Summary: Remember, the source of most quarrels begins within one’s own desires. James writes, "You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on yo

Galatians 5:17-5:21

What are some of the best ways to relate to carnal Christians?

Illustration: Where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? —1 Corinthians 3:3

Why do we hear of Christians who are pitted against Christians over such issues as the color of the carpet, the thermostat setting, and whether the choir should wear robes.

Pastors have been run out of town during these kinds of arguments. Christians have cut off friendships. Churches have split because folks argued about such things.

Why does this happen? People who get caught up in petty squabbles have lost sight of what a God’s design for His body is for. The church is the place we go for worship, for reading the Word, for singing to God’s glory, for serving others, and for helping one another to grow. It’s supposed to be a place of love, forgiveness, and encouragement.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, he described the unity of purpose (4:1-16) that should help us to work through disagreements without creating divisions. He knew all too well how selfish desires, personal agendas, and playing favorites could create havoc (1 Corinthians 3:1-9). (Branson, Our Daily Bread)

1. Let everyone know the advantages of being controlled by the Spirit versus the disadvantages of living according to one’s fleshly desires. Paul writes, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry, and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy,fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:19-22)

Illustration: A former commander of the Imperial Russian Navy said that he went to London during World War I for training. There he learned how to fly one of three dirigibles that Russia had bought from England.

But first he had to learn to fly a balloon. He recalled getting into the gondola and seeing all four sides covered with sandbags. To begin the ascent, sand was released until the huge balloon slowly lifted off the ground. As more sand went over the side, the craft ascended higher.

The man then applied this to our relationship with the Lord: "Now that I’m a Christian, I understand that when God begins to clean up my heart, I get closer and closer to Him."

Hebrews 12:1 and 1 John 2:15 express that same spiritual truth. Carrying this world’s weight hampers our fellowship with the Lord and keeps our hearts from rising in love for Him. John wrote that we cannot love the world and love God at the same time. How often we have proven from experience just how true that is!

Selfish attitudes, besetting sins, and worldly cares keep us from getting off the ground spiritually. But when we lay them aside, we experience the uplifting joy of fellowship with the Father. --MRD II (Our Daily Bread)

2. Encourage people to not be argumentative through your own fine example. Paul writes, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Gal. 5:25,26)

3. Help people see the advantages of using their Christian liberties for God’s purposes instead of their own. Paul writes, "But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love. The entire Law is summed up in a single command, ’Love your neighbor as yourself’."(Gal. 5:14)

4. Avoid people who habitually cause divisions and like to argue. Paul writes, "I urge you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.... I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. (Rom.16:17-19)

5. Exhort people to not follow the patterns of the non-Christians of this world. Paul writes, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Rom. 12:2) .

6. Encourage people to grow up in all aspects in their spiritual maturity. Paul writes, "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly - mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still carnal. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not carnal? Are you not acting like mere men? (I Cor. 3:1-3)

7. Be alert and cautious to people who would rather have you live by popular philsophies rather than the truth of the scriptures. Paul writes, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Col. 2:8)

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