Guided by the Spirit

Blue metal compass

Galatians 5:16-21 16 I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. 17 A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do. 18 But if you are being led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the Law. 19 The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, 20 idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry,21 jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom. 

Here’s and interesting question, “do you consider yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit?” Does being led by the Holy Spirit mean we do not get to have any fun? The list Paul lays out, surely seems like we would be missing out on fun, if we let the Holy Spirit lead us and not allow us to go into these actions; but are we really missing out if we do not fall into these acts?

If we were to talk about each one of these actions, then this would either be a very, very long post; or it would take several days to get through. Bottom line is that we should avoid these kinds of actions because they all experience some kind of destruction at some point. Destruction of relationships. Destruction of the body. Destruction of freedom. Destruction of our proximity to God. Now, I do not mean here that God is further away in distance. Our proximity to God never changes, because God does not leave us. Our relationship to God can feel light years away when we choose a life that is far from the life in grace he offers us.

So here’s the question again, “do you consider yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit?” This is an extremely important question because the answer will help us live a happier, more peaceful, more joyful, fulfilled life than if we were to do everything we felt like we wanted to do, or even go with the crowd.

In our fallen state, we have a tendency to live life for us instead of living the life God desires us to live. The point of this passage is not to keep us from having any fun in life. We can have so much fun in our lives. The point of having this passage is to show us, some of, the things that will cause sin to live in our lives. If sin rules our lives, we may not hear the pull of God trying to bring us back into a life of grace.

God’s kingdom is not just for some point in the future. God’s kingdom can be experienced and lived in today, here and now. That is one of the joyous parts of the gospel. Living for God gives us greater life and greater joy. Our challenge is to not indulge our freedom to do whatever we want, but to be FREE to live the way God is desiring us to live: holy and set a part lives.

#LiveFreeInChrist

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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