Paul’s contrasts and living by the Spirit

January 11th, 2010

I love the way Paul was easy to understand when talking about the way we should live as Christians. He often described how not to live and then described how we should desire to live. Galatians chapter five is a classic example of this. Paul talks about living by the sinful nature and contrasts this to someone living by the Spirit.

Paul says in verses 19-21, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like”.

Then is verses 22-23 he then describes the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”.
From these two examples we can see very easily the right way to live. It is very plain and simple to understand. So how do we live by the Spirit if we have been struggling with our sinful nature? There are two things we can introduce into our lives that will slowly change us.

1. Read about Jesus – I have found that when I read about Jesus in the Gospels (The Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) I am inspired by His life. Something happens to my heart when I read and reflect on His life. It softens and I start to see the world through His eyes and not my own. I see my life in light of eternity and not just the here and now. And I see people as God’s children whom He loves dearly. My life becomes more outward focussed.

2. Pray – when I pray and make my connection with God I become more in tune with the Holy Spirit. As I become more in tune with the Spirit good fruit starts to flow in my life. Things like selfish ambition, rage, jealousy, envy and hatred are slowly replaced by love, kindness, gentleness and self control. A transformation happens to me from inside out. Steams of living water pour out as it talks about in John 7:38.

Of course none of us are perfect and we all have times were we display the bad habits that Paul talked about in the first passage. But if we are growing closer to God and living by the Spirit over time, these should be slowly replaced and rear their ugly heads a lot less often.

God Bless,