Summary: What are the tools in our toolbox the will enable us to live a victorious Christian life in the Spirit?
We all want to live the Victorious Christian Life. But the fact is we struggle day in a day out just keeping our heads above water. How is it done? What are we doing wrong? The Bible points us to all the key tools we need to live the life we are called to live. The problem is we don’t open our toolbox; we do not know or see the power that is available to us. Over the next few weeks we’re going to look at our spiritual tools.
Sometimes, when you enter a main highway or come to an intersection, you will see a sign with the word “YIELD” in large letters. The sign means that the driver on one road is to yield the right to proceed to any driver on the other road. The latter driver does not own the right of way; rather, another driver yields it to him. This is an excellent picture of what Christian liberty is all about. We are to yield our rights so that others may go on to greater maturity. No one can demand that another believer yield his rights; rather, as an act of maturity, he should see the need to give up his rights for the good of another. Perhaps we should make yield signs and put them up in our homes and churches—because it is a Christian philosophy to yield, to give way to other believers.
We also yield to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has its way with us. We do not give-in to our sinful nature; rather we give way to the Spirit. But that is easier said than done isn’t it? We’re going to examine our tools to follow Spirit, but first I want to consider the context of our focal passage.
Context is everything in proper interpretation of the Scripture. What did it mean to the original audience, and how can we apply its truths to our lives today. In Paul’s day, he had to deal with Judaizers. These were Jewish legalistic preachers who followed after Paul making corrections, saying to be truly saved, one had to follow all the Jewish Laws. This letter to the Galatians, many believe the first of Paul’s writings, refuted the call to legalism.
Paul calls us to Christian freedom. All of Chapter 5 of Galatians deal with the freedom we have as Christians.
Galatians 5:13a (NKJV) For you, brethren, have been called to liberty;
Liberty, to be free from the Law. How nice is that? But we have to understand the purpose of the law. The law is for law-breakers. For those who keep the law, the law has no effect. At home, I set rules and boundaries. If my 12 year old son always kept his room clean, did his homework in a timely manner, and always helps around the house without being asked, there would be no reason for me to make many of the rules. But give inch, and people will try a take a mile. The same is true here.
Galatians 5:13 (NKJV) For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
When Paul uses the word “flesh” it is always in a negative sense. It means to indulge in our sinful nature. As long as we are in the flesh, our sinful nature is something we have to contend with. Rather, we ought to yield to love, to love one another, to serve one another in love. Look at verse 22, love leads the list of the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:14 (NKJV) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 22:39. The great law is to Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving each other is proof of that love. But that does not always happen does it. Now keeping this in context, Paul is talking to the church, not the general public.
Galatians 5:15 (NKJV) But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Love within the church needs to be mutual. What did Jesus say?
John 13:35 (NKJV) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
To love each other is to use the most powerful tool we have to demonstrate to other people what it means to know Jesus and to have a relationship with Almighty God. So how do we do that?
Galatians 5:16–18 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.