Sunday, August 19, 2012

Galatians 5:25


“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit”

Have you recently disappointed yourself?  Did you lose your temper and get angry with someone?  Perhaps you failed to take advantage of an opportunity to present the Gospel to an unbeliever? Maybe you neglected to take the time to encourage a fellow believer?  Honest reflection on such failed opportunities surely led you to recognize your weakness and vulnerability to worldly thinking.  How could you fall so short of God’s expectations when you desire so deeply to serve and honor Him? Paul explained his struggle with this very thing: “For what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do (Rom. 7:15)”.   Such failures are not rooted in a lack of will; they are the result of your own inadequacy.  Paul’s point in Galatians 5:25 is to emphasize that in the same manner in which our salvation was dependent not on ourselves but God, so too is our daily Christian walk. The fruit bearing Christian walks not by means of the flesh but in dependence on God the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16). 

Consider Peter who was surely sincere when he proudly proclaimed to Jesus on the eve of His death that he would never deny him and then proceeded to deny him three times as Jesus predicted.  Peter had a strong will to serve his Master and proclaim His name to the world; however, when the time came Peter was too weak to even admit that he knew Jesus because he was afraid of what could happen to him. This same Peter responded to a confused crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost by raising his voice for all to be heard and proudly proclaiming the truth of what happened that day. He affirmed that Jesus had risen and was seated at the right hand of God the Father.  What had changed?  How did the same man who could not even admit that he knew Christ to two servant girls and a small crowd give such a powerful message to thousands of people from all over the world in Jerusalem?  The answer is found in Acts 1:8 when Jesus commanded the disciples to do what Peter had done and explained by what means they would do it: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth".  Peter’s past failures were the result of his fleshly weakness whereas the success which he achieved on the day of Pentecost when the first three thousand believers were added to the church was the result of his reliance on God the Holy Spirit. Our success in our Christian walk, like Peter’s depends on whether or not we rely on ourselves or God!

We rely on God when we prayerfully go about our day submitting our thoughts to the Word of God as it is written on our hearts.  When opportunities arise we must be oriented to God’s priorities rather than our own.  In those moments when we feel like succumbing to the weaknesses of the flesh we must turn to prayer and ask God to give us the strength to submit to His will rather than our own.  We are to humbly go about our day, recognizing the inadequacy of our own power and ability and our complete dependence on God.  Only when we completely submit our thinking to the Will and Word of God will we be able to successfully draw nearer to Him.

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