Summary: Message 6 in a six part series from Galatians 5.
“Life in the Spirit”
This is our last message exploring what life under the influence of the Holy Spirit looks like. Paul clearly instructed the Ephesians concerning their relationship to the Holy Spirit.
Therefore see to it you walk carefully, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit Eph 5:15-18
Paul warned them about their spiritual walk.
• He instructed them to live carefully. The term “carefully” could be translated “diligently” or exactly or perfectly.
• He instructed them to live wisely by wise time management.
• He instructed them to know what the will of the Lord is.
• He instructed them not to be under the influence of a substance that numbs the senses.
• He instructed them to be continually under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
All of the verbs here are in the present tense indicating action to be done as a lifestyle.
I. Life in the Spirit
A. It is a life of true freedom in the Spirit.
B. It is a life of competing passions. Spirit vs. Flesh
C. It is a life of godly behavior.
The Bible attributes numerous activities in our life to the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5 focuses on tangible and visible life change as a result of submitting to the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Paul called those visible life changes “the Fruit of the Spirit. The nine virtues listed in Galatians 5 are found all through the New Testament. These are all attributes of the Trinity demonstrated all through the Bible and human history.
1. Love vs. indifference
2. Joy vs. gloom, negativity
3. Peace vs. anxiety, worry, chaos
4. Long-suffering vs. short fuse
5. Kindness vs. apathy
6. Goodness vs. selfishness
7. Faith vs. doubt or trustworthy vs. unfaithful
8. Gentleness vs. harshness
9. Self-control vs. flesh-controlled
Logic dictates that those same attributes would unmistakably manifest in our life as we submit to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Stated simply, to the degree we submit to the influence of the Holy Spirit in our life we will manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our daily walk. It follows then, that to the degree we manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our life we will not fulfill the desires of the sinful flesh. It does not say that we will not feel the fleshly desires embedded in our members. But, we will not fulfill those driving passions. We will never escape the struggle between the fleshly passions embedded in our members and the longings of the Divinely created inner person. Through moment by moment submission to the Holy Spirit, there is hope for a different life. Paul joyfully declared that victory.
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:24-25
If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11
The key question then is, how can I consistently live under the influence (be filled with) of the Holy Spirit?
Several weeks ago I suggested five practices to consider in this regard. I would like to review those points and add a crucial sixth practice associated with a life powerfully influenced by the Holy Spirit. Because we had to rush through the latter practices in that list, today I want to reorder the list except for the first and most crucial one.
II. Living Life in the Spirit
How do we not continually succumb to the old impulses but genuinely manifest the character of Christ?
A. Continually submit to the direction and enabling of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God instructs us to live by the Spirit.
But I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
The key to victory has to do with our relationship to the Holy Spirit. The Bible employs many different terms to communicate the same concept. The concept has to do with a humble submission to the influence of the Holy Spirit in our life. Are we in vital relationship with Him? If not, we will carry out the desire of the flesh. If so, we will manifest the fruit of the same character found in the Trinity. It boils down to a moment by moment decision to listen to the flesh or the Spirit. If old fleshly patterns manifest, it simply means somewhere along the line we refused the direction of the Holy Spirit. Be continually be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. (Eph 5:18)