cheap sex, a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never satisfied wants; a brutal temper(anger), an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and controllable addictions.” (Gal 5:19-21).
The second option however is a spirit filled life. What would that look like? According to the Message Bible, “But what happens when we live God’s way. He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” What the author of the Message Bible Eugene Peterson is talking about here, is nothing but what is familiarly known as the Fruit of the Holy Spirit in Gal 5:22.
Paul opens up Galatians 5th chapter with these words, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” This verse refers to all those who are born again, in other words the ones Christ has set free from the bondage or the slavery to Sin. Paul urges the believers again in Vs 13, “You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.”
When we give our lives over to Christ we have been made free to choose either to continue to live according to the sinful nature or the spirit filled nature. The choice we make determines the lifestyle and our destiny. Paul clearly shows the difference between these two lifestyles in Gal 5:16-18 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law.”
By urging the believers to live by the Spirit and not to gratify the desires of the flesh in a sense Paul is saying to them to say, "no thanks" to these "works" of the flesh, despite their great appeal to our fleshly palates. Let's be real here, we may very well abstain from sexual immorality and sorthos of addictions but how about hot temper or anger?