Paul reveals through Galatians 5 that nothing should hinder us from developing the fruit of the Spirit. There are no laws or requirements that should hinder us from reaching the Spirit's full potential. Neither the Law of the Lord, nor the Law of the Land, can prohibit us from doing these things because they will benefit all of mankind.
The law of Christ encourages us to grow in that knowledge - we are not limited to these 9 things. We add these things to our knowledge (II Peter 1:3-10), which is a result of our faith. And, the law of the Land doesn't prohibit these things because they are necessary to promote a healthy society. In fact, we could almost argue that most of the fruit could be discovered and developed by simply following the “Golden Rule” (Matthew 7:12). However, we learn the full potential of the Spirit, and the role of man in God's plan, when we begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our daily walk - following the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 says, "So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves (flesh) want." (NCV) Paul doesn't just say life by the Spirit. He says, live by following the spirit! When you learn to do that you won't walk by the flesh, but by the Spirit. In Proverbs we learn that: Uncontrolled lust = SIN (Proverbs 6:26), Uncontrolled spending = SIN (Proverbs 21:20), Uncontrolled ambition = SIN (Proverbs 23:4), Uncontrolled drinking = SIN (Proverbs 23:29-30), Uncontrolled anger = SIN(Proverbs 29:11). That list could go on and on, because Solomon knew the point of godly living.
Following the Lord was part of Solomon’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:12-13, "Now, everything has been heard, so I give my final advice: Honor God and obey his commands, because this is all people must do. God will judge everything, even what is done in secret, the good and the evil." (NCV) Our goal in life is to honor God, fear God, and do everything He asks u to do. Why? Because in the end, that is all that really matters. God will judge us by His standards, not our own.
The real question Paul seems to be asking us in Galatians 5 is this: “Are you following the Holy Spirit or something/someone else?” Where your priorities? If you are following the ways of the world, people will see it from the works of the flesh. If you are following the Holy Spirit of God, people will see it from the fruit of the spirit. You can’t pretend. You can’t hide it. You can ignore it. Matthew 7:16 says, “By their fruit you shall know them.” We ought to be bearing the fruit of the Spirit (John 15:1-8). Are you? Have a great week!
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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