These past weeks have been filled with countless opportunities for me to allow the Holy Spirit to work in my life. Trials, strife, roadblocks, plot twists, disappointment, both righteous and unrighteous anger, disagreements and some yucky feelings.
I have been tempted each and every time to stoop low and let those fleshy fruits explode forth that are talked about in the bible right before our verse in Galatians 5. So let’s take a look around this month’s verse...what’s above and below to get a better feel for what the author was trying to convey to us.
7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
First of all, I can’t get past the question in verse 7:
“Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying truth?”
How often have I let someone else’s attitude cut in on how I respond in a situation? How often have I let someone else cut in on what I know to be the truth and cause me to question?
How often have I let anyone other than the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, manipulate my feelings, change the narrative and twist the truth?
Well, it’s been more than I’d like to admit! I have never questioned myself more than I have the last week or so, trying to make sure I am following where God is leading me.
But I am constantly reminded that sometimes, we have to stand up for what we believe in. (SO EXCITED for next month!) That even Jesus wasn’t liked by everyone. That we are to be in the world, but not of it. So that means we will find ourselves standing alone sometimes.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
But what the Holy Spirit has impressed upon me is that speaking truth and living your life to glorify God, even when it’s unpopular, can be done in love. It can be done with joy, it can be done in peace, it can be done with patience and kindness and goodness in our hearts. We can remain faithful to our convictions and convey Truth with gentleness and self-control.
The next part that really stuck out at me was in verse 15:
“If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
The world tells us to bite back with the same intensity in which we are attacked. But I am reminded of a quote out of a very powerful book I read recently called Mama Bear Apologetics:
“We destroy arguments, not people.”
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
We must take the stance that people with views that oppose the Truth we know in Jesus, the Truth laid out for us in the Bible, are captives or hostages to the enemy. And when dealing with hostage situations, the number one goal is to get the hostages out safe. We are not here on this earth to destroy each other, we are here on this earth to love one another.
Do not fall prey to thinking we are enemies with other people--we only have one enemy: THE ENEMY.
Anyone else that is working on his behalf is a captive and we must destroy their arguments….not their souls. Because like Galatians 5:17 says: “if you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
POWERFUL. How amazing is God that He truly gives us all that we need when we seek Him first? I am blown away by how God showed up and spoke to my soul in just the right way.
Thanks for digging deeper with me!