Summary: Just as a mirror reflects our appearance, our lives are a reflection of who and what we are.
Text: Galatians 5:13-25
Thesis: Just as a mirror reflects our appearance, our lives are a reflection of who we are.
Every morning I roll out of bed and pitter-patter into the bathroom where I look into the mirror over the lavatory and I say to myself, “You handsome rascal you… nobody should be this good looking!”
A mirror has at least one reflective surface and if your mirror has a flat surface it is a “plane” mirror (not plain). When you look into a plane mirror a parallel beam of light changes directions while remaining parallel and the result is a virtual image. The mirror perfectly reflects what is before the mirror. What you see is an exact reflection of what you look like.
In that mirrors are primarily used for personal grooming or for admiring oneself they are also known as “looking glasses.”
Our text says that we live in a perpetual state of conflict: So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desire 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… Galatians 5:16-18
What our text describes is a choice between two irreconcilable ways of life. One is to live by or walk in the Spirit, which is a continuing condition or way of life. The other is to gratify the desires of the sinful nature, AKA, the old nature, fallen man, lower nature, the flesh, or the animal nature – depending on what translation you read.
Living by the Spirit means we live according to all that we are capable of in the freedom and grace of God. Living by the sinful nature means we live by all that we are capable apart from the grace of God in our lives.
These are the irreconcilable sides:
• The flesh keeps us from becoming the good person God wants us to become and doing the good God wants us to do.
• The Spirit keeps us from becoming a person who does whatever his baser nature desires.
This is a spiritual civil war in which our decisions determine if we will be free persons in Christ or slaves to our sinful nature. So when you look into the mirror, what do you see?
I. Does your mirror reflect a free, Spirit-led person or a person enslaved to the sinful nature? (When you look in the mirror, do you see a free-person or an enslaved?)
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. You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love. Galatians 5:1 and 13-15
The bible teaches in Galatians 2:16 that a person is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not be observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
The law says, “Be perfect!” The law says, “Earn God’s approval by being perfect in keeping the law.”
Grace says, “By faith!” Grace says, “Receive God’s approval by faith in the Christ’s righteousness rather than your own righteousness.”
When we try gain God’s approval by being good enough to be justified by our works we fail and find that we are in fact, slaves to our sinful nature and to the pull of sinful living. So we turn to Christ for forgiveness from all of our unrighteousness and to give us, not a righteousness that is our own, but his, thus freeing us from the law of sin and death. So what do we do with this new freedom?
A. Christ does not set us free so we can indulge in the sinful nature.
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! Romans 6:20-21
One day this week when I stopped to pick up our mail I noticed a lady in our neighborhood whose pet looks to be a black lab/shepherd cross. It is a large black dog with a great deal of energy. She walks him with one of those retractable reel leashes that allow the pet owner to let out twenty-five feet of leash so the dog can explore a bit off the beaten path and seize the opportunity to fertilize someone else’s lawn.
As I was watching the dog was romping about as dogs sometimes romp. And then he took off. He went to the end of the leash line, jerked the leash reel from his master’s hand and kept right on going. It was quite a sight… big black dog, barking with delight, romping without restraint this way and that, darting back and forth across the street with the handheld reel bouncing like a tin can at the end of the twenty-five feet of trailed out leash.