Life by the Spirit
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 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.
You are “called to be free.” Freedom is a treasure, but it is also a danger. Think about kids. When they are very young, they have very little freedom. Why? Because they are not yet able to control themselves. Freedom brings all kinds of dangers to a young child. But as they get older, they slowly obtain more freedom. They can choose what to wear, then what to eat, then what to watch, then what to do when they drive away with a driver’s license, then what they do when they are adults on their own.
You get the idea. Freedom is just like that in how we live our daily lives. We have freedom to spend time with God each day, or not. We have freedom to look at whatever we want on TV or the internet. We have freedom to be kind to people, go the extra mile for someone, or not. And here’s the deal - when you make one choice, it usually leads to another. So choose wisely. Choose to spend time reading and studying scriptures each day. Choose to spend time in prayer. Choose to attend a weekly worship service. When you use your freedom to connect to God, the Holy Spirit is allowed freedom to work in your life. And you begin to recognize the Spirit talking to you. See, we love to talk about the fruits of the spirit and how we wish we could all be more patient, kind, etc. But we forget the fruits are an outgrowth of the Spirit. Fruit grows on a vine and our vine is Christ. Use your freedom today to connect to that vine.
Dear Lord, thank you for loving me so. Thank you for giving me the kingdom, allowing me to play a part in your great love and grace. Remind me that life is about more than the daily necessities, and show me what it looks like to see your kingdom. Give me courage to follow you each day. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.