Lord, send your Spirit to guide and direct out thoughts as we meditate on your word today. Galatians 5:13-17 (NIV)
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus has given us a new freedom. The passage for today raises the question, how do we live in the new freedom that Jesus has secured for us. Are we going to use it to destroy one another or to serve one another in love? The text commands the way of love. How is it possible to love one another while we continue to live in a world and in a body tainted by sin?
Paul is a great help here as he encourages us to keep our eyes on the internal conflict at the root of it all, the struggle between the sinful flesh and the Spirit of God. While all of us suffer from this sinful nature, all of us are invited into a life in the power of the Spirit.
We have a choice! We can choose to live either by the Spirit or by the sinful desires of our old nature. Making the right choice is wrapped up in whom, or better, whose we are. It is about our new personal identity in Christ. I love the way theologian N.T. Wright puts it in his commentary on this passage. He writes, ‘It is a matter of where your true identity lies, where your deepest motivation comes from, and where the power that rules your life is really found.’
When our deepest motivations come from our new identity in Christ, powered by the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have this amazing power to live as Jesus guides and directs. Each day as we walk with Jesus, He is there, guiding our steps and giving us everything we need to live a life pleasing to Him. I praise and thank God each day for the new identity that I have in Him. How about you?
Lord, thank you for this insightful passage. Thank you that you have given each one of us a new identity. Thanks you for your precious Spirit that enables us to walk not according to our sinful nature but according to your Holy Spirit. Amen