March 24 - Galatians 5
ISN'T v1 REDUNDANT? 'It is for freedom that Christ set us free...' Our first reaction is to reply, 'well, duh,' but don't jump the gun too quickly. Too often we give lip service to that fact that we are free in Christ, but then we live in slavery to trying to placate God and others. This is exactly what the Galatians were doing: they believed in Jesus, but then were enslaving themselves to trying to earn the grace that God had freely given them.
TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK, PAUL: v12 is pretty harsh. Many Gentile converts to Christianity were being told that in order to be Christians, they needed to keep the Old Testament Jewish ceremonial laws, including being circumcised. Paul's response indicates how wrong this idea was.
CHRISTIAN ETHICS, 101: v13-18 is an excellent summary of how we are to live as God's redeemed people. Read it a couple of times.
BE A BUT PERSON: One thing that jumped out at me this morning in reading the famous verse on the fruits of the Spirit is the word it begins with. We memorize this verse as "The fruit of the Spirit...' as if 'the' is the first word of the sentence. But it's not. 'But' is. Look at the verses that precede v22 and notice how that little word reminds us our lives must be in stark contrast to the world we live in.
GRAMMAR IS AWESOME: It seems like v22 should read, 'But the fruits of the Spirit are...' As if we can choose one of the fruits listed to emulate and call it good. But that's not the way it reads. It says 'But the fruit [singular] of the Spirit is [singular]...' All of those virtues - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control all must be combined into one fruit.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful and mighty. He not only is like these attributes, He defines them. He is them (v22).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify sinful desires (v16).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: