DEVO: Alive In The Spirit

DEVO: Alive In The Spirit

Galatians 5 :1, 13-25
(Click verse above to see the entire reading)

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.”   –Galatians 5:16

Alive in the Spirit
(click the title above for the sermon)

When reading the section of Paul’s letter to the early church in Galatia today – it’s important to remember where we’ve been before this. In our new life in Christ, we are no longer slave or free, male and female, Jew or Greek. This is what we are given in our baptism. We are clothed with Christ.

And today – Paul is helping the new community of followers of Jesus answer the question of what now?
We have been made free.
The things that weigh us down: our mistakes, the ways we divide, the work we do to make sure we succeed, that we’re in – they have been lifted off of our shoulders and we have been set free.
This is what Paul makes perfectly clear to start this part of his letter today.
But, that freedom, while free, cannot be used at the expense of others.
Paul writes that those who have been set free should now use that freedom to become slaves to one another.
Paul is writing about community.
Everything that follows is about either breaking community and hurting one another, or using our freedom on behalf of each other.
So Paul reminds us what people living for themselves look like, and what people living for Christ look like.  We often misinterpret these two lists of vices and virtues as things we should not do, and things we should do.
We should not be envious.
We should be patient.
We should not be angry.
We should be joyful.
But that is simply exchanging one heavy set of rules for another.
And we have been set free.
For freedom we have been set free.
That’s it.
No other reason.
And nothing will change it.
These two lists are not more rules of do’s and don’ts – they aren’t lists of things that put you on the inside or outside.
Instead, they are reminders of what it looks like to live a life in the Spirit.
When we live into our freedom and become slaves to one another – we see the fruit that Paul lists in verse 22.
So what does your life look like?
Is it defined by service to others?

Questions to Ponder or Discuss
1. Look carefully at the two lists Paul gives in verses 19-22. Which one characterizes your life? Do the things you do with your freedom build up community or break community?
2. When you see the list of “fruit of the Spirit” do you feel like it’s a list of things you have to DO? What can you do to see it not as things you can work hard at, but as things that grow out of a connected and spirit-led life?
3. Martin Luther said that “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant, subject to all.” What might this mean for your daily life?

You are free. Say it, right now, out loud “I am free.” In your baptism, you were set free. Free from all the ways this world tries to make you work and live and love for the sake of yourself. Free from lifting yourself up at the expense of someone else. Now what?

Take a few minutes in prayer and ask yourself how you might use your freedom for the sake of someone else.  Then go out, and live it.

Pr. Natalia

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