By Richard L. Schoonover
Today's Scripture: Galatians 5:13-26
Central Thought: The Christian's life needs to be characterized by the fruit of the Spirit.
What does it mean to be a Spirit-filled believer? How can we tell if someone is filled with the Spirit? What are the characteristics that this Christian should exhibit? These are questions most people have asked. How should a Christian behave in today's society?
Paul tells us that our freedom in Christ does not give us license to sin. Thus, we cannot say that because we are not under the Law, we have the freedom to act any way we want. Rather, our love for and dedication to Christ are to guide our actions. As believers, we are to live 'by the Spirit.”
What does it mean to live by the Spirit? In verses 19-21, Paul describes unacceptable behaviors that characterize works of the flesh. These behaviors should not be a part the life of a believer. In verses 22-23, though, Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit that should characterize the life of Spirit-filled believers. A life that displays the fruit of the Spirit gives evidence that God's Spirit dwells in it.
The fruit of the Spirit is developed in our lives in two ways. First, we crucify the flesh as we accept the gift of salvation in Christ and are released from the control of our sinful nature. Second, we yield ourselves to God's Spirit and allow Him to control our lives.
Paul uses three phrases to describe what we should do in this Spirit-filled life: 'live by the Spirit,” (verse 16); 'live by the Spirit,” (verse 25); and 'keep in step with the Spirit (verse 25). The word 'live” in verse 16 describes our everyday life. The word 'live” in verse 25 describes the nature of our life. And, when we 'keep in step with the Spirit” we walk next to Him and follow His path for our lives.
Are you walking according to the Spirit? Is the fruit of the Spirit being manifested in your life? If not, yield yourself to the Spirit and allow Him to direct your life. If you have never crucified the flesh through a relationship with Christ, accept Him today. Then you too can walk in the Spirit.
Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me live a Spirit-filled life that is characterized by the fruit of the Spirit.
Today's Bible Reading: Isaiah 33:13-36:22; Galatians 5:13-26; Psalm 64:1-10; Proverbs 23:23