Who are the most joyful people you know? I once asked my youngest son this question. It was interesting to hear his answer—two of his closest friends—and to discuss the source of their joy. Both are Christians who pursue Jesus in all areas of their lives. They spend time in the Word, are intimately involved in their church community, and love serving and ministering through Young Life. They are both wonderful examples of the type of Christians Paul describes in today’s passage, those who walk with the Spirit and bear the fruit the Spirit produces.
Who is the most joyful person you know, and what is the source of their joy?
READ THE WORD: GALATIANS 5:16-26 (ESV)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 22-26.)
- Looking back at verses 16-21, who accomplishes the works of the flesh? Who produces the fruit of the Spirit?
- What is the fruit of the Spirit? What does the fact that fruit is singular (as opposed to works, which is plural), tell you about the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit?
- God crucified the flesh for us through Jesus Christ, and now we participate in crucifying the flesh, according to verse 24. What does this imply about a Christian’s ability to be led by the Spirit rather than the flesh?
- Is it possible to live by the Spirit and not keep in step with the Spirit (vs. 24)? Why or why not?
- Knowing that God’s Spirit produces spiritual fruit in your life as you walk with him, what specific steps can you take to walk with the Spirit today?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul encouraged the Galatians to be led by the Spirit so that the Spirit would bear fruit in their lives. As Christians walk with the Spirit, making time for studying the Bible, worship, service, and fellowship with other believers, the Spirit pours water and fertilizer on the soil of our souls. He prunes the fleshly desires and allows room for his fruit to bloom in our lives. And just as a well-tended peach tree produces peaches, the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—the life of Christ lived out—through a Christian.
- Thank Jesus for crucifying the desires of your sinful nature, and ask him to produce the fruit of his Spirit in your life.