Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 5:22-23
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
This section of scripture speaks of the dichotomy of the flesh and the Spirit. It starts with the following, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. He is telling Christians they must walk by the Spirit because then they will not focus and fulfil the things of the flesh. This is so because if the Spirit of God dwells in and rules our heart, then the whole carnal mind will be defeated. In other word, the only way to overcome the corrupt desires and propensities of our nature is to submit to the influences of the Holy Spirit. And he goes on in the next verse to describe this dichotomy. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:17. Paul is saying here that both of these things are in opposition to each other. As Christians, when we want to do what is right, our flesh wars against us. But, if we want to do what is wrong, then the Spirit clarifies this wrong to you. Paul spoke of this struggled in His letter to the Romans. “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Romans 7:19. Paul himself struggled, but He fought it off and lived the life devoted to Christ. However, he was not under the law as the devout Jews were, for He was led by the Spirit and therefore was not under the law but was under grace. “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14.
Paul then says that the deeds of the flesh are evident, meaning they are well known and plainly seen. He then lists them in the next three verses. “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19b-21. Note the wording at the end of this verse, ‘inherit the kingdom of God’. Those who inherit it will enter it. Jesus tells us who will enter the kingdom of heaven. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21. It is those who do the will of the Father; those who walk in the Spirit.
However, as our focus verse states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23. These are the things that the Spirit leads us to do. Note these are called the ‘fruit of the Spirit’. Paul is using the analogy of a tree. Living according to the Spirit of God produces good fruit, and likewise the deeds of the flesh as listed above produce bad fruit. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-20.
It is important that we, as Christians, focus our attention on being led by the Spirit of God and not our own fleshly desires. Our flesh leads to all types of sins, while the Spirit leads us to bearing fruit that is pleasing to God. And, as stated above, the flesh and the Spirit are at enmity with each other, in other words we cannot be beholden to both. It is either one or the other. Therefore, we must decide which we choose. We may desire to be led by the Spirit, but we may give in to our desires of the flesh. If we find this is us, we must sincerely repent and turn away from these worldly ways. We must sorrow for our disobedience to God, for this sorrow leads to repentence. “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.